I’ve been silent on this issue for entirely too long. For the better part of 20 years, I’ve waited patiently, building a case against the man who would turn the sports world on its ear with his own shameful act of greed. And now, in the midst of an NFL lockout and a pro basketball apocalypse, I feel that I’m finally ready to step forward and expose the biggest fraud that athletic competition has ever seen.
The identity of this villain might surprise you. It might even shock you. I might fill you with spastic bouts of ennui, but don’t let any of that stop you from hearing THE TRUTH. It might be too late to bring this slimeball, this wretched bastard to justice, but it’s not too late to warn anyone else that might stand in his narcissist, egotistical path. No, I’m not talking about Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, or FIFA president Sepp Blatter, or even former Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose. Or even Tom Sizemore, whose portrayal of Rose in that ESPN movie was balls-awful. No, I’m talking about someone much more dangerous, odious, and crass. Someone who almost got away with his deviant ways.
I’m talking, of course, about Danny, the BMX rider from that 1984 Raisin Bran Commercial.
1984 was an age of innocence, really. An actor occupied the White House, Huey Lewis was on the radio, and only the most elite actors and businesspeople were using cocaine. You know, the ones that could actually handle it. Even AIDS had yet to grip the sexually promiscuous public. But even the human immunodeficiency virus was no match for the perpetration that young Danny was about to inflict on a unsuspecting populace.
Danny was, as the legend goes, a racing man. Bicycle motocross, or “BMX” as it was known, was one of the fastest-growing sports in all of America. In many ways, the sport was an analogy for America, who was still recovering from economic recession: a series of trials, bouncing up and down through roads of dirt, holding on and pedaling with all of one’s might. There would only be one winner, one champion, and the rest of the pack would do well to avoid crashing into the other hungry foes looking to claim the same prize.
Danny’s relationship with the sport was tenuous. He transcended the madness of BMX with his star-studded sweater, unironic white pants and cheerful smile. But the clarity in hindsight was astounding: Danny needed BMX more than BMX needed Danny. And despite the youngster’s streak of 523,057 races won, it was clear that racing wasn’t as fulfilling as it used to be.
Danny’s support team, desperate to wring every last cent out of their prepubescent cash cow, ignored the warning signs. Danny was more popular than ever. Each race drew more attention, more opportunity, and the chance for more cash. Even presidential candidate Walter Mondale, gaining steam on the campaign trail, endorsed the scrappy young cyclist from Blue Ball, Pennsylvania in more than one stump speech. Young Danny had the world eating off of his handlebars.
And then, with a brittle nation unsuspecting and unprepared, Danny struck.
As Danny was set to close in on another championship and instant international stardom, the child veered off course and pedaled to a nearby bowl of cereal. As another boy crossed the finish line, Danny continued to pack in one last bowl of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran. Fans were outraged, and rioting instantly ensued. Cars were overturned, bystanders were injured and lots of beer was spilled, too. It was an event that would leave all involved permanently scarred for life. Little Danny had just thrown his entire life away, and the only person that wasn’t upset about it was him.
One observer documented perfectly the feelings of a wounded America, and that observer was YouTube commenter DevinHungryjack, who was of soul brave enough to say what all of us were thinking:
It’s worse than that. Danny’s family was deep in debt. They scraped together the last of their money to enter him in the BMX race knowing that a win would secure a lucrative professional sponsorship that could save their home and pay for his sister’s organ transplant.
It’s so sad to think he threw it all away for two scoops of plump juicy raisins in Kellogg’s Raisin Bran.
Members of Danny’s family were not the only ones who suffered from his selfishness. Mondale, who had stuck by Danny’s side for so long, would suffer the worst presidential defeat in modern history. And the popularity of bicycle motocross plummeted across dirt tracks all over America.
Kellogg’s cereals, for their part, have absolved themselves of responsibility. Not once did the company make any attempt to notify authorities of Danny’s crippling addiction to its product. The song in the accompanying footage could not be a more clear signal of a man struggling with addiction:
Danny’s a racin’ man.
But more than bikes
what Danny likes is TWO SCOOPS!
In every Kellogg’s pack! TWO SCOOPS!
Keep him comin’ back for TWO SCOOPS
of plump juicy raisins in Kellogg’s Raisin Bran.
Perhaps the worst part of all is that Kellogg’s still markets their insidious poison to young people today. What iconic figure will next fall victim to being strung out on such an excellent source of fiber? In late 1984, a Congressional hearing was called to sort out Kellogg Company’s role in the dive (appropriately referred to by the press as “DannyGate”), but discussion quickly fizzled, and all sense of justice was lost. Calls made to current Congressional members discussing this critically important issue were not returned.
And yet, somewhere out there, lurks Danny. His body is fully grown, his feet surely too large to fit on the pedals of his glorious chariot from days of yore. No one has seen or heard from Danny since he finished that fateful last bowl, 27 long years ago. In that time, he has managed to successfully elude family, friends, federal authorities, and those stupid Bed Bath and Beyond coupons. The ones that come in the mail that are like the size of two postcards together? What’s up with those things? I get it, you’re giving me 20 percent off. You don’t need to send me a billboard about it.
Regardless of Danny’s whereabouts, one has to wonder if he’s cognizant of his crimes against not only sport, but humanity at large. Will Danny ever atone for his fraud, lust and greed? After all, the one constant in life is that no man can outpedal his own conscience. It may be another 27 years before young Danny comes to terms with the hardship and pain that he authored a generation ago. I hope it was worth it, you little bastard.