The father of Baltimore Colts' quarterback Art Schlichter asked for sympathy for his son, who faces allegations that he gambled away $389,000, then turned to the FBI when he couldn't repay loans.

"I wish . . . everybody else could be sympathetic," Max Schlichter of Bloomingburg, Ohio, was quoted in an interview in the Sunday editions of The (Columbus) Dispatch.

"Everybody knows that sports is filled with cocaine sellers and alcoholics and bums," the elder Schlichter said. "He (Art Schlichter) is not a bum. He's 22 and he's made a bad mistake, and he'll pay for it for a long time, and his family will pay. But we were a family before and we'll be a family afterwards."

According to published accounts and law enforcement officials, Schlichter turned to the FBI after losing $389,000 gambling. According to court documents, four Baltimore-area men involved in the gambling operation threatened to tell the Colts because Schlichter could not cover his losses. The four are charged with participating in a gambling conspiracy and will be arraigned this week in Columbus.

"You talk to somebody and you'll see how these guys work," Max Schlichter said. "You'll see how they get you for one little bit of action, and then they get you to raise the line, and then they say, 'Why don't you double up?' And before long, it's just like having a fish on a hook."

Schlichter said his son could have had the money to pay off the debts, "but other threats were made and he knew it was time to say, 'no.' "

Meanwhile, a defense attorney for one of the four men indicted in the case, says a pattern of "extensive gambling" will be used to attack the quarterback's credibility.

Howard Cardin, a Baltimore lawyer representing Samuel R. Alascia of Catonsville, told the Dispatch that he is investigating Schlichter's gambling background.

"It has been brought forward that Schlichter is involved in other gambling," Cardin said. "More extensive gambling has not yet been brought out."