With the recession continuing to ravage the nation, there's been a lot of discussion about last week's interview of CNBC's Jim "Mad Money" Cramer by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Stewart effectively picked apart Cramer's reputation as a financial expert (at least from some reports -- I didn't watch it myself so I can't comment personally). Putting aside how pathetic it is that a show on Comedy Central is doing a better job of journalism than any of the so-called "news" networks, now one of Cramer's proteges -- a former pro athlete -- is also under attack.
Kevin Coughlin, a former photo editor for a magazine founded by former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra, has written an article, "You Think Your Job Sucks? Try Working for Lenny Dykstra," for the April issue of GQ magazine. It's not a flattering picture, to say the least. It depicts seeming financial mismanagement, not to mention racist, sexist and homophobic comments, by Dykstra.
Dykstra managed to parlay his baseball career into a chain of car washes, and then turned his attention to the stock market, eventually becoming a columnist for TheStreet.com, a site co-founded by Cramer. He then started a magazine called The Players Club, distributed exclusively to professional athletes, with plans to expand it into a full-service company providing financial advice, luxury concierge services, etc. to those very same athletes.
In the GQ article, Coughlin says that Dykstra's company is in terrible financial shape and the magazine is unlikely to publish another issue. He says there are multiple lawsuits pending against Dykstra and TPC because of bounced checks, nonpayment of bills for services rendered and loans not repaid. He alleges Dykstra, ostensibly a wealthy man, used Coughlin's credit cards to rent private jets, sometimes without Coughlin's permission, and refused to pay Coughlin's final paycheck unless Coughlin signed a confidentiality agreement (Coughlin refused and hasn't been paid).
Coughlin also paints an ugly portrait of Dykstra as a person:
At one meeting, Lenny goes off on how a particular layout looks "faggy"-despite the presence of a gay page designer in the room. (Later, Lenny says to me: "Did you see the look on that fag's face?") On another occasion, I field a call from Lenny about potential cover subjects while I'm at home; Lenny's on speaker when he proudly states, for both my wife and me, that "nobody can call me a racist-I put three darkies and a bitch on my first four covers."
The first four Players Club covers featured Derek Jeter, Chris Paul, Tiger Woods, and Danica Patrick.
"What was that, Lenny?" I ask.
"I said I put three spearchuckers on the cover!" he replies.
Dykstra told the Philadelphia Inquirer that "everything in there is a lie." And perhaps it is. The article was written by a disgruntled former employee. On the other hand, Dykstra denied using steroids during his playing days, always joking that he took "real good vitamins" when his body suddenly turned larger, but he was named as one of baseball's steroid users by the Mitchell Report in 2007, which cited clubhouse employee/steroid distributor Kirk Radomski and other sources.