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Prescription for Janikowski, Maggette and the rest: Dr. Sportstalk

Hey, athletes have feelings too. They're criticized, vilified and slandered by the media. They're yelled at, spit on and barraged by fans.

And now, I think it's time for athletes to get some help. If you're a housewife and you need advice, you can call Dr. Laura Schlessinger on the radio. If you're an oversexed teenager with a masturbation problem, then Dr. Drew is for you, just a 1-800 number away on Loveline.

But what if you're a baseball player with a dysfunctional family or a hoops star with penchant for skipping out on alimony? I think it's time for the airwaves to give the Mark Chmuras and Al Martins of the sports world an outlet for their frustrations.

I foresee a talk radio program where any athlete - college or professional, black or white, on probation or just under investigation - can speak to a real person about real problems and get real solutions. Think of it as Dr. Laura with back hair, or maybe Jim Rome with sensitivity training.

Here's some example of what the show could look like. I've even secured Pat Sajak to do the hosting honors:

The first caller comes from Tallahassee, Fla. He says he's a former European soccer player turned Oakland Raiders placekicker. Sounds interesting. Go ahead, Sebastian.

Hey, Pat. Thanks for taking my call. I'm going through a tough time right now. They say I had a so-called date-rape drug on me at a bar. I was just trying to get some sleep! They say I bribed a police officer with $300 to let my roommate go. I thought I could pay the fine right there. That's the way they do it in Poland!

Now the Florida police is all over me. Drug enforcement patrol is all over me. The INS is all over me. What's a good-looking Polish guy have to do to find some fun?

Sounds like you and trouble stick together like Britney and a cat suit. Your first problem is this whole Polish thing. I've heard of Polish authors and Polish conductors, but no Polish athletes. Not unless you count bowling. Maybe you're in the wrong line of work.

What about Stan Musial?

Right. Here's my advice: Ditch the GHB, ditch the roommate and definitely ditch the Raiders. California isn't a healthy environment for a drugged out, overweight, misinformed Dr. Evil look-alike. Think Todd Marinovich.

Our next call also comes from Florida. He's a professional basketball player from Orlando who says he's caught in some legal problems. What's the deal, Mr. Maggette?

I trusted a man with my college career. He told me what to do and I followed his every word. I even left school three years early because that's what he told me to do. He's like a father to me.

Why did you trust him so much?

Well, he paid me. $2,000.

Now, the federal government wants me to testify. I'm scared to death. You wouldn't believe what kind of protection this guy has behind him.

Sounds like an episode of The Sopranos.

Do you know of any witness protection programs for 6-foot-6 college dropouts?

Yeah, the NBA has one. They're called the Los Angeles Clippers. Once you're there, the only thing that will be harder to find than your career is George Welsh's national championship ring.

In fact, the only thing you need is a good lawyer and a boatload of good excuses. How else did Ray Lewis leave Atlanta unscathed? How else is Lawrence Phillips a free man? How else does seemingly every famous athlete fly through the legal system with ease, ready to play enough games to reach their contract incentives?

We have time for one more call. This one comes from Greensboro. Welcome to the show, Commissioner Swofford.

Hi Pat. Long time listener, first time caller. I'm the commissioner of a major collegiate athletic conference and an embarrassingly high number of my former players are making headlines under the crime section. How can I keep my athletes in line?

Is there a way I can have good players and good people?

Afraid not, commissioner. Looks like these days, you've got to pick one or the other.


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