The government-subsidized "Cash for Clunkers" program was so successful in removing so many old, gas-guzzling, pollution-coughing vehicles from the road, it makes sense for the Obama administration to initiate another stimulus program.
We'll call this one "Cash 4 Sports Clunkers."
Want to get rid of a washed-up, broken-down, or under-achieving professional athlete who isn't earning his salary? Or how about a player who pleaded guilty to a felony? No problem. If our proposed legislation passes, the Federal Reserve will pay off the remainder of any contract, if a team wants to cut ties with a particular player and replace him with a more efficient player with low mileage.
A former star who hasn't officially retired -- we won't mention any names, Barry -- also can turn himself in for cold, hard cash.
Without further ado, here are 10 nominations for my "Cash 4 Sports Clunkers" program:
Shaquille O'Neal: It's obvious O'Neal knows the end of his NBA career is near, because he's embarrassing himself weekly on the ABC reality series "Shaq Vs." In this past Tuesday's episode, he lost in beach volleyball to Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, and his agreed-upon punishment was walking off the beach wearing a pink Speedo with "SHAQ" embroidered on the posterior. Ugh. The Cleveland Cavaliers should cash him in now.
Charlie Weis: If Notre Dame could have found a suitable replacement last year, Weis already would be an ex-coach. Suffice to say, he's on the hot seat again this year, because his 10-15 record in the past two seasons represents the most losses in back-to-back years in school history. Think Notre Dame is embarrassed it gave Weis a 10-year extension midway through his first season -- days after a 34-31 loss to USC? If the school could turn him for a rebate, it would jump at the chance.
Mike Tyson: The former heavyweight champion of the world and disgraced ear-biter won't go away, even though he officially retired in 2005. He said earlier this month he wants to pursue an acting career, and Fox has hired him to appear in the comedy series "Brothers." But after watching his movie cameo in "The Hangover," I think he should head to the Federal Reserve for his rebate. He might get even more money if he removes his unsightly facial tattoo.
Plaxico Burress: Tough year for the former Super Bowl hero. The New York Giants released him in April, and this past week he accepted a plea bargain for a two-year sentence on gun charges related to accidentally shooting himself in a Manhattan nightclub. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also suspended Burress and said he won't be eligible to sign with another team until after he serves his time. Maybe Goodell could get cash from the government if he promises never to reinstate Burress.
Donte Stallworth: Like Burress, Stallworth also is suspended from the NFL, after serving 24 days of a 30-day sentence for a DUI manslaughter conviction. Thirty days for killing somebody? The Cleveland Browns should take the rebate now.
Brett Favre: The Minnesota Vikings should cash in Favre now, before he changes his mind and retires again. You know it's going to happen, probably after he beats the Green Bay Packers on "Monday Night Football" on Oct. 5.
Jason Giambi: Released by Oakland A's with a .193 batting average earlier this month, Giambi was signed to a minor league contract by the Rockies this week. He's a former AL MVP and five-time All-Star, but it's time to call it a career. The Rockies probably will call him up as a pinch-hitter when rosters expand on Sept. 1, but they can probably get more value from "Cash 4 Sports Clunkers."
John Daly: There's not much money in DQs (disqualifications) MCs (missed cuts) and WDs (withdrawals) on the PGA Tour, so Daly should turn himself in for the cash. That way he could afford to buy a few more pairs of psychedelic trousers.
Barry Bonds: Baseball's all-time home run leader keeps saying he isn't retired, but who's going to sign an allegedly juiced-up slugger who was indicted on perjury charges and is awaiting trial? If he takes the "clunkers" payoff, it will help him pay his mounting attorney fees, especially after his second wife, Liz, filed for legal separation and asked for spousal support.
David Beckham: OK, he doesn't need the cash, but the LA Galaxy would love to get out from under the remainder of his reported five-year, $32.5 million contract. When you have more tattoos than goals scored, your employer is allowed to turn you in at "Cash 4 Sports Clunkers."