In a rather odd story, the Vikings hired a former strip club owner to talk to their team’s rookies at their rookie symposium in Winter Park, Minnesota.
In fact it was the second time in three years that Sean Bishop has talked to the Vikings rookies.
“I don’t need their money,” he insists 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.”
Bishop is a longtime friend of Vikings executive director of player development Les Pico, who coached Bishop in football when both were at Washburn (Kan.) University in the early 1990s. Pico said Vikings owner Zygi Wilf spares no expense for his unconventional methods.
“He’s not a choirboy by any means,” Pico said about Bishop. “I can’t legislate morality. Sean’s a guy who isn’t afraid to talk negatively about the business he’s in. Our owners give us great latitude allowing us to run these programs and put a convicted felon on a plane to come here and talk to our rookies about why they shouldn’t be in strip clubs.”
Bishop, who said he also has been invited by the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders to advise their rookies, is willing to tell prospective customers to spend their money elsewhere.
“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.”
“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.”