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Hiring escorts counts against salary cap!

Answer Man: LT’s trick wouldn’t fly in today’s NFL
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All rise, please, for The Answer Man, who, despite his ingenious strategy of sending beautiful “escorts” to the hotel rooms of his writing competitors the night before a big writing contest, has never won a Pulitzer Prize.

Q: SO WHAT STORY DID the guy who beat you write? A:

An insider’s expose’ on the escort business.

Q: Lawrence Taylor, in his new tell-all book, says he would often send “escorts” to the hotel room of an opposing running back the night before the game. What kind of reaction did these ladies get when they knocked on the door? A:

Typical reactions included:

—”But I ordered a double cheeseburger.”

—”Great! I’m going over my playbook. You guys can quiz me.”

—”Just a second, I have to ask my wife if it’s OK for you guys to come in. Honey?”

—”Let’s start with the coin flip.”

Q: Why don’t football players try that same trick today? A:

The cost of the escorts would count against the team’s salary cap.

Q: What will happen to the major league baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs? A:

Individually, nothing. But the team with the most positives will play all its home games next season in Puerto Rico.

Q: I know there are fines and suspensions for baseball players upon their second and third successive positive drug tests. But none for a first-timer? What if, say, a pitcher is caught injecting steroids into his eyeball while on the mound? What is that? A:

A balk.

Q: Raiders’ coach Bill Callahan, after his team’s 22-8 loss to Denver, said, “We’ve got to be the dumbest team in America, in terms of playing the game.” What was the reaction to his statement? A:

For starters, I’m sure Callahan heard from the L.A. Clippers’ attorneys.

And fans in many other football cities are angry at Callahan for claiming the title they feel rightly belongs to their team. The NFL office, sensing a marketing opportunity, is planning an offseason “Jeopardy”-like competition to select “The NFL’s Dumbest Team.”

Q: Since the goal of this competition would be to lose, thereby winning the “Dumbest Team” trophy, might a player try to tire himself out the night before the competition by sending “escorts” to his own room? A:

That would be too smart.

Q: Converse has hit the streets, so to speak, with its new basketball shoe, the Loaded Weapon. What’s been the response? A:

Many hoopsters are getting several pair. They buy the first pair, then use a shoe to stick up the store for several more pairs.

Incidentally, Converse has come out with a ladies’ version of the shoe-the Missfire.

And Keyshawn Johnson is going to come out with his own model of the shoe — the Loose Cannon.

Q: When the Bulls fired coach Bill Cartwright, interim coach Pete Myers told the players, “Now you have to stand up.” What did he mean? A:

Cartwright, as part of his severance, took the team’s folding chairs.

Just kidding! Myers was challenging his players to be accountable for their lousy play, to try harder.

Q: Did the challenge work? A:

Faced with the prospect of being traded away from a team that was losing games by 30 points, the players all took their games to the next level ... down.

Q: I read of the recent golf tournament where the American team and the international team went to a sudden-death playoff, with Tiger Woods playing Ernie Els in what was shaping up to be a duel for the ages. But darkness set in and team captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player agreed to call it a tie and leave town, rather than stay and play it out. What was the name of that tournament? A:

The Presidents Cup, but it will go down in history as the Wimpout at OK Corral.

All the players got lovely trophies, though, topped with gold-plated figurines of a golfer kissing his sister.

Q: Tiger Woods is going to marry his girlfriend, Elin Nordegren and I saw them together in a news clip, walking on a golf course, having a private conversation. Do you know what she was saying to him? A:

I do some lip-reading, and while I didn’t catch everything, here are some of the things Elin was saying to Tiger:

—”But you practiced yesterday!’

—”I think we can save some money if you carry your own bag thingie.’

—”Would it kill you to let that nice Phil Mickelson win a major once in a while?’

—”Exactly what did Phil mean by your ‘inferior equipment’?’

Q: When the 76ers played the Pacers, Allen Iverson and Larry Brown met before the game and embraced. Does this prove that they’re really good friends? A:

No, they were patting each other down. It’s a Philly thing.

Q: The Canadiens and Oilers played a game outdoors, in a wind-chill temperature of minus-28 degrees, before 57,000 fans. What was the big seller in the stands? Hot chocolate? A:

Beer on a stick.

Q: The Greek government has given the official OK for prostitutes to work freely during next summer’s Olympics in Athens. How will this effect the Games? A:

For one thing, Lawrence Taylor is a lock for a gold medal in something.

Scott Ostler writes every other week for and is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.