You wanted to hope. That's why Thursday's news was a slap to the senses. You wanted to hope Dan Marino was beyond this. You wanted to hope his good work all these years reflected someone out of the reach of gossip pages.
You wanted to hope he'd never be reduced to a tabloid headline involving the phrase, "love child.'' Or issue a statement about fathering an illegitimate child. Or have a source close to the family call to assure his wife, Claire, was "aware of this from the beginning."
But on Thursday, the world learned from a New York tabloid that Marino, the Miami Dolphins' Hall of Fame quarterback and NFL analyst for CBS Sports, fathered a 7-year-old girl with a former CBS colleague and paid her millions to keep it quiet.
It's a disheartening path for a good man to walk.