Alvin Garrett says he would like to forget about Howard Cosell's description of him as "that little monkey." Cosell would, too. But Garrett says his teammates, his neighbors and fans around the country won't let him forget.
"I walk out of my house and my neighbors see me and all I get is 'Hey, how's the little monkey,' " Garrett said yesterday. "Out at the (Redskin) Park, I'm really getting it, which I expected from the players. Bananas are the big prank. Almost every day since it happened, there's bananas. I come back to put my pants on and there's a banana in my pocket. One day, somebody taped five or six bananas up in my locker. They're putting 'em everywhere. I don't know who. I knew I'd catch a lot of stuff, but this is ridiculous.
"Every time you try to forget, you get a banana in your face."
During the Sept. 5 ABC telecast of the Redskins' Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys, Cosell referred to Garrett as "that little monkey." The Rev. Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, called on Cosell to apologize for the remark, interpreted by some people as a racial slur.
Cosell initially denied making the remark; then later said no slur was intended, that he used the term affectionately. The next night, Cosell did apologize by telephone to Lowery. But Garrett says that is not enough.
"What will clean up all of this would be for Howard Cosell, on our (the Redskins) next Monday night game (against Green Bay on Oct. 17) to just apologize to me in front of all those people," Garrett said yesterday. "I'd like him to say it to me in person, on camera. That would end it for both of us.
"I don't think it was racial at all," Garrett said, "but I think the only way it's going to stop is for him to say it on the air. That'll do it. I'm getting tired of some of this stuff."
He is also getting lots of mail. "People are writing saying that it was a racial slur, that they're disappointed in Howard Cosell for saying it and that he owes me an apology," Garrett said. "But like I said, I don't think it was. It was just something that slipped. I don't think he meant anything by it. Howard has always talked good about me, even when I was with the Giants."
Garrett, who has caught 11 passes for 105 yards in the Redskins' first two games, also said yesterday he had a message the day after the Dallas game that Cosell had called him. "I didn't call him back," he said. "Bobby Beathard left a message for me and told me to come up to his office. When I went up, Bobby wasn't there, so I left. I'm not going to call him (Cosell). I want to concentrate on playing ball.
"I just want it to end. No more bananas."
Cosell could not be reached for comment.