Bowe: Never Talked To ESPN About “Importing”

Eddie Matz of ESPN The Magazine recently reported that Kansas City Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe told him that his NFL teammates would often “import” women to the team hotel where the Chiefs where staying during road trips.

Dwayne Bowe

“My rookie year (2007), we were playing in San Diego. You hear stories about groupies hanging out in hotel lobbies, but some of my teammates had it set up so there was a girl in every room. The older guys get on MySpace and Facebook a week before we go to a city; when a pretty one writes back, they arrange to fly her in three or four days in advance. They call it importing. Younger guys don’t have the money to do it. Anyway, these girls had the whole top floor.

“They know everything about us — first and last names, sisters and brothers, salary. This one girl was talking to me like she’d known me for years. ‘Hey, D-Bowe, how’s Grandma?’ I’m like, ‘How do you know my grandma?’ She knew that I talk about her every time I’m interviewed for a story. I told her I had a girlfriend, but she didn’t care. She was wearing my jersey, sitting in my lap, making it look like we knew each other. Then she took a picture and put it on Facebook. That almost got me in trouble.”

Crazy stuff. One small detail though. Bowe told 2007 Chiefs teammate Eddie Kenison that he never told Matz or anyone from ESPN that story.

Appearing on WHB-AM in Kanasas City, via SRI, Kenison said today:

“I was surprised with the article because immediately when I heard it, I called Dwayne and we talked. He said, ‘Eddie K, I’ve never talked to this guy before. I don’t know where this is coming from.’ My question, I guess is to the writer who wrote the article.

He quoted Dwayne in this article and to me that raises the question, if you quoted the guy, then that means the guy said it. So that leaves me a little bit skeptical about whether Dwayne really said it or not. Dwayne said he didn’t. I believe Dwayne. I don’t know the writer. I’m not saying that it’s not true, but I believe Dwayne Bowe on it because he told me he did not say it.”

Interesting to note that since ESPN started promoting the Bowe story to the public,  ESPN.com has added this graf to the introduction of Bowe’s groupie import story:

Editor’s Note: The Bowe quote below — which has garned some attention online — is referenced by another Magazine contributor, “NBA Player X,” in this post.

The linked “post” goes to a story written by an ESPN.com-described “star-turned-blogger from the NFL, NBA, MLB and/or NASCAR.

Because the entry is no longer part of the current issue of ESPN The Magazine, which is normally subscription-only web content, I’ll post its content below (you can sign up for ESPN Insider here):

NBA Player X: Be careful with groupies

March, 25, 2010

This story appears in the April 5 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Not that long ago, The Mag’s NFL Player X (whoever he is) estimated that 30 percent of married NFL players cheat on their wives. I was surprised to hear it was that low. In the NBA, I think it’s closer to 60 percent. When you get a bunch of young, rich guys together, infidelity can be contagious. It’s like high school — the young guys watch the older players to see how things are done.

Respected vets like Kevin Ollie or Derek Fisher set good examples, though, for guys across the NBA. There are a lot of players who stick in this league for way longer than they should because they’re family men who keep rookies in check. They’ll call you out on your dumb mistakes. I know the vets I played with early on helped keep me straight. They’d warn me off the groupies who’d been going after NBA players for years.

I’ve had girls approach me at the hardware store and act like they didn’t know who I was. I’ve been followed at the mall. There are groupies who hang around my neighborhood trying to bump into me on the street. They don’t care if I’m married or not.

The whole thing seems innocent but most often it’s not. We’re talking about strangers here, who are following us. Fall in love with the wrong one, and you can end up trapped, with a child you never expected or a wife you weren’t ready for. People ask me all the time how many of the women I meet are looking for a ring. I have to assume it’s all of them, because I’ve never met a groupie who was in it just to have fun. Those girls take the long view, and it’s not always about love.

Look at what happened with Dirk last year. He fell for a groupie, gave the girl an engagement ring, only to find out she was a criminal. The situation blew up right during the playoffs, so his teammates ended up answering questions about the woman when they were trying to focus on the Nuggets. It’s not good when those problems trickle into the locker room.

Trades have been arranged because one woman is involved with two guys on the same team. That’s what happened in Dallas some years ago. And right now I know of one girl who is dating two NBA players. One makes her car payments, and the other pays her rent. They don’t know about each other, but they do share a money manager who’s writing both checks. It’s bound to blow up at some point.

Truth is, NBA players are easy targets. We’re not like most guys, who can meet a nice girl at work or at a barbecue. We are recognized and treated differently pretty much everywhere we go. Most of us have grown up in an environment where we’ve been given whatever we wanted, so a woman approaching us suggestively seems normal. Sadly, all you usually have to do to get an NBA guy for a night is smile and make it clear you’re willing to go home with him. Especially if he’s single.

As for the married guys, it’s not that hard for a groupie to get with one of them, either. They’re like regular dudes in corporate America who travel a lot, except they have more money and more opportunities to cheat. They don’t get caught because they keep it on the road, calling their wives all the time to check in. (It doesn’t always go smoothly. I’ve overheard plenty of dudes fight with their wives over the phone about their activities.) It gets to the point where you see teammates doing it so much that young guys assume having a woman on the road and a wife at home is just part of the NBA lifestyle.

In fact, I would guess that 50 percent of NBA wives actually started out as groupies. And a lot of those women are realistic about the scene their spouses are in. They take a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach. They will say something like, “Don’t embarrass me by getting caught.” It’s not that they like the situation, but they understand the circumstances. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that they were in those same clubs looking to get with a professional athlete, no matter how many tries it took.

Honestly, with all the pitfalls and temptation, sometimes I wonder why young players even get married. They should follow Derek Jeter’s example. No one criticizes his lifestyle because he doesn’t have a wife at home wondering what he’s up to. He’s just a young, rich pro who enjoys being the king of New York. He’ll settle down when the time is right. NBA guys should take note.

 –

After re-reading the above entry, I was unable to locate any reference to the Bowe quote as allegedly told to Eddie Matz of ESPN The Magazine.

I can’t imagine Matz would make up the importing story or relay it from another athlete or media member without informing the reader, but how do you explain Bowe’s denial?

For now, I don’t know who to believe, but I do know one thing: If I told a story like that to an acknowledged ESPN reporter under the pretense of it being published, I’d surely remember it.

UPDATE: Apparently ESPN erred when it first posted the “Player X” blog link. The link has since been changed and that blog post does indeed reference Bowe and “importing.”