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Joe Namath Says He Hasn't Touched Booze Since the Suzy Kolber Incident

SourcePro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath says he has not had a drink since 2003, when he embarrassed himself during an on-air interview by drunkenly declaring to ESPN sideline reporter Suzy Kolber that he wanted to kiss her.

‘I saw it as a blessing in disguise,’ Namath wrote in his a new memoir, ‘All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters,’ which focuses heavily on his own alcoholism.

‘I had embarrassed my friends and family and could not escape that feeling. I haven’t had a drink since.’ …

‘That shame is where I found my strength to deal with the addiction,’ Namath said in the book, as reported by ESPN. ‘With the help of my recovery, I learned that I had used my divorce as an excuse to go back to drinking. That knowledge made me a stronger individual.’

In 2019 am I allowed to say that I am both gladdened and saddened by this news? On the one hand I’m happy for Joe Namath, since by his own admission he wasn’t enjoying being in the grip of the grape. But at the same time I’m sorry at the untimely demise of his status as one of the true legends of the party game.

Joe Namath was one of the all time greats. A barroom hero at a time when they were celebrated as almost mythical figures in American culture. Those men whose livers helped defined who we were as a people. From the Don Draper days to Sinatra and his Rat Pack to the three martini business lunches of the 70s. From the cocaine-fueled Reagan Era to the infamous White House  of the Dallas Cowboys 90s dynasty. From Dean Martin to Delta House to Barney Gumbel, the Unrepentant Boozebag was an icon.

And Joe Namath was a patron saint in the Church of the Highly Functioning Drunk. Two generations lived vicariously through him. Whether he was scoring Manhattan cocktail waitresses by the dozens, starring as the title character the landmark biker film “C.C. & Company” or during the Aging Lothario portion of his career, as the saying goes, men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him.

But apparently it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. And that magical moment in 2003 when he went full Joe Biden, charming his way into America’s heart (but not Suzy Kolber’s mouth) might have entertained us all, wasn’t as much fun for him as it was for us. He looked like a happy drunk, but he was, to use his word, strug-g-glinnng. So the bottom line is we can all rejoice that a seemingly pretty good man turned his life around, we can mourn a little bit for ourselves and the end of that bygone era. Good for Broadway Joe quitting the Demon Rum. But still nobody likes a quitter.