IRVING, TEX., OCT. 12 -- Tony Dorsett is not going to talk any more, he explained at length today.
The Dallas Cowboys' loquacious all-pro running back has been booed and vilified since he grudgingly crossed the NFL picket line last week, and he said today he intends to endure it in silence in the future to avoid any more controversies.
Dallas fans booed Dorsett Sunday when he appeared in the backfield and scored a 10-yard touchdown in a 41-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. It was Dorsett's first game since he returned to work to avoid losing an annuity, and he had infuriated fans by saying he would "beg" not to play.
"You say things and mean it one way, and people take it another," Dorsett said. "I've done it for the last time."
Dorsett said he expected the reaction from the crowd, and was not bothered by it. He had left the locker room without comment Sunday.
"I don't have to live with fans, and I don't have to work with them," Dorsett said today. "That doesn't concern me, how they react. In my opinion, it's pretty trite."
Dorsett claimed his pro-union remarks were taken out of context by some, and he said he was upset that they were interpreted to mean that he would not do his part on the field. He said that while he did not want to play on a replacement team, he knew it was inevitable once he crossed the picket line.
"All I said was how I didn't want to play under these circumstances," he said. "I think people can understand that. But it comes out in big bold print that I'm begging not to play. I took that as a negative.
"It took something away from me as a football player. I don't care what they think of me as a person. I've said a lot of controversial things, but I'm a football player, that's what I do. And it came out as if I was going to take a dive or something."
Dorsett ackowledged that he had been one of the most vocal striking players before coming back to camp. First he called teammate Randy White "Captain Scab" when the defensive lineman crossed the picket line two weeks ago. Then he crossed the same line a week later because he could have lost up to half of his $6.4 million annuity if he had remained on strike.
Controversy erupted when he said last week that he would never be comfortable playing with "scabs." He added, "If they want me to beg, I'll go out on the 50-yard line at Texas Stadium and beg them not to play me. I'll do it on national television."
Instead, Dorsett stood quietly on the sidelines Sunday, playing just the one series. He said he was not upset by Landry's decision to play him, but was by assumptions that he would not act in a professional way. Landry said that while he sympathizes with Dorsett's position, he needed to use him so he won't get out of shape through inactivity.
"If you have players come in, you have to use them," Landry said. "It's not fair, but it's not a fair situation."
Dorsett claimed one reason for the sentiment against him is that he is a vocal union man in an antiunion town. Cowboys fans have taken to their replacement team, which has won two games in a row, and Sunday's crowd of 40,622 was the second-largest since the strike began.
"Dallas is Dallas, there's no place like it," he said. "It's in a right-to-work state. None of the other franchises had 40,000 fans come out. People in Dallas are different from any in America. I've never quite understood them."
Quarterback Danny White also crossed the picket line to protect an annuity, and he too was booed in a brief appearance, but not with the same verve. White often has been booed for his on-the-field performance, but he called the reaction to Dorsett "hideous."
Dorsett said he remains a staunch union supporter, even if he is back with the team. He reasserted that his decision to return was strictly financial.
"The $6 million annuity, that's my security," he said. "That's for 20 years down the road, it's for my children and grandchildren. I can't put that on the line. But I strongly believe in the union. If I didn't believe in it, I wouldn't have put myself out on that limb, talking all that noise."
When the strike ends, Dorsett not only will have to deal with those he criticized for crossing the picket line -- he and Randy White remain distant -- but also will have to deal with those who did not.
"There are going to be problems, no doubt," he said. "There's going to be some envy. But it will heal."