During his playing days in high school, that institution paid little or no taxes on the revenue raised from sports and his labor because it was technically, “a non-profit entity.” Ditto for when he played in college so after they all got paid the government had to get theirs when he got paid. Dorsett sacrificed eight years as an amateur athlete; four in high school and four in college without being compensated. He “performed” for the Cowboys from 1977-1987. In 1985, two years before he bailed was the year that his tax and money troubles were exposed. It also happened to be his eighth year and with the shelf life of a running back and the expiration date fast approaching, the Cowboys felt that he was nearing the end of the road as a player.  That mindset made sense but the manner, deviousness and the nastiness by which he was attacked by his coaches, teammates, owners and the media, did not. He was dishonored by Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry who might as well have just called him “boy” and been done with it. Coach Landry was quoted in the article as saying, “His job and his responsibility is to be here. I have done everything I can for the running back.” He could have said his number or called him by his last name but he referred to him simply as “the running back.”

Even Tex Schramm the president and general manager of the Cowboys before Jerry Jones, got in on the “social dismembering” of Tony Dorsett. Mr. Looney also pointed out that; “[Dorsett] is furious with the Cowboys for what he says is their public airing of his private life. He [Dorsett] complains for example, that his tax problems would have remained confidential had the Cowboys not started a whispering campaign to get reporters to check up on him with the IRS. Schramm says he mentioned that Tony had “personal financial problems” on his KLRD radio show in explaining why Dorsett had failed to report to camp. But Schramm denies that any information about Dorsett’s difficulties with the IRS “came from me or my organization. I can certainly understand Tony thinking that it did. But if this hurts his image, that’s the last thing the Cowboys want to do.” Why would that be the last thing that the Cowboys wanted to do? Especially considering the fact that Dorsett was attempting to increase his value, while the Cowboys were simultaneously trying to decrease it. Now boys and girls don’t get it twisted because I am not some bleeding heart liberal that thinks that every other second White society is out to get all Black folks. Hell, I only worry about things that I can control. All I am attempting to point out is that “all along the watchtower” there is someone wanting something, somewhere always has a plan to get it.  Most often your continued success or happiness may or may not be a part of their present or future plans.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers lost wide receiver Mike Wallace to free agency, Wallace was quickly vilified by many (including yours truly) because he reportedly said that he wanted “Larry Fitzgerald type money” before finally signing with the Miami Dolphins. You can create or destroy your own worth just by who you associate with and how you allow others to affect you. Take heed to these timeless words of literary legend Toni Morrison: “definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”

(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)



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