Sports memory No. 5: Close call in Cowboys locker room


Charles Haley doesn't like it when sports writers step all over his fancy clothes. (ESPN photo)
Charles Haley doesn’t like it when sports writers step all over his fancy clothes. (ESPN photo)

Nov. 1, 1992, Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas: Locker rooms are no fun for anyone. For the sports media, it’s a lot of crowding and jockeying for position to interview disrespectful and rude players. For players, it’s a lot of disrespectful and rude sports media. In the Dallas Cowboys’ locker room, Michael Irvin had just caught four passes for 105 yards to lead his team to a 20-10 NFC East victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. All the media wanted to talk to him, so I staked out his locker early and set up a chair so that I could get a better angle at Michael when the time came. When Michael held court at his locker, I got into position, but I still had to step into a nearby locker for a better vantage point. Working for an afternoon paper, I needed something offbeat. I got in my only question: “Hey, Michael, did you actually hit coach (Jimmy) Johnson in the mouth?” Michael grinned and admitted, yes, but it was an accident. Then, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said it probably would be a good idea if I didn’t stand in that particular locker. I looked down and I realized that I had stomped dust over a pair of fancy slacks and scuffed up some very large dress shoes. The name on the locker was eye level from my angle. I turned my head slowly to the right to read it. The little nameplate read like a giant billboard: Charles Haley. Oh, holy mother of crap. Just then, the surly defensive tackle made his way out of the shower and stalked toward his locker. I remember standing at a safe distance and hearing him shout curse words about someone stepping over his things in his locker. Some sports writers can be so disrespectful and rude.

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