Vin Diesel might not necessarily agree, but Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is, by all accounts, a really nice guy in 2016. He’s known for interacting with his millions (*The Rock voice* "And millions!") of fans on social media, and he’s parlayed his perpetual niceness into one hell of a Hollywood career. Back in August, Forbes revealed that The Rock is currently the highest-paid actor on the planet, and things are only going to get better for him in the coming months and years now that so many Hollywood executives and directors are seeking his services due to his overwhelming success.
To celebrate that success, Sports Illustrated just tapped The Rock for their latest cover:
And as you’ll quickly find out while reading The Rock’s cover story, he most definitely was not always so nice. The story starts by touching on all the trouble The Rock used to cause back in high school—he "had a well-developed problem with authority," according to the piece—before segueing into his football career, which played a large part in turning him into the person he is today. The story describes how The Rock’s life could have turned out much differently if he had been as successful at football as he hoped to be and even suggests that, if he had been slightly better at playing football, it actually may have held him back from becoming one of the biggest stars in the entertainment business.
In the SI piece, The Rock also tells a bunch of stories about some of the crazier/not nice things he did while playing football, and one story in particular focuses on the time that The Rock got into a fight with his former University of Miami teammate Kevin Patrick. After initially looking like he might turn into a star at Miami, The Rock struggled to stay on the field due to injuries and the emergence of future Hall of Fame player Warren Sapp. And as he told SI, the frustration that came along with that once caused him to try and rip Patrick’s tongue out during a heated war of words that got physical.
Here’s the story in all its glory:
Johnson's frustration at not being an impact player boiled over one day after practice, when he was heckled by his friend and fellow linemate Kevin Patrick. "I was always running hot because I wasn't getting the playing time that I thought I deserved," says Johnson. "The truth of the matter is Warren Sapp was just a better player, but when you're young, you can't see that. Me and Kevin were in a coach's office, and he was talking s---, as always, but this time I just lost it. It was like a movie fight—the desk got turned over, stuff was flying all over the place. We spilled out onto the weight room floor, still going at it. He wouldn't stop talking, so I decided to pull his tongue out. I stuffed my big ol' hand into his mouth, and I had a couple of fingers around his tongue, but it was so damn slippery! I was quite serious about pulling it out, but I couldn't quite get a hold of it. Eventually I gave up, the fight ended, and two minutes later we were hugging each other. It was so dumb."
Can you imagine what would have happened if The Rock had successfully ripped Patrick's tongue out? It would be hard for people to say, "Awwww, The Rock is so nice for [insert one of the 5786291 nice things The Rock has done in recent years]," if he had "Ripped a guy’s tongue out" on his permanent record. Then again, who knows? As the SI story points out, The Rock’s entire football/pro wrestling/Hollywood career is basically one long battle against adversity, so maybe it wouldn’t have changed a thing. You can check out the entire SI piece here.