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Another hero's reputation bites the dust

This has been quite the sour year for those involved in hero worship -- and we're not quite free of January yet.

We recently found out Lance Armstrong cheated. A lot. We found out Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o had a mythical girlfriend and, at the very least, lied about her even after he knew she was fictional. This week, media outlets, themselves not exactly pristine in their reputation, reported Ray Lewis cheated recently by using preformance enhancing drugs derived from deer antlers to help him recover from his triceps injury. (Lewis has denied the allegation). Then there was the link between Alex Rodriguez and a PED lab.

And now a Dan Marino affair and love child comes to light.

You read right.

Marino, the Dolphins legend, former NFL Man of the Year, and someone whose career enjoyed a squeeky clean image, apparently had an affair and fathered a child with a former CBS production assistant in 2005, according to this report in today's New York Post.

Marino has been working on the CBS Sunday afternoon pregame show since 2003 and is scheduled to be on that show this Sunday prior to Super Bowl 47.

The report is more than just an allegation.

Marino, married 28 years to Claire, released a statement to the newspaper admitting to the affair.

"I take full responsibility both personally and financially for my actions now as I did then," he said in the statement. "We mutually agreed to keep our arrangement private to protect all parties involved."

The paper reports Marino paid Donna Savattere "millions" to keep the affair private. She has since married someone else.

Marino has six children, including two adopted girls, with Claire. They are apparently still together. I saw them Sunday at the Dan Marino Foundation event at Sun Life Stadium.

There are ironies here: Chloe was born only a couple of months before Marino was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This story was confirmed by the Post on Wednesday, the day Marino and his wife celebrated their 28th anniversary.

It is unclear if Marino's bosses at CBS are aware he was having a relationship with Savattere. The network does have at several levels guidelines forbidding co-workers from becoming involved, according to a network source.

It is also unclear whether Marino's reputation will suffer once news of this affair spreads.

Tiger Woods, for example, lost sponsorships, his marriage and his sporting career was derailed when allegations of his habitual cheating became public. It is not known if Marino's dalliance is limited to one woman.

Things Marino did well is not deny what is apparently true. He also moved to take care of the kid financially. I assume he also made this known to Claire because one does not simply extract "millions" from the bank without the wife knowing.

The moral of this?

People are flawed. We make mistakes. We fall. All of us.

Hero worship is a bad idea.