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April 05, 2007

Ex-Patriot receiver Darryl Stingley dies: Darryl Stingley, paralyzed after a vicious hit during an NFL exhibition game nearly 30 years ago, died Thursday. He was 55. The "Assassin" that delivered the paralyzing blow will now never have the chance to reconcile with the man he put in a wheelchair.

posted by irunfromclones to football at 01:06 PM - 26 comments

Hard to believe that Tatum never took the opportunity to make amends with Stingley, even if only to express his sorrow that the hit resulted in such a grievous injury. Engineering a televised reunion just to sell a book is pretty low. Most pro athletes have a lot more camaraderie with their peers. I was glad to find out that Stingley's been a Patriots exec. I wasn't aware of that.

posted by rcade at 01:15 PM on April 05

What rcade said. Good for Stingley for being the better man throughout all of that. RIP.

posted by bperk at 01:20 PM on April 05

I heard Madden this morning defending Tatum; the hit was an accident, his book was an attempt to defend himself, he's really a good guy. Madden said that Tatum was called the Assassin by others, but that he (Tatum) never used that name himself. I guess the old coach has gotten a selective memory in recent years. It took even less time for Jack to establish himself as the hard-hitting force that he is legendary for - thus earning him the monicker "The Assassin". “Well, that pretty much started in my first game playing as sophomore,” he said. “I knocked out a running back and a tight end on the same day… that pretty much established the reputation as being a hitter.” With Jack in the lineup, the Raiders finally had what they had been looking for prior to drafting him, a solid hitter and an intimidating force. “I always wanted to hit someone hard,” Jack said. “And if they got hurt, that was just part of the game.

posted by irunfromclones at 02:02 PM on April 05

Sorry to hear Darryl Stingley has passed. As far as he being the better man through out the years is another story. You have to remember that game was played nearly 30 years ago, the game is a lot different now. And as salary's escalate, it will continue to change. QB's now wear skirts, players are bigger stronger etc,etc. Jack Tatum was playing the game the way he was taught. And fortunately for Jack, unfortuate for Stingley, he was a hard hitter and a force on defense. Jack didn't make much money back then, I just wonder how much a player like him would demand in this day and age.

posted by livedawhile at 02:50 PM on April 05

I agree with livedawhile. Tatum was simply doing what he was paid to do. He was a hard hitting headhunter. In those days much more than today they hit to hurt. That being said, it is no excuse for not reconsiling with Stingley. He should not have apologized for the hit if it was a clean hit (It has been years since I've seen the hit and can't remember) but the result of the hit are a reason to be sorry.

posted by scottypup at 02:55 PM on April 05

Some good links in the always-terrific Globe NFL blog (technically, Mike Reiss is always terrific; the blog, after he leaves, who knows?). Jack Tatum was playing the game the way he was taught. Maybe. I don't know if anyone taught him to go all out in exhibition games. But I doubt anyone told him to celebrate his style after he almost killed someone. He made a decent amount of money bragging on being The Assassin.

posted by yerfatma at 02:56 PM on April 05

Ah, football. Brutal, vicious, uncomprimising, unapologetic, aggressive, with the intent to do bodily injury. Who was it who said "Baseball is what we used to be. Football is what we've become."? Some days, I really agree with that sentiment.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:59 PM on April 05

I hope Tatum doesn't have a peaceful night of sleep for the rest of his life. How lovely that Jim Tressel instituted a "Jack Tatum Hit of the Week" award at Ohio State. Way to mold those young men, Coach.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:24 PM on April 05

I read a book about the assassin in the 80's. It came across to me that Tatum was a complete Asshole. I hope Stingley can rest in sleep very peacefully and May God bless his soul.

posted by luther70 at 03:46 PM on April 05

No excuse not to be sorry is correct; but how can anyone say that Tatum is'nt sorry. Just because he didn't illustrate in that manner that all watching thought would be appropiate; does not mean he felt nothing for Stingley. Does anyone really know what you should say to man that can no longer walk because of your actions intentional or not. We can all say; but are any of us really that brave. How easy is it to approach someone that you have hurt on a lesser scale. I know first had what it's like to hurt some one on the field of play; it fu... with you bad. My hit was clean, just like I was taught when I played pee-wee league football. Hit, wrap, lift, drive; I ended another kids' highschool and potential college career. He intiated our first of many conversations alittle after the season ended; he said to me " I would have been scared to call or see you too. I mean really what do you say. I could see in your eyes when you were standing over me that you didnt me to hurt me. You just came free, You just came free." I was tagged dirty the rest of that season and took cheap shots for every team we played. ( We see things happen and judge; but we never really know what goes on in the minds and hearts of those judged behind closed doors, when no one is looking and the lights go out.

posted by fourthreeforty at 04:32 PM on April 05

I don't know if anyone taught him to go all out in exhibition games. You go out all out all the time (unless you are in half-pad scrimmages), preseason or not. Going half assed is what can get you hurt.

posted by psmealey at 05:09 PM on April 05

Does anyone really know what you should say to man that can no longer walk because of your actions intentional or not. We can all say; but are any of us really that brave. I'd like to think I'd try. This is just one of those situations where you can't fix things back the way they were. Unfortunately, to too many people, that's a reason/excuse not to do anything. I know I couldn't make it perfect, but I'd like to think I'd see my duty to at least try to make it better. Your reaction as a high school kid is understandable. Tatum was/is a grown man, and had plenty of time to work his way around to doing something. I could certainly understand it if he had never done anything publicly, but it sounds like he never did anything at all. I'm sure he felt plenty of remorse over the years, and I'm sure as the years went on, it became harder to do the right thing. But now he's forever lost his chance to do anything, even just look Stingley in the eye and say, "I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt you like that." Stingley's suffering is over, and Tatum just lost his best chance to do something about his own suffering.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:31 PM on April 05

How can we know that Tatum felt no remorse? By his actions on the field, that's how. The hit on Stingley was legal, vicious and unneccesary, but legal. If you don't have it memorized frame by frame as I do, Stingley went up high for a ball and Tatum hit him in the back of his thighs. Stingley spun 180 degrees and landed on his head. It was sickening. Both Tatum and his running buddy Atkinson already had well earned reputations as dirty players who were quite willing to take a penalty to send a message. That did not stop. Tatum's style never changed. When Lawrence Taylor broke Thiesman's leg, you could see it affect his play. For two years after that people got away from LT becaused he played with a caution that had been unknown to him before. He finally got over it, but by then had lost a step and we never saw the raw beast who would do anything to get to the QB again. Tatum had no such qualms. I remember Darryl Stingley and therefore hate the Raiders forever.

posted by gradioc at 05:38 PM on April 05

Tony Kornheiser was just talking about how Tatum tried to rig a public apology when his book came out. He wanted to televize it, and at the same time make it a promtional deal for his book. If this is true, I lean toward the anti-Tatum side of this argument.

posted by hawkguy at 05:41 PM on April 05

Rest in Peace Darryl. Raider Nation your "GLORY DAYS" are long gone,famed for their cheap shots, their loyal fanatic's and their screw everyone especially their fan's Al "THE GREASY ASS" DAVIS, owner the who would want to live their if they have been there Oakland Traders.

posted by thatch at 07:19 PM on April 05

Does anyone else remember the hit Nat Moore took that the NFL kept showing in the mid-80s? Undercut, Moore does nearly a 360 in air. Differences? Moore walks away from the hit. Moore is not hit by bad boy/dirty Jack Tatum. The game glorifies big hits/hitters. As far as I can tell from his style of play and his attitude, I would not want my son to use him as a role model. I probably would not like him if I met him, if what I have heard about him is accurate. In irunfromclones post he cites Madden's "selective memory." You might try reading the quote that supposedly substantiates your position. Which part of that quote says that Tatum calls himself 'The Assassin' again? Please show me, I guess I missed that bit. It shows Tatum as callous and cold, not admirable, but is off your stated point. The post from gradioc really floors me. Theisman was not paralyzed, and was likely nearing the end of his career. That "caution that had been unknown to him before" -- millions of dollars + long term cocaine addiction = laziness, not caution. "raw beast" = coke. LT was a great player, and not the kind of headhunter/dirty player that Tatum was. Setting him up as an example of remorse is, well, a s t r e t c h. Hate the Raiders if you want, but there are a lot better reasons than this. I was kind of hoping that this thread would spend more time honoring a man who died: not obsessing over the other player involved. To Darryl Stingley, If there is an afterlife, may your spirit know peace in it. We are richer for knowing of you in life, and saddened by your leaving us. Best wishes to your family.

posted by ruff at 09:55 PM on April 05

You know weedy your sentiments are a bit odd i think since i was under the impression that you loved hockey (am i wrong?). Not only can you jack people up in hockey, you can take off your gloves and punch them in the mouth, and many fans will defend it as "taking care of your teammates." That sounds pretty unapologetic and done with the intent to harm. I guess you wouldn't say hockey is as popular as football, but i think that being a someone passionate about hockey precludes you somewhat from wishing for the non-violent past. Am i missing something weedy?

posted by brainofdtrain at 11:39 PM on April 05

Going half assed is what can get you hurt. Yeah, you're 100% right, and I knew when I wrote it that wasn't quite what I wanted to say.

posted by yerfatma at 06:04 AM on April 06

Which part of that quote says that Tatum calls himself 'The Assassin' again? He's written three books: They Call Me Assassin in 1980, They Still Call Me Assassin and Final Confessions of NFL Assassin Jack Tatum. He's been calling himself that since his playing days. I call him asshole.

posted by rcade at 11:45 AM on April 06

what rcade said.

posted by irunfromclones at 01:40 PM on April 06

rcade -- Which part of that quote says that Tatum calls himself 'The Assassin' again? All I said was if you want to make your point, pick a quote that actually makes your point. His quote did not make that point. Call him whatever you want. I was once again hoping this string might spend more time on DARRYL STINGLEY. Perhaps you remember him? He's dead...and all you seem to care about is banging on Tatum. Maybe we could take a cue from how often Darryl bitched about it and try some love of your fellow man. Even if he is a prick. LOL

posted by ruff at 05:57 PM on April 06

You are only half right ruff, this thread is about the late Darryl Stingley, but you can't talk about him without talking about the cold hearted bastard that shortened his life. "I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault." -Jack Tatum “They Call Me Assassin.” -Jack Tatum After the incident, Tatum was nicknamed "the Silent Assassin." He warned all other receivers in the league that he would do the same thing to them if they came into his area. Prior to Super Bowl XL, ESPN Andrea Kremer did an interview with Tatum confirming that he still has few regrets about paralyzing Stingley. In January of 1997, this same Jack Tatum petitioned the National Football League Player's Association for a change in his retirement status. He has asked to be placed in the 'catastrophic injury' bracket. His reason for requesting to be placed in this category? He pointed to the mental anguish he has suffered from having to live with the Darryl Stingley incident for the past nineteen years. Did he decide to develop a conscience for 156 grand a year?

posted by irunfromclones at 06:51 PM on April 06

Thank you very much for the clarification. I really don't want to argue or come across like, to use my own words, 'a prick.' I just wanted some of the posts to actually deal with the man and his death. I am fairly new to posting here, and am glad to get a little more insight on Tatum since his field days. I was hoping that he adopted the cold heart to instill fear in his opponents, but it seems, unfortunately, to be who he is. Sad. Thanks again for the info.

posted by ruff at 07:31 PM on April 06

Which part of that quote says that Tatum calls himself 'The Assassin' again? That seems like splitting hairs to me. You questioned whether he called himself The Assassin. I showed that he did. I don't fault Tatum for causing the injury by being a hard hitter, though it does seem like an excessive hit for a preseason game. But his subsequent actions in regard to Stingley, and his celebration of his capacity to cause injury, are pretty tasteless given what happened. What he did after that incident would be like Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini changing his nickname to "Killer" after the fight with Duk Koo Kim.

posted by rcade at 09:32 PM on April 06

Or like 'the Undertaker' continuing to use his moniker after a fatal accident in the ring/redneck dinner theatre. That is an excellent point. You questioned whether he called himself The Assassin. Quote for me where I did. What I said is that the quote from clones does not address that point. Try to avoid putting words in my mouth. http://medlibrary.org/medwiki/Jack_Tatum http://www.thescizone.com/news/articles/221/1/Stingley,-Tatum-might-reunite I do not know the accuracy of claims by Tatum or Stingley about why they did not meet. I wish they would have met, hugged and become fast friends. Unfortunately that did not happen. The point I have been trying to make (apparently unsuccessfully) is that a thread about the death of Darryl Stingley should at least occasionally say something about, um, Darryl Stingley. I do not know very much about his life after August 1978. I admit that. I am not quite as internet-savvy as most on Spo-Fi and was hoping maybe someone who had read Stingley's book could give me more information about him, or point me to something more than a 1-shot column that updates a 25+ year standoff (a lot like the old Chevy Chase line on SNL news -'this just in - generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.' that is as close to the quote as I can remember - you get the idea). At the very least we could have more sympathy for his family and their loss along with whatever our feelings are about that hit and its aftermath. From the little I have been able to glean from articles it seemed that Stingley lived a life to be proud of...and I would like to know a little bit more about that life. I doubt my links will work properly. I am trying to drag myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Progress is evident, but slow. By next year running water, the wheel, fire, the sky is the limit!

posted by ruff at 05:33 AM on April 07

ruff, threads drift -- it's a fact of life, here and in every other internet forum. As for people not commenting more about Stingley, speaking only for myself, I didn't know what to say that wasn't said better by the articles or by Stingley himself. I almost posted the following quote: "It was only after I stopped asking why, that I was able to regroup and go on with my life." ...but I thought: what can I add to that? I've learned that same lesson on a much smaller scale: I've never found that asking "why" has helped me live with misfortune. I don't know, "What he said" seemed pretty trite, I guess.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:28 PM on April 07

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