There's an old saw, oft-trotted out by coaches and commentators after an athlete has committed a wee-hours indiscretion, that nothing good ever happens after midnight. Perhaps it's time to introduce a corollary: Nothing good ever happens at Hooters.
Now, before anyone takes umbrage, we're not suggesting for a minute that the public at large abstain. Hooters has many things to recommend it, if you're into those kinds of things. Televisions. Hot wings. Cold beer. And I believe it was named in honor of Athena, the Greek virgin goddess of wisdom who was symbolized by the owl, which is a nice touch.
But if you're a professional athlete, perhaps it's a good idea to satisfy your fried-food-and-domestic-draft jones elsewhere. Or—and this should go without saying—if you're a junior high football coach. Just last week Randall Burbach was fired from his volunteer position at an Oregon middle school when he refused to back down from his plan to hold the team's postseason banquet at the local Hooters. A few days later injured Heat center Greg Oden saw a picture splashed all over the Internet of him purportedly watching his team play a game in Toronto from a bar stool at a Miami branch.
On the face of it, an athlete who's unable to travel going to the trouble to watch his team is admirable. Oden's sin, it seems, was being able to afford Nobu but eating at a place whose motto is Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined. But any celeb's trip to Hooters will invariably lead to snickering. When a 2009 book disclosed that Alex Rodriguez frequented the chain and tipped poorly, it wasn't immediately clear which revelation was meant to be more damning. Unbowed, A-Rod continued to wing it, with a 2013 visit that was chronicled by TMZ. ("This is what rock bottom looks like," wrote Deadspin.) The item revealed that TMZ has something it calls "Hooters sources."
The existence of a poultry-parazzi should discourage athletes from visiting the restaurant, but if it doesn't, they should look to the poster boy for Hooters-related shenanigans, John Daly. In 2008 he waited out a weather delay at a PGA Tour event in a hospitality tent sponsored by Hooters. While there, he picked up Jon Gruden—who had been a Hooters cook before getting his break in coaching—to be his caddie for the remainder of the round. Daly's coach was so enraged at his pupil's perceived refusal to take the game seriously that he dropped Daly.
Seven months later, in what could only be described as inevitable, Daly was picked up by Winston-Salem, N.C., cops while passed out in a Hooters parking lot. He spent the night in jail, wearing a jumpsuit that was roughly the same shade of orange as the skintight shorts Hooters waitresses are known for wearing. (And the restaurant's Triple Dog Dare wing sauce, for that matter.)
Yes, the waitresses. They, quite likely, hold more of an allure to patrons than, say, the prospect of eating something personally deep-fried by a guy who might one day coach the Bucs. And they have an especially sirenlike pull on athletes, major leaguers in particular. Darren Daulton and Jose Canseco endured high-profile divorces from former waitresses. (Canseco accused Rodriguez of constantly hitting on his ex, Jessica, who went on to write a tell-all book about her marriage to Canseco.) And Chipper Jones bade his squeaky-clean image farewell when he admitted fathering a child out of wedlock with a Hooters girl.
So athletes, for your own good, steer clear. Consider it a challenge. We dare you.
We triple dog dare you.
The existence of a poultry-parazzi should discourage jocks from visiting the joint.
FORSYTH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE/AP (DALY)
DEEP-FRIED DISASTER Oden could take a lesson from Daly, who was once paid to endorse Hooters but suffered one of his lowest moments there when he was carted away by cops.
TONY BOCK/TORONTO STAR/GETTY IMAGES (WINGS)