Offensive tackle Doug France of the Los Angeles Rams disclosed today that his team had considered boycotting the media. Teammate Guard Dennis Harrah said the Rams had weighed "freezing" the media from the dressing room in the Super Bowl Sunday should they upset the Pittsburgh Steelers.
France was asked how he felt about the Los Angeles fans booing the Rams and said, "I'm looking forward to playing in Anaheim (in Orange County)."
He said his attitude about boycotting the press was, "Whatever the team does, I'll do. There was talk but no vote. Obviously, we're not doing it," he said.
Harrah said sentiment for a boycott began last week, but there were not enough votes. France said he was persuaded by Jerry Wilcox, the Ram public relations director; Coach Ray Malavasi, and General Manager Don Klosterman to cooperate with the media. "They convinced me it could only help us as a team (communicating)."
"Chuck Knox (former coach) got us to our present level physically; these coaches (Malavasi and staff) got us closer together."
In trying to specify the opposition to the media, France cited what he said was a composite example of the types of stories he meant: "If we lost three games in a row, we were written up as "The once-mighty Rams; if the Cowboys lost three in a row, they were referred to as 'America's Team.'"
France said of Sunday's game, "We're winning for ourselves. We're leaving Los Angeles with something (an answer to the fans' attitude)."
It was remarked by an area reporter that there did not seem to be a lot of hoopla in Los Angeles over the Super Bowl, and France said, "That's right; it's quiet. I think there's a lot of fans doing a good job, but they're small in number."
Malavasi was introduced and said, "Thank you. Welcome to Anaheim (although the team's Super Bowl hotel headquarters actually are in Costa Mesa)."
The coach was asked about his players' attitudes toward the media and he said, "i understand it.There were a lot of things written about us that were not true." He cited reports that his job was in jeopardy "when it wasn't on the line."
He said his mail indicated that many fans were loyal to the Rams but that most Ram rooters are no different than fans in five other NFL areas where he has coached."
They boo in Minnesota, Buffalo, Denver . . . any place you don't win. It's the nature of the game."
The coach was asked what the Rams would be called in 1980 and he answered, "The Los Angeles Rams."
There was no conjecture about what the Raiders would be called if they move to Los Angeles.
As if he resented the prospect of the Raiders competing with the Rams for attention in Los Angeles, he asserted, "They are not going to come here. How do I know? It's my personal opinion. Oakland is a great football town. I coached there two years."
France commented on Willie Wood becoming the only black head coach in pro football (at Toronto in the Canadian Football League), on former wide receiver Paul Warfield joining the Cleveland staff and on quarterback John Walton quitting the Philadelphia Eagles to coach at Elizabeth City State in North Carolina.
"Why doesn't someone hire (retired Ram offensive tackle) Charlie Cowan to coach? He played for 15 years. He taught me."