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Okay here’s the deal. I’m more of a spectator than an athlete, but I’m a damn good spectator. I can be on your side, Professional Athletes, learning your names, your hometowns, and any pop stars you may have dated before most devoted fans can crack open their second Bud Light. I even found myself cheering for Georges St-Pierre at a big, stupid, testosterone tank in downtown Seattle. Yep. Me. The same person who doesn’t even like watching the D-level stage combat fighting on my soap opera was on her feet hooting and heckling with all the boys. I’m that good at spectating. And because of that, I feel like you, Professional Athletes, owe me this:

Quit being douchebags.

Statistics show only 26% of American workers are “extremely satisfied” with their jobs. I’m betting you’re in that category. You get paid boatloads of money to do a job you presumably love. The community in which you live reveres you. Even when they hate your guts they still love you enough to spend hours coming up with rhyming insults to post on message boards. That takes time, you know?

People look up to you. They want to emulate you. Little kids ask Santa for jerseys with your name on the back of them. You probably travel with an entourage. You don’t have to clean your own bathroom. You don’t wait in line to get into the clubs New York Post journalists clamor to write about. You are the kind of person who wants to go to the clubs New York Post journalists write about. You get paid money to wear certain logos, eat certain foods, apply certain deodorants. Did you know those are things the rest of us do every, single day? For free. I know. We’re suckers.

What I’m saying is this: It’s not a bad life you’re living. And yet, some of you do things that constantly flummox me. Are you trying to sabotage yourselves? Are you afraid of having too many nice things? Do you want to clean your own bathrooms? No? Then why, why, why do you do something like drive shitfaced when you’re probably traveling with paid staffers that could easily take the wheel for you! Come on! Even I can afford a taxi!

I’m disgusted by your behavior, Professional Athletes. You act like spoiled, tantrum-prone children whose parents feel it’s better to give in to your latest fancy than risk a chip on their precious Waterford vase. Enough is enough. Just because you play games for a living does not mean you can act like children. You are not exempt from behaving appropriately in society. You’re not puppies. You’re not amnesiacs. And you’re not babies. You don’t need coddling. You may never have read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school (your loss, by the way) or had to learn the state capitals or how to balance a checkbook or (for some of you clearly) how babies get made, but don’t tell me you never figured out common sense or street smarts. Not even from television? Or music videos? Come on! Even a 4 year-old knows it’s not right to hit an innocent person upside the head or make dogs attack one other for sport. I don’t care what you do for a living.

If you can’t figure out how to act like upstanding citizens then allow me to help you out. Hey, I live in a city with 5 professional sports teams. I know you walk among me. This is as much for me as it is for you.

1. Don’t waste your money on bodyguards. You’re probably bigger, stronger and more menacing than anyone an agency is going to send you. Instead hire a “Conscious Guard.” Get someone on your payroll that you trust when you’re sober. Carry with you a reminder note that explains chances are good you’ll get pretty wasted tonight and want to do something stupid. You won’t trust your Conscious Guard. In fact, you’ll probably fire him for being such a wet blanket. But don’t. Run all your dumb ideas by your Conscious Guard and allow him to guide you. Give all the money they’ll save you on legal fees to them as a holiday bonus.
2. Do not ever, ever, ever think you can get away with running an illegal dog-fighting ring in your basement. I’m sorry. I’m still really pissed about this one.
3. Don’t get married. Why bother? Clearly you want to sow your wild oats and clearly there’s never going to be a lack of oat sowers. Wouldn’t it be better to just date these hookers and strippers and “event planners” in public? Trust me, no one will care what skanky text messages you’re sending to each other.
4. Don’t have sex in public places. I know. Sad. But when you’re in the limelight you have to sacrifice some things. PDAs (and I use that “A” loosely) are off limits. The internet is forever.
5. Don’t have sex with wicked drunk college students in public places. Jackass.
6. Don’t get anyone wicked drunk so they’ll have sex with you. Do you really need to? Seems like kind of a waste of money to me. I’m pretty sure you can find a sober, consenting participant. In fact, I’m willing to bet you don’t even need to go out to find someone willing to sleep with you. Got a cell phone? Peruse your address book. See that?
7. Oh yeah, about having sex. Here’s what you missed in Health class: No glove, no love. Please use a condom. The world doesn’t need any offspring springing from extremely rich, famous, slutty athletes who can’t perform a very basic function that serves a very important need. And please stop believing women who say things like, “What team do you play for? It’s okay! I’m on the pill!”
8. Don’t beat up people. This goes double for women. The media frowns upon that. Ask Chris Brown. Who? Exactly. You might even lose your endorsement deal. And people will boo you.
9. Don’t use performance-enhancing drugs. You idiot! You know they have tests for this, right?
10. Don’t drive under the influence. Of anything. You obviously don’t care about the rest of us, but surely you care about yourself. My livelihood depends on my brain, which is why I try to protect it by not being stupid. You’re livelihoods (not to mention the hopes and dreams of a few million fans) depend on your bodies. What if you get an owie and have to sit on the bench for a few games? Or worse, what if you get a really big owie and need surgery or a cast or something? Like I said before, hire a driver or pay your hanger-ons $100 for every hour they don’t drink. I’ll go out with you for $75/hour. Actually, I’ll probably just wait in the car.
11. Don’t be a douchebag. I’m sorry but this bears repeating. Get some media training. Learn how to be PC. Try not to say words you can’t pronounce. Don’t insult your team or your coach. Don’t embarrass your family. Don’t be racist, sexist, misogynistic, or homophobic. Get a dictionary to look up the words you don’t know. Trust me. They’re important. Be gracious to your fans. Be respectful of the city you’re playing for. And for the love of all things holy, stay out of the news so we can get back to the important things like Kate Gosselin’s breakdown on Dancing with the Stars and Heather Locklear’s latest hit and run (Don’t worry! It was a parking sign! No one was hurt!)

Thank you, Professional Athletes, for your cooperation in this matter. And of course you are welcome. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think Heather and Kate need me. Hang in there, ladies! I’m coming!

Shelly Mazzanoble

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