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Are athletes wired to be bad boys? Robert Lipsyte ponders a sports world filled with headaches.

Updated: February 17, 2004, 2:49 PM ET

BAD BOYS, BAD BOYS, WHAT WE GONNA DO NOW (WITHOUT YOU)?

After Kurt Thomas stupidly head-butted Mavs rookie Josh Howard -- in front of a 100 or so family and hometown friends from Dallas, no less -- we wondered what an appropriate punishment for such knuckleheaded behavior might be. After all, Thomas' foolish display probably cost the Knicks two wins, and ended their hottest streak -- five straight victories -- in years.

Punishment? Forget punishment. Thomas will probably be rewarded ...

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