DAN STEINBERG WASHINGTONPOST.COM/D.C. SPORTS BOG
Wizards' Haywood Ventures Into Radio
Brendan Haywood will listen to sports-talk radio during the football season, but once the NBA chatter starts, he switches it off. Probably not a bad move, in a town where radio standbys have regularly omitted the last letter of his first name.
"Some of the stuff coming out about me and my teammates, I'm like, 'Wow, people can be really rough out there,' " Haywood told me Wednesday afternoon. "I'm like, 'Y'all gambling on games? Did you lose the rent money? What is going on?' "
It's a scary realm indeed, though perhaps no rougher than the world of anonymous Internet comments. Either way, tuning out is no longer an option for Haywood, who will make his three-hour guest-hosting debut Friday night at 7 on 106.7 The Fan. Paired with Lou Holder, Haywood will welcome guests (Darius Songaila is confirmed), field fan calls and put on a legitimate D.C. sports-talk radio show. Which means, of course, he'll be talking about a certain team that doesn't wear blue.
"With it being August, if you're doing a radio show and you're in D.C., you've got to address to the Redskins," he said. "You've got to talk about Jason Campbell and the offseason he went through, with the trade talk and this and that. You have to talk about Clinton Portis and how he's gonna rush this year and what a big part of the offense he is. You have to talk about is the defense gonna be that much better with the additions of Albert Haynesworth and [Brian] Orakpo. You have to know all these things, and I stay on it, I stay current. If you're gonna be in this business, you have to know more than just basketball, you have to know more than the world outside your windows."
This business, of course, is sports media. If I were offering career guidance, I'd tell Brendan to go find a nice quiet job behind a cheese counter somewhere, but he's planning to transition into media when his playing days are done. He's already been on TV, most recently on Comcast SportsNet's Wizards set while he was injured, and he has writing experience from his blog on Yardbarker. Radio was the one gap on his résumé, he said, and hence this week's experiment.
"I have a passion for it, and you don't start planning for your retirement when you retire; you've got to start before that," he said. "I just want to have a lot more options, because at some point this ball's gonna stop bouncing, and I still want to work."
At this point, Haywood is probably the Wizards' biggest media producer. Gilbert Arenas's blog is quieter than Verizon Center during a Grizzlies visit. Etan Thomas now writes about politics as a member of the Thunder. The rapping Dee Brown has long since departed.
And so it's Haywood who will be interacting with callers Friday night -- "If someone calls in and says, 'Haywood, I think you suck,' oh well, thanks for calling," he said. It's Haywood on the hook for three hours of content. "I'm gonna have to start swallowing down some Vaseline like Stephon Marbury because my throat might get sore," he joked. And it's Haywood hoping to score an exclusive interview with Arenas.
So now he knows what that feels like, anyhow.