Almost one month ago, there appeared in the Florida Times-Union a story I've yet to hear or see commented upon locally: Bob Hayes, holder of more than 20 Dallas Cowboys records (including 71 career TDs and 20 yards per reception), is buried in an unmarked grave in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. Five years after his death on September 18, 2002, Hayes lies in Edgewood Cemetery without "any marker of any sort," save for the occasional temporary one. The paper reports that his family plans on moving his casket into a mausoleum, which has done nothing to alleviate the shame and guilt felt by some city officials who've named plenty of other structures and streets for Jacksonville's most famous athlete.
I only saw the story this morning because today there appears in the Arizona Republic a column from Norm Frauenheim, who believes this nothing less than shameful -- and something Jerry Jones could and should easily fix for a Dallas Cowboy who resides in the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium:
It's hard to believe that the Cowboys, or the NFL, or the United States Olympic Committee or USA Track & Field hasn't provided a headstone. How about the NFL Players Association? The union is under attack these days for not doing enough for retired veterans. A Hayes headstone would be a small but powerful answer to Mike Ditka's complaints.
Really, go back and read that Florida Times-Union headline: "Famed 'Bullet' Bob Hayes rests in grassy anonymity." Then again, it only took 70 years to get one for Blind Lemon Jefferson. --Robert Wilonsky
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