Meet Kevin Coughlin, a photo editor at the New York Post who spent three months in 2008 working at The Players Club magazine, Lenny Dykstra's glossy vanity project marketed to the pro athlete crowd.
Reading Coughlin's colorful and nightmarish account of his 67 days on the job, it's doesn't take long before you realize Dykstra is more Michael Scott than Jann Wenner.
"Tales of horrible money management (from a man putting out a magazine giving financial advice to athletes), racism, jokes about PED use, homophobia, harrassment, and just plain stealing from people fill the article, further sullying Dykstra's once miraculously resurrected image," notes one scribe from The 700 Level, who ponders whether Dykstra was a direct inspiration for Kenny Powers, the profane and over-the-hill ballplayer on HBO's Eastbound & Down.
The strangest part of working at The Players Club, though, is Lenny’s adolescent antics. Editorial “brainstorming sessions,” fueled by Coca-Cola and ice cream sundaes, typically last until dawn. But this does not mean things are getting done. Most meetings are simply extended hang-out sessions, with Lenny cracking up at his own jokes or asking us to watch the Real Sports segment over and over, especially the moment where Lenny points to his seat on his private plane and says, “This is where the Big Man sits.” He also seems to relish letting go a long, leisurely fart for the amusement of his employees or showing off his silk tie and saying, “You see this tie? I paid $500 for it” as he rubs it on his crotch and laughs at our embarrassed expressions.
Lenny’s all-time favorite workplace prank is saying something outrageous just to see how those around him react. Sometimes the jokes are on himself. During one of my first visits to the office, Lenny—a known steroids user, according to the Mitchell Report, though he’s repeatedly denied it—blurts out to me and two other employees that “back in the old days, we’d rub some HGH [human growth hormone] on our elbows and knees.” No one knows whether he’s joking or not. Other times, Lenny’s attempts at humor can be downright offensive. 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.
Dysktra spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer in response to the story, saying, "Everything in there is a lie."
Does this change your opinion of Dykstra? Or is the former All-Star being unfairly besmirched?
You Think Your Job Sucks? Try Working For Lenny Dykstra [GQ.com]
Working for Lenny Dysktra Sounds a Lot Like Working for Kenny Powers [The 700 Level]
GQ paints unflattering portrait of Dykstra [Philadelphia Inquirer]