Stroger's Owie

At gym, not work

While most folks with day jobs were toiling away Thursday afternoon in a grim economy that has made every worker vulnerable, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was playing basketball.

How do we know this?

Because he got a boo-boo and had to go the hospital.

Reports, rumors, whisperings and tales from those in-the-know have gone around for awhile now that Stroger spends an inordinate amount of time shooting hoops instead of working.

"County insiders swear Stroger spends more time shooting hoops at the East Bank Club than tending to county business," former Cook County beat reporter Mark Konkol wrote in the Sun-Times last week.

Stroger's press office didn't acknowledge the awkwardness of the timing in the statement it put out about his injury, instead treating eight stitches to close up a cut above his right eye as a heroic war wound.

It would have been heroic if he poked his eye out with a pencil by nodding off at 3 a.m. trying to craft a taxpayer-friendly budget.

Getting banged up during a pick-up game and having to go to the ER just reinforces his inept bumbler image. Details on how the injury occurred were not forthcoming, beyond "accidental contact." Perhaps with a water bottle?

"The President resumed his meeting schedule for the remainder of the evening," the statement said.

So movie night went on as planned.

To be fair, even public officials deserve some time off. No one can fairly begrudge a politician's playtime if they are at least working hard for their constituents and fairly good at their jobs.

But Stroger has hardly earned the benefit of the doubt.

On the other hand, maybe sending him to the gym more often would limit the damage.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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