At the top of Colorado’s naughty list is of course the ever-so-pious U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert. Security footage of the then-still-married woman kissing and groping her date while he rubbed her breast at the Buell Theater was enough to make even Colorado’s hardworking strippers blush. Her divorce was finalized a few months later.
In an astonishing display of perseverance, Boebert has continued to show up at the U.S. Capitol despite the global humiliation that ensued including a Saturday Night Live skit. A sheer lack of shame, however, doesn’t get anyone out of that kind of trouble. The congresswoman is getting nothing but coal this year, and I don’t mean that as a metaphor for kickbacks from the fossil fuel industry for her unwavering boosterism.
And thus, begins my naughty/nice list for 2023, a year when Coloradans of note shone bright as stars or stumbled like a Jerry on the slopes.
If Russell and Ciara Wilson are half the saints in real life that they appear to be in their public personas, then a Tiffany-trimmed tree is in order. The Wilsons run the Why Not You Foundation (read their kid’s book by the same title for some inspiration) that gave out $1 million in grants this year. Russell also could be the Colorado come-back story of the year if he pulls off a few more win this season.
But for all the Wilsons’ ease, charm, and overperformance, there’s Deion Sanders, a complex man who raised expectations sky-high only to fall back to Earth.
On any given week, Sanders could be found on either list. Santa certainly isn’t the type to reward egomaniacs who push student-athletes out of the University of Colorado, but Sanders also uses his public persona for good, sticking up for the Colorado State University player whose dangerous play received widespread condemnation and asking for mercy for the teens who stole jewelry from his players in the Rose Bowl locker room. Two things tip Sanders to the nice list – the poor man recently lost his fiancé in a very public separation, and he elevated CU superfan Peggy Coppom, 99, in a genuine display of kindness.
Nicola Jokić did let those two epic f-bombs slip at the Nugget’s championship parade in downtown Denver in front of families and children, but somehow it seems like a much more innocent word when delivered in a Serbian accent by a man who just wants to get home to his friends and family. Santa is going to be good to the Joker, his wife, Natalija Jokić, and their darling daughter who stole the hearts of the nation during the NBA finals.
I don’t know for certain, but it seems likely that Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin is on the naughty list after a woman was found by the team doctor in his hotel room so intoxicated that she left in an ambulance. There’s no indication of a crime or even of a complaint from the woman. But the whole thing was more than a little suspicious including Nichushkin’s conspicuous absence for the next five games. He’s got work to do on his reputation (he could start by addressing the incident publicly and explaining what happened) before he gets off the naughty list.
District Attorney Linda Stanley is facing a formal complaint that she launched a retaliatory investigation into a judge’s personal life and that she violated seven separate rules of professional conduct for attorneys while pursuing the case of Suzanne Morphew who went missing in 2020 and whose remains were found in September. Stanley’s behavior, which she will address in a formal response to the complaint, puts her on the naughty list, and worse it jeopardizes there ever being justice for Suzanne Morphew.
Don Thwaites, who for two years ran a cheerful little food stand in the shared parking lot with Casa Bonita, goes on the nice list. But whoever was behind his unceremonious ouster from the Casa Bonita parking lot is on the naughty list. Thwaites had a valid lease to sell Sno-Kones and kettle corn and other food out of his shipping container store through May 2024, but his landlords at Broad Street Realty seem to have gone out of their way to terminate the lease just before Casa Bonita’s grand reopening.
Finally, I’m going to put those hard-working strippers I mentioned earlier, far too flippantly, on the nice list. It took real bravery for performers Elyssa Hanley, Vanessa Herr and Rebecca Dolana to speak out about their careers as dancers at Colorado clubs. We hope Santa brings all three what they asked for in The Denver Post story — a way out of the sometimes exploitive, unstable and traumatic work in clubs.
Megan Schrader is the editor of The Denver Post’s opinion pages.