For the first time in his football career, boos rained down on Tony Dorsett Thursday night.
Dorsett, the young Dallas Cowboy star running back who missed practice and was demoted to second string by Coach Tom Landry a week ago, seemed puzzled by the Texas Stadium fans' hostile reaction during a 21-10 National Football League loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
"I feel disappointed," said Dorsett. "I don't understand our fans."
Dorsett, the NEL's offensive rookie of the year in 1977, gained only 38 yards on 11 carries. He was booed roundly the very first time he carried the ball.
Although the fans booed every time Dorsett lost a yard, the Cowboy sophomore said, "I don't know if they were booing me . . . I didn't feel they were booing me.
"I wasn't really worrying about that. I was worrying about the game . . . people are going to act the way they feel. Fans can be a very important part of the game. They need to go Crazy. It helps pick the team up.
But, Dorsett continued," fans should be with you through thick and thin."
Preston Pearson, who took over the No. 1 halfback role during Dorsett's one-game demotion, said, "It was unfortunate that the crowd booed. I don't think he (Dorsett) would have been booed if the issue had not been made bigger than it was. This was a thing between the player and the team."
Linebacker Thomas Henderson said he was "very disappointed with the crowd. I heard the boos and take it very hard. They cheer us when we've up and boo us when we're down. They're beginning to be like the people in New York and the East Coast cities. Any fans who can't be behind us when we're down can't be behind us at all."
While Dorsett and his teammates were analyzing the Cowboy fans, wide receiver Drew Pearson was analyzing the slumping world champions, who are 6-3 and trail Washington by a half game in the National Conference's Eastern Division.
"We're just not hungry like we were last year," said Pearson, who was so angry at the final gun that he threw his helmet toward the bench.It sailed over the bench and hit a Kansas State band member, who said aloud: "I think he's mad."