In a preseason game in August of 1978, New England Patriots WR Darryl Stingley was paralyzed from the neck down when Oakland Raiders safety Jack Tatum popped him across the middle of the field. Stingley, who died in 2007, would spend the rest of this life in a wheelchair.
Steve Grogan is the Patriots QB who threw the pass. And in a radio interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Grogan can’t find anything positive to say about Tatum, despite the fact that he died this week of a heart attack.
“There’s not too many people that I can’t find something nice to say about when this kind of situation arises,” Grogan said. “But unfortunately Jack Tatum is one guy that I just can’t find anything nice to say about. Just the way he handles the whole situation – it bothers me that I feel that way, but to never apologize to Darryl, to try to make money off the whole situation, never showing any regret or remorse. This is a man that wasn’t a good person.”
It is a little bizarre that Tatum could never say he was sorry to Stingley. No, he didn’t paralyze him on purpose. It’s football and these things can happen. But….really? To never even say, “Dude, my bad for that time when I put you in a wheelchair for the rest of your life”? That’s odd.
“I know Darryl was a great guy and I’m sure if Tatum had extended a hand to him and reached across the aisle and tried to at least apologize, Darryl probably would have accepted that,” Grogan said. “But that never happened, and as far as I know, Darryl resented the fact that Tatum never talked to him.”
This clip has the hit in it. It doesn’t look fun.
“Our experience with him is that he was just not a nice person, and did something to one of our players that could have been avoided, and never showed any remorse for it,” Grogan said. “And it’s hard to forgive that.”