We are gathered here today to say goodbye to the (need to be) dearly departed. It was dearly and it must be departed. Scorsese-style.
They left us (me, you, themselves) no choice. All of 'em, from Pacman to Pat Ewing. They turned a good thing into a crime scene, fun over to the feds. That said, the time has (finally, yet unfortunately) come for all professional athletes -- large and small, paid and broke, Yankee and Clipper -- to kiss the strip clubs goodbye.
That's it. End the relationship, eliminate the visits. Remove the singles from the wallets, unfold the stacks from the front pockets. Get those Lil' Jon and Mannie Fresh songs out of your heads, get Bambi and Mercedes out of your systems.
Can we do this??? Plleeaazzee??? Not now but right now!!! Thank you. We just saved sports.
Now for a moment of silence.
Rolex, Magic City, Minxx, 4Play, Scores, sorry. Please don't take this personal. They'll miss you. You know ballplayers got nothin' but love (and dead presidents) for you, but the time has come. Too much has gone on, too many outta control ballplayers ballin' out of control. For the sake of all sports, an end had to be put to this epidemic before every professional sport known to us began to get Bush approval ratings or NBA Finals Nielsen ratings. From this point forward, all professional athletes should eliminate strip clubs for their lives. The reward is no longer worth the risk, the thrill no longer worth the (lap) dance.
One more incident and this would have become an era. One with asterisks all over players' home run, touchdown, scoring and police records.
• The Gold Club investigation in which everyone from Andruw Jones to Dennis Rodman got subpoenaed.
• Gary Payton, Sam Cassell and Jason Caffey in Canada a few years ago.
• The Stephen Jackson, Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels strip club shooting a few years later.
• A-Rod getting spotted with one stripper outside a club two weeks ago.
• Shaun Rogers of the Lions being accused of groping another inside a club last week.
• Zach Randolph's bereavement.
• Pacman Jones' career.
Even the nonprofessionals were being influenced by the powers of Tempest's Storm.
• In 2003, a high school baseball team from Long Island, N.Y., suspended 15 players and the coaching staff after they invaded a strip club while on a team trip to Florida.
• The University of Colorado's escapade of sex and escort services.
• Former Alabama football coach Mike Price's infamous strip club visit.
• Players on the St. John's 2004 basketball team having sex with a stripper.
It's gotten to the point of synonymousness. Athletes and strip clubs have become fused in the news (and with the police) like Lindsay Lohan and rehab. Every report overshadows individual accomplishments and team victories. Dictionary researchers began searching for a word to describe this phenomenon, pop culture on the verge of having a new Bennifer or TomKat. The situation had reached a point where anchors on the evening news would tell the stories of "an incident at a strip club involving [fill in the blank]" became as easy to get away with as saying every shooting in the 'hood is "gang related."
At some point, it had to stop. So why not now, before even Sean Casey or Bruce Bowen get caught up.
So to the Crazy Horse Too in Vegas, the Clubhouse in Dallas, Jack Black in Miami, Femme Nu and Déjà Vu in Honolulu (Pro Bowl), we bid adieu. Peace to the girls touching their toes and making sweat drip down the walls. Time for the strip club scene to change. Go back to the way they used to be. Before bottle service and VIP rooms. When the neighborhood regulars were the Willie Supremes, and the big money dudes came in suits, ties loose and hid their company business cards. When fights broke out, but nobody knew their names. And the media didn't care because the bouncer at the club never tipped them off to who was there. When mum was the word, not just the champagne.
But you know I couldn't put out a plea like this -- of this seriousness -- without solutions. Answers. Elucidations and justifications. An alternative because every epidemic needs an ulterior motive to restore order. And in an attempt to save professional sports from itself and the G-string divas that have some of the country's most loved heroes thinking with the wrong dome, the remedy I have has two can't-miss, iron-clad, fa'sho, Bloombergesque options (I can't front like I don't visit the clubs too).
Option A: Make every team in every city that has professional sports have a private, players-only strip club on the premises of every arena where every team plays.
Even Paul Allen would have to love that.
And all would have to show their American Express Black card to get in. Membership has silicone privileges too.
With this there will be no need for an overabundance of security or a police-state atmosphere, little chances of any drama jumping off or someone acting ignorant. No shots will get fired, no guns allowed; nobody moves, nobody'll gets hurt. And if Pacman wants to "make it rain," he'll get straight clowned because 81 Gs in a club full of millionaires is valet parking money.
Or Option B: Every player put a pole in their own damn basements and call it a day.