It happens all the time. An NFL player arrested at a night club for one thing or another. The latest player to go down that road is Adrian Peterson who was arrested outside of a club in Houston. But he’s hardly alone. You have one of the most notorious repeat offenders, in Pacman Jones who was recently ordered to pay $11 million for his part in a shooting that took place at a Las Vegas Strip club. Heck, even former players like Kieth McCants are getting in the mix. And the list goes on and on. Then you have your players such as Terrelle Owens and Warren Sapp that are left with almost no money to their names and starring in ridiculous TV shows to make money. It’s no surprise then, that teams are taking some unconventional measures to help educate their players.
In a story written by Brian Murphy, he details how the Minnesota Vikings hired a different type of motivational speaker. This was not your typical Tony Robbins type of speaker in a 3 piece suit and a handkerchief in his pocket. Nope. Sean Bishop is a self-proclaimed “scumbag.” He sports countless tattoo’s on his chest and arms, he owns (though not technically) a strip club in Daytona Beach, Florida, and to top it off he’s a convicted felon. Hardly the kind of resume you would expect a multi-million dollar organization to fly out to their facility to speak to their most impressionable of employees.
Why am I writing about this here? Well, it seems that Mr. Bishop’s services have also been procured by the Oakland Raiders. Although Bishop says both the Bengals and the Raiders have used his services in addition to the Vikings, it is not clear when he may have been in Alameda. That means we don’t know which crop of players have listened to Bishop’s warnings. The Vikings have used his services twice in the last 3 years, only because last year’s lockout left them without the opportunity to bring him in (Bishop happens to be a longtime friend of Vikings executive director of player development Les Pico). I would venture to guess that Mr. Al Davis was not the type to bring in an outsider like Bishop, so it’s most likely that Reggie McKenzie is using this tactic to get to his rookie class. He already took a step Mr. Davis never did by hiring Lamonte Winston as director of player engagement.
“I don’t need their money,” he told Murhpy in a telephone interview. “I tell them I am a scumbag club owner who will use and abuse you. I just don’t want to see any of them ruin their lives. They need to be protected from themselves.”
“We have two gentlemen who own car dealerships in Pennsylvania and lumberyards in North Carolina who don’t pay for anything here, but average about $15,000 per night in tips (and dances), and they’ll do it for 10 straight nights,” he said. “There’s plenty of money out there. I don’t need (players’) money. I’m in a dark business. It’s almost sad. They’re too easy to push into trouble.”
Bishop basically offers a cautionary tale. He gives them an idea of what kind of person they may be dealing with once they get their big paychecks from their NFL club.
“These guys get comfortable in the VIP section and think they’re not being seen and forget where they’re at,” he said. “Being a competitive athlete, it’s hard for them to turn the other cheek or swallow their pride and walk away from bad situations. Instead, they make a scene and forget where they’re at because the owner’s treating them like a king, they’re young and think they’re invincible when all it takes is one snapshot and you’re done.”
The tactic taken by the Vikings, Bengals, and Raiders isn’t exactly counter to how the NFL might want them to teach their young rookies to stay away from bad influences.
At the NFL’s own rookie symposium they brought in their own felons to speak to the incoming 2012 class. Michael Vick and Pacman Jones were on the docket. As was Terrelle Owens along with a group of other players that have had off-field run ins with authorities. It seems to be a trend that both the NFL and individual teams will continue in years to come.
The best way to get to a player is with someone they can relate to. Sadly, it will not stop the headlines to come in the future, but maybe…just maybe it’ll keep them to a minimum.