I almost did not post anything about today in history because nothing really looked very interesting until I saw the entry about a former Purdue football player who went on to play with the New England Patriots. He was paralyzed after a brutal (but legal) hit by Oakland Raider defensive back Jack Tatum in a 1978 NFL exhibition game. This incident brought about many improvements in player safety: the anti-spearing rule and the stickum ban. In his book, They Call Me Assassin, Tatum stated his best hits “border on felonious assault”. Tatum was also involved in the famous Immaculate Reception play from the 1972 AFC divisional playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders.
In 1983, Stingley authored Happy to Be Alive, a memoir of his life and injury.
Darryl died on April 5, 2007, as a result of complications from his injury. Stingley and Tatum never reconciled.
Although Darryl forgave Jack, he says that Jack never contacted him nor apologized.
I find that so, so very sad. I hope the reason is that he feels so terrible that he can't face Darryl and be confronted with what happened. In reality, football is a dangerous game and whether or not Jack was hitting harder than he should have been, I'm sure he did not intend to do the damage that was done. I hope that if Jack has not forgiven himself he can one day do so.