Hey Conor McGregor, stay away from Boston from now on. We don’t need you.
When the troubled, newly retired MMA star rumbled his way through the city last month, he was invited by the Boston Bruins into the players dressing room before a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets where he gave a fiery but ill-informed pep talk to the team invoking the words “Boston Strong,” with apparently no clue as to the true meaning and significance of those two words.
He then dropped the ceremonial first puck before a cheering crowd and was given a proverbial tongue bath by TV commentator Dale Arnold during a fawning interview between periods. The Bruins also flooded their Twitter page with McGregor “glee tweets” featuring flexed arm and fist emojis. The Bruins declined comment on the matter.
The orgy of adulation continued on St. Patrick’s Day when the Irish-born mixed martial arts superstar caused a near riot during the annual parade in Southie as streams of young fans pushed their way through barricades to get a closer look at the fighter who calls himself “The Notorious.”
This all occurred before reports surfaced last week that McGregor is under criminal investigation back home. According to a New York Times report, McGregor, 30, is being investigated in Ireland after a woman had accused him of sexual assault inside a Dublin hotel in December. McGregor was arrested and released by police in Ireland in January but has not been charged with a crime, according to the report.
But didn’t we know him already? McGregor had already been arrested and charged with felony strong-armed robbery in early March for allegedly stealing a person’s cellphone and smashing it in Miami. Before that, he had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct charges for attacking a bus in Brooklyn in 2018. Both incidents were caught on tape.
So why did Boston roll out the red carpet for this thug?
“Your city should choose its heroes more wisely,” says Irish journalist Stephen Breen, who has covered McGregor’s career as a reporter for the Irish Sun and is the co-author of the “The Cartel,” a book about an ongoing bloody gang war that has left more than a dozen people dead in Ireland, including friends of McGregor’s from his hardscrabble Dublin neighborhood, Crumlin.
McGregor has been photographed with a number of Irish gangsters including David Byrne, a former training partner who was killed inside a Dublin hotel by a hit squad in 2016. All the gunmen wore disguises. One was even dressed as a woman, a classic femme fatale. It’s the kind of bloodshed that would have made Whitey Bulger green with envy.
“Trouble seems to follow McGregor everywhere he goes,” says Breen. “I think perhaps, you should look to other sporting heroes, someone that’s a real role model for young people.”
Conor McGregor should be judged by the crimes he’s confessed to, or alleged to have committed, and also by the company he keeps. If anything, he’s living up to his notorious nickname.
Casey Sherman’s latest book is “12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady’s Fight for Redemption.” Follow him on Twitter @CaseySherman123.
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