The indictment of Eugene Lockhart on a $20 million fraud scheme is a shocker because the former Dallas Cowboys linebacker seemed to be such a stand-up guy. He played during the dismal Danny White decade and retired in 1990 just before the team returned to its Super Bowl glory years.

But I remember fondly “Mean Gene the Hitting Machine” because he was something of an over achiever: not much pedigree, but a vicious tackler on the playing field and a well-spoken guy off it.

Years later he did that stunt where he camped out in Texas Stadium to raise money for a charity and he kept talking about how God was telling him to do this and that, which usually makes my red flags go up.  But for some reason I feel loyalty to athletes who poured blood, sweat and tears on the Astroturf  for our entertainment.


I guess even the Romans liked their gladiators.

Lockhart told The Dallas Morning News that he is “totally innocent” of the charges, saying, “I wouldn’t know how to do a mortgage fraud like that because I don’t know that much about the business.”

The U.S. attorney’s office is pursuing the charges, and I suppose a judge or jury will decide whether Lockhart was dupe or crook.

Until then I’ll reserve judgment. After all, there’s a perception among some folks that Dallas has always been over-eager to crack the whip on its African-American sports stars. Ask Michael Irvin, Eric Williams, or Roy Tarpley.


  1. Lay off Captain Cockeyed. He played 3 straight NFC title games, so the decade was not all that dismal. In this media driven society, figures falling from grace are common. Leave the judgements to the bench judge and reserve condemming this man until he has his day in court.

  2. White reminded me of Don Meredith in some ways — a good guy, talented quarterback, and good leader who seemed cursed in the big games. But Meredith had charisma that made him larger than life. White had no charisma, which is why Landry kept yanking him for the likes of Gary Hogaboom and Steve Pelleur.

    “No, Danny, No!” — remember that sideline admonishment from Landry?

    Having said all that, I will say that White was the only pro quarterback I’ve ever known that also served as the team’s punter, so he was obviously a good athlete.