********: And Toward Me He Charged: Charles Haley's Bananas

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by WoodysGirl, May 13, 2008.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    The Dark Side Of The Locker Room, charles haley, dallas cowboys, mike fisher, nfl, top
    And Toward Me He Charged: Charles Haley's Bananas


    Being a sports reporter is, at times, an absolutely horrible job. Sure you get to watch games, travel and interact with athletes, but there is a horrendous downside. (Which is pretty much everything else.) And this is never more disturbingly clear than when a reporter has their first (or 50th) awful experience with a half-naked, exhausted athlete. Sometimes they'll be openly dismissive, sometimes they'll yell, and sometimes, well, they'll fart in your face. Most of these stories never end up in the newspaper the next day. So now, ******** proudly presents "The Dark Side of the Locker Room" where current and former sports writers can share some of their most distressing interactions. If you've got your own story to share, please send it along to ajd@********.com.

    Today's submission comes courtesy of Mike Fisher, who writes about the Mavericks, the Cowboys, the Dallas sports scene and whatever he damn-well pleases at DallasBasketball.com.
    Charles Haley spent a decade trying to kill me, in spirit and ultimately in body, which is more than I can say for all these other "Dark Side'' sportswriting *******' encounters. I first encountered Haley in 1988, when I was new on the San Francisco 49ers beat. First day: I saw him grab his manhood with his fist, shake his Dark Sith in the direction of a hapless young female reporter (her crime? Femaleness, and maybe haplessness) and scream/bellow, like Brando up the stairs, that the "****in' ***** was staring at my ****! Get that ***** outta here! She's a ****in' perv! She wants my ****in' ****!''

    Ensuing Chapters of Charles: I saw the first-hand evidence of the All-Pro pass-rusher using his Lil' Haley to water the hand-crafted wood floors in the office belonging to team president Carmen Policy. (A versatile body part, that thingee.) I learned that Charles attempted to strangle coach George Seifert during a film session. I learned that one of the great Ronnie Lott's official jobs was to keep Charles tamed. And I learned something that still disturbs me: On my final 49ers experience with Haley at the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, when I was on a team bus one seat ahead of his, eavesdropping as he plotted to arrange from the 49ers' front seven to be a "Soul Patrol.'' Meaning, he wanted to orchestrate the departure of his white teammates. (Joking, you say? OK. But will you at least trade me bus seats next time?)

    In 1990, I moved to Dallas to cover the Cowboys. Haley would be nothing but a nightmarish memory, somebody else's problem, a guy I was pretty sure skipped taking his medicine. (For two full years!) I would be free to empathize ... from a distance.

    And then, in '92, Charles Haley came to Dallas. I was the first and only reporter to greet him at his locker.

    We were one-on-one. The tension built. No media members wanted any part of it. Charles got revved up, opening by braying something about what an ******* I was in San Francisco (he was/is right. ... but how'd he know?), and he was hooting something about how Aikman couldn't carry Montana's jockstrap and I was writing it all down.

    And Haley barks, "Hey, ************, I didn't say you could write this down, ************! DO YOU HEAR ME, ************?''

    The verbal barrage continued. I kept writing. A notepad full of "mother****ers.''

    I did not opt to reason with a man who would, a few weeks later, find a huge bushel of bananas in his locker, a jokey gift from defensive-line mates who admired his ... um ... Neanderthalic approach to life. I absorbed the MFs, and somehow located, deep in my fashionable cargo pants, the resolve to say:
    "Charles, you keep talking. Please. Say anything you want to me. Call me anything you want. And you know what? I'm going to write down every word. And if my editors allow it, this interview, word-for-word, is going to be in the gah-damn newspaper tomorrow morning. Go.''

    He kept *************** me. I kept writing. Now, I was nervous ... but it wasn't that hard to take notes: How hard is it to simply scribble "**'' over and over?

    It is a credit to my employer at the time, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, that the piece really did run. As a straight news story, with no embellishment and no judgment. Just my questions and his answers, jagged but pure, all serving as Charles Haley's introduction to his new community. Welcome to Dallas, ************.

    Why did I go through with it? Three reasons:

    1) The result was a revealing story that offered great insight into the star the Cowboys had just acquired.

    2) Hey, I promised him!

    3) Critics of the media often come at us because we "buy ink by the barrel,'' and all that ****. But actually, in any battle between "the jocks vs. the media,'' the geeks with pencils don't usually win. So when truth is on our side — plus, you mentioned my mom, you prick! — we can't be blamed for swinging that truth like it's a medieval flail.

    Chucky & Me spent the rest of his playing career in an unholy truce. Meaning, I think I went seven years without every even venturing near another Cowboy D-linemen. But then, around 2000 or so, I inadvertently encountered Charles Haley ... and it was a near-death experience.

    I was at a local saloon called Humperdink's on a "date'' (probable sportswriter translation: She Was A Prostitute) when Charles and I exchanged icy glances from across the room.

    And toward me he charged.

    What was in my mind? "Soul Patrol'' ... "bananas.'' ... "no meds.'' ... "bananas.'' ... "************.'' ... "bananas.'' ... I knew that people had died in a puddle of their own urine, but reflecting on Carmen Policy's floor, I pondered whether I would be a victim of a first: "Death-by-drowning-in-somebody-else's urine.'' ...

    And toward me he charged. ...

    What was in his mind (besides dementia)? In a literal flash — bright lights and beer pitchers and prostitute screams and a mushroom cloud of four huge bodies swooping over my booth — I and the entire saloon found out what a Grinch is capable of when he has a heart two sizes too small and the benefit of NFL weight-training.

    The menacing Haley, fueled by liquor and anger at being pestered for 10 years by some pencil-wielding ************, had lunged toward me, up and into my booth, only to be intercepted by his evening escorts, Leon Lett, Erik Williams and Michael Irvin.

    Lett (6-7, 280) and Williams (6-5, 330) are two of the largest athletes in Dallas Cowboys history. Irvin is the franchise's all-time sweetest talker. Good for me. Leon and Erik wrestled Charles away, while Michael, I assume, sang him a lullaby while plucking a thorn from his paw.

    I lived.

    This is the art form at which I've bumbled around for 28 years and which has afforded me the ability to put no children through college. Newspapers, books, radio, TV and now the internet. I'm a hack-of-all-trades. Writing can be blogging and blogging can be writing and the only big difference is locker-room access. Which has its less-than-omnipotent value.

    Is it an "absolutely horrible job''? Nah. Is it one big Axe commercial that makes horned-up vixens take off their wet blouses when in the alluring midst of me 'cause they mistake me for a drunken NFL quarterback? Nah.

    But when I'm old(er) and gray(er), one of the skillion tales I'll be able to tell the kids that I'm "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.'' Or at least I'll inform them that I persuaded the apologetic saloon manager to put my charges on Haley's tab.

  2. the kid 05

    the kid 05 Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds

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    pretty good read, thanks wg. was Haley always such a rick with a p to everyone or just this guy?
  3. theebs

    theebs Believe!!!!

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    If anyone has ever read stars & stripe by mike fisher you will crack up. That is kind of how the book is.

    Its weird he basically says newton and a number of the guys were racist and only talked to and associated with black players. I forgot the hats newton and company used to wear, I think it might have said soul patrol but I dont remember.
  4. Sarge

    Sarge Red, White and Brew... Staff Member

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    Hos PM'd me this article earlier. Haley was a maniac. Like I told Hos, this team needs more players like Haley (and E. Williams, for that matter). Love the current team, but it needs a little more 'heart' for lack of a better word.

    Haley was the man.

    Great read.
  5. BigDFan5

    BigDFan5 Cowboys Make me Drink

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    wish he would have gotten that mother****er
  6. QT

    QT Well-Known Member

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    I remember when he stated that Troy couldn't carry Joe's jockstrap. Haley was a nutcase, but he's still my favorite pass rusher of all time.
  7. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    What amazes me is the man has more SB rings than any player who has played the game (5 rings) and is not in the hall of fame
  8. Chief

    Chief "Friggin Joke Monkey"

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    I agree.

    Interestingly, the Cowboys' quarterback is starting to become more hell-bent and crazy.

    I don't know if that's the ideal position to have a guy like that, but ...
  9. Chief

    Chief "Friggin Joke Monkey"

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    I think he will be.

    His acceptance speech should be interesting.
  10. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    He should have been a 1st ballot 5 years after he retired in 1999. No doubt the acceptance speech should be a good one.
  11. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    I bet Larry Allen's speech will be the shortest ever.
  12. Sarge

    Sarge Red, White and Brew... Staff Member

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    It's a disgrace that he isn't in yet - but frankly, the entire HOF is becoming a disgrace and I care less and less about it each passing year. Shame.......
  13. Sarge

    Sarge Red, White and Brew... Staff Member

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    Ya, Romo (and Barber) show the most intensity on the team, but I'm a defense guy and there isn't anything close to Haley or E. Williams, attitude-wise on defense..............Ware is a gem, I just wish he'd kick someones' teeth in sometime.
  14. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I agree however I think it is a big deal to these men who have played the game at the highest levels.

    I don't dispute any of the men who are in the HOF but no doubt there are many who have been left out who are just as deserving.

    One that really irks me is the fact that to this day Lee Roy Jordan is not in the HOF.

    I think Chief is right and Haley will get in but you would have thought Haley 1st ballot would be a no brainer.
  15. QT

    QT Well-Known Member

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    Does he go in as a 49er or Cowboy?
  16. trickblue

    trickblue Not Old School...Old Testament...

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    If I remember correctly he said he would go in as a niner, although, if he makes it, a call from Jerry and a financial agreement will change his mind...
  17. bbgun

    bbgun Benched

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    It's not like MLB, where your plaque features a cap/helmet. Although I think the NFL commissions a painting of you in action to go with your bust.
  18. ndanger

    ndanger Active Member

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    I had season tickets from 90 thru 95 and would go to the stadium 3 to 4 hours early and hang around the players parking lot to get autographs, with kids from my wrestling team. I remember every time Haley made his way from his vehicle to the gate he NEVER even acknowledged the kids running around him trying to get autographs. Just a blank, bad ** look and demeanor. I told any of the kids that came with me to just let the other knuckleheads chase him and go concentrate on any other player heading to the gate. Those kids would often say man he's a mean guy. My response was always, yep your right, now let's get in the stadium and watch him try to kill the other teams Q.B. I know it was probably the wrong way to handle it, but I told the kids that it's not every players responsibility to cater to the fans. Besides Michael Irvin, without question, would always make up for it by hanging around signing autographs and actually at times visiting with the kids.I've got tons of cool stories from that time period that I will cherish from now on.The coolest thing about it for me, was the kids from my wrestling team were always rewarded for their hard work at practice and keeping their grades good a thousand times greater than most kids.
  19. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    According to many teammates during the reg season from Thursday to game day no one messed with Haley
  20. Sarge

    Sarge Red, White and Brew... Staff Member

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    I recall him saying he wanted to go in as a Cowboy actually.

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