David Ortiz on Dan Shaughnessy: ‘The Reporter with the Red Jheri Curl’

And a new Shaughnessy sobriquet is born.

Image via Boston Globe

Image via Boston Globe

David Ortiz is out today with a long personal essay in Derek Jeter’s Players’ Tribune defending himself against persistent rumors of performance-enhancing drug use, the best part of which is his poetic reference to an unnamed member of the sports media:

In 2013, I came off the DL and started hot. My first 20 games I was hitting like .400. And the reporter with the red jheri curl from the Boston Globe comes into the locker room says, “You’re from the Dominican. You’re older. You fit the profile of a steroid user. Don’t you think you’re a prime suspect?”

Hmm, a reporter with the red jheri curl? Who could that be? Haha, just kidding, there’s no doubt Ortiz was referring to columnist Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, whose hair style you’re just now realizing, does in fact look like a mix between that of Orphan Annie and AC Slater. (The jheri curl was a hair style popular among black men in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Think Michael Jackson in “Thriller.”)

This isn’t the first time Shaughnessy’s locks have attracted derisive nicknames from the Red Sox locker room. (“Shaughnessy’s Locks” is your free band name idea of the day, by the way. You’re welcome.) Carl Everett once told the Globe’s Gordon Edes to “Get out of here and take your Curly-Haired Boyfriend with you.” The name—or CHB for short—has stuck to Shaughnessy through the years, but we like Ortiz’s better because “red jheri curl” is so much more specific and, you know, it isn’t homophobic.

Anyway, Ortiz doesn’t care enough about Shaughnessy apparently to remember his name, but he did care enough to get pretty heated at the idea that he “fit the profile” of a steroid user:

I just smiled at him and asked for his address.

“Why do you want my address?” he said.

“Because I just got tested two days ago.” I said. “I’ll mail you the f****ing results.”

Shaughnessy, by the way, may disagree with Ortiz’s characterization of his grooming regimen. His hair is most definitely natural. The jheri curl requires a chemical perm. But he doesn’t disagree with parts of Ortiz’s account of their 2013 exchange. Shaughnessy reported at least part of the interview in his column.