When the Minnesota Vikings went in search of a headlining act for their in-house rookie symposium, they were ultimately won over by a gentleman with "Former owner, Lollipops Gentlemen's Club" on his resume.
Sean Bishop, unofficially known as the strip club prince of Daytona Beach, Fla., was invited by the Vikings to counsel this spring's rookie class on the dark underbelly of fame and fortune that lies ahead.
"I tell them I am a scumbag club owner who will use and abuse you," Bishop told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I just don't want to see any of them ruin their lives. They need to be protected from themselves."
Bishop's message to the young Vikings was clear: Stay out of the clubs. Don't cozy up to bar owners. Stay clear of the booze-and-sex trade.
The way Bishop tells it, strip club proprietors specialize in preying on rich athletes. Clubs pull a coup d'etat every time an NFL player enters the room. A-listers (and their predictably massive entourages) are plied with free drinks, which come cheap to owners skilled in bartering for booze. Bishop and his type make a heavy profit off the bundles spent on private dances. In other words, a vicious cycle.
Bishop, who spent six months in jail on bribery charges in 2008 and lost ownership of his beloved Lollipops, says young players don't understand the line they walk.
"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."