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This season hasn't been a rainbow of fruit flavors for Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell. First he was benched in favor of career backup Bruce Gradkowski. Now he's a laughingstock over a photo that indicates he may have sneaked a package of Skittles onfield to watch a game he wasn't starting.
This San Francisco Chronicle photograph, taken by Carlos Avila Gonzalez, shows Russell on the sideline during their November 22 win over Cincinnati. Note Russell's waistline in the photo, and the small red package tucked into his pants that strongly resembles a standard 4-ounce bag of Skittles.
There is, of course, absolutely no way to verify that those are actually Skittles. It could be the packaging of some skin moisturizer product, or perhaps a heating pad. Or maybe NFL playbooks are now available in portable-sized candy wrapped versions, so players may more easily digest them.
But the blogs are all over this picture, and it's the perfect controversy for people who would rather spend their workday studying internet photos to determine whether some dude is holding a contraband pack of Skittles. ProFootballTalk.com argues that it's a package of David's Sunflower Seeds. A commenter at Deadspin notes, "I can't be sure but i think those are Ritz bits. Cheese if I'm not mistaken."
Russell himself is not going to clear up this matter. He has personally embargoed the media since he was benched. He won't answer any questions, let alone the question, "Hey! Are those Skittles?"
Besides, he's not going to talk with that mouthful of Wild Berry Skittles.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who thinks that "Taste the rainbow" is one of the most obscene double-entendres we have ever foisted onto our children.