New Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley Tells Black Players to ‘Act Like White Guys’

Charles HaleyBernie Kosar Getty

One of the newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Charles Haley, advised young black players to “act like white guys” and stay out of trouble.

“As far as the rookies, and I know they probably got mad, but I said, ‘Why don’t you all act like the white guys? You never see them in the paper getting high or hitting people. Why don’t you act like that?’ They all looked at me crazy,” he said of a recent talk with San Francisco 49ers rookies.

“I just did it for the shock value of it,” Haley said of his advice to the neophyte pros. “The hardest thing is these guys, they have an attention span of a 5-year-old. I’m not the most gentle and kind person to sit there and deal with that crap. I’m a little more confrontational. I think I got my point across.”

Several San Francisco 49ers veterans appearing in the police blotter in recent years probably wish Haley could have dispensed his wisdom, at least the part about staying out of trouble, long ago.

In 2013, police charged 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith with three felony weapons charges after a call regarding a party at his Santa Clara home. By July of 2014, the felony charges were reduced to misdemeanors but two DUI charges had been added to his woes. Smith was sentenced to 11 days in a work program, three-years probation, and fined $3,000.

Ex-49er Ray McDonald just pleaded not guilty to a series of domestic abuse and child endangerment charges stemming from an incident in May in which authorities claim he broke down the door of an apartment he rented for his ex-fiancé and assaulted her and endangered their two-month-old son.

Finally, breaking Charles Haley’s maxim that the white guys don’t get involved in stupid incidents, 49ers fullback Bruce Miller also finds himself embroiled in a domestic abuse case after police arrested him for shoving his ex-fiancée and destroying her cell phone. Miller pleaded no contest to the charges early in June despite his claim that he didn’t attack the woman.

Haley himself noted that his own behavior prior to his bi-polar diagnosis struck folks within the 49ers organization as so bizarre that it got him traded from San Francisco to Dallas. And things only got worse after his retirement in 1999 until he received a diagnosis and proper medications.

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