Don Klosterman, general manager of the Los Angeles Rams, gave his version today of why some of his players threatened a media boycott, and offensive tackle Doug France once more became reticent after a few remarks.
Klosterman contended that it was natural that the fans and media have been disenchanted with the Rams, "because to Los Angeles we became a 'lame-duck' team when it was announced we were going to move to Anaheim for the 1980 season. I heard about the boycott report.
"I went to Dennis Harrah and asked him about it and he said he was just talking. I went to Doug France and told him it would not be fair to all the people coming from out of town. He agreed."
France is the player representative for the Rams, in the NFL Players Assocation. He recalled today complaining to the club management about dining arragements in training camp, resulting in blacks mostly sitting among blacks and whites among whites.
"I was not insisting on 'force mixing'", he said.
"My thought was that management should teach it. We have some white player from the Deep South who had hardly ever been with blacks in a social situation, we had blacks from the Deep South with the same experience."
Noting that two head-coaching jobs recently have been filled -- at Cincinnati and Baltimore -- with no reports of blacks being candidates, France said, "They're shoving us behind the scenes, in persnnel, in the front office. There are about 10 or 12 black assistant coaches among hundreds of whites.
"We (blacks) can play for them (white club owners) -- about 50 percent of the players are black -- but we can't coach for them. Willie Davis (former Green Bay defensive end) could coach. What about our receivers' coach, Lionel Taylor? What about the coach at Grambling (Eddie Robinson)?"
France said there were no repercussions from his reluctance to talk at length before an interview Wednesday about the threatened boycott, but he said he was not going to talk further today, "because I am tired," and remarked that, to discourage questions, he was going to take down the sign identifying him in the interview area.
Klosterman was asked about reports that some black palyers were upset at waht they regarded as a disproportionate number of whites receiving offers to do product endorsements and for participation in other profitable, high-profile appearances.
"One guy complained to me," Klosterman said, "but I told him we had nothing to say about who is selected."
When Frances was more expansive Wednesday, he said he would like the Rams to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday's Super Bowl "for Tom Mack (white guard who played for 16 seasons before retiring). He helped me." m