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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 6, 1972)
I OwRS 3S3 1172
Wednesday, december 6, 1 972
lincoln, nebraska vol. 96, no. 52
Rodgers conquers arrest record, bad publicity
by Jim Johnston
Eight months ago, Johnny Rodgers wouldn't have
given a thin ham sandwich for his chances of winning
the Heisman Trophy.
It was Friday, April 28, 1972, six days after
Rodgers 'and a friend were arrested for suspicion of
possessing marijuana. Although no charges were filed
against Rodgers, the publicity hurt. And Johnny
Rodgers knew it.
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It' was the second strike against him. He had
pleaded guilty a year earlier to larceny from a person
in connection with a gas station robbery.
Rr rs sat at a table in the kitchen of his
off-campus apartment that Friday afternoon, writing
a statement on notebook paper which he wanted
distributed to the wire services and the Lincoln and
Omaha newspapers. It was to be his first public
statement since the arrest.
"I want people to understand me," Rodgers
explained while writing the statement. "Man, people
must think Johnny Rodgers is really a bad person. All
they hear about me in the spring are the bad things.
And they're always on page one."
Rodgers' off-the-field problems had received
mention in every major newspaper across the nation.
It's the type of story which would find its way into
the wastepaper basket at most newspapers if Johnny
Rodgers was just an average football player.
But Johnny Rodgers was not just an average
football player. He was one of the leading candidates
for the Heisman Trophy the next fall. And that's one
reason Rodgers was concerned about the publicity he
"I've always thought about winning the Heisman
Trophy," Rodgers said'butitdoesn't look very good
now. Somebody is out to get me. I don't know why,
but somebody is trying to hold me back. Maybe I
should just forget about trying to get ahead in the
world and winning the Heisman Trophy."
But Rodgers didn't forget his goals. He was too
competitive to be a quitter.
When the 1972 college football season opened,
Johnny Rodgers was a different person. He was more
serious. He wasn't always the happy-go-lucky guy of
his sophomore and junior seasons. "I've matured," he
Rodgers started a one-man campaign to erase his
bad guy image. He visited patients in hospitals and
made at least one trip a week to a Nebraska grade
"I did it because I wanted to do it," Rodgers said.
"It wasn't to get publicity. I wanted to meet people
and let them judge me for themselves. I didn't call the
papers and tell them to take pictures. They came on
Rodgers talked little about winning the Heisman
Turn to page 12
Glover third in Heisman balloting
Rodgers ... talks with Des Moines Register
sportswriter Maury White.
Nebraska flanker Johnny Rodgers received 1,310
points from electors Tuesday to win the 1972
Heisman Trophy. Oklahoma halfback Greg Pruitt was
second with 966, followed by Nebraska middle guard
Rich Glover with 652 points.
The announcement was made by Neill A.
McAllister, president of the Downtown Athletic Club
of New York, which sponsored the 38th annual
award. Rodgers is the first Nebraska player ever to
win the Heisman Trophy.
Louisiana State quarterback Bert Jones finished
fourth with 351 points, Alabama quarterback Terry
Davis was next with 338 points and quarterback John
Hufnagel of Penn State was sixth with 292 points.
Rodgers was the top vote getter in all sections of
Other high finishers in the election of a successor
to Auburn quarterback Pat Sullivan as the recipient
of the Heisman Trophy were George Amundson of
Iowa State in seventh with 219 points; Otis
Armstrong, Purdue, 208; Don Strock, Virginia Tech,
144; Gary Huff, Florida State, 138; John Hannah,
Alabama, 75; Tony Adams, Utah State, 73; Brad Van
Pelt, Michigan State, 71 and Howard Stevens,
Rodgers, who is in New York with the Kodak
All-American team to film a special television show
with Bob Hope, was at Glover's house in Jersey City,
N.J., when the announcement was made Tuesday
noon. The two appeared at the banquet later in the
Rodgers Will attend a banquet in New York City
Dec. 14 to accept the trophy.
by Steve Arvanette
At a news conference in the Nebraska Union
Tuesday, widely known defense lawyer of the "New
Left" William Kunstler was asked by the mother of
David Rice to intervene on Rice's behalf. Rice has
been convicted of murdering an Omaha policeman.
After urging her to write his New York City office
with details of the case, Kunstler moved on to the
Union Ballroom to speak to a crowd of nearly 700.
"I want to talk out against the courts and what
they do to society," Kunstler said at the outset. He
said the operation of the courts and how it affects
people is his area of expertise.
"The courts are tho one branch of government
people are afraid to criticize," he said, possibly
because people consider them the "backbone" of
Kunstler's appearance on the University campus
included a 30-minute taping for a Nebraska
Educational Television program and several classroom
appearances before his address and question and
answer session in the Union.
He had been scheduled to appear on the UNL
campus last spring for the World in Revolution
Conference. However, a court case prevented that
Kunstler, who has defended "Chicago Eight," Dr.
Benjamin Spock and Daniel and Philip Berrigan
currently is concentrating his efforts on the murder
trial of H. Rap Brown.
Brown is charged under a 24-count indictment for
murdering a police officer.
"They have a case against Rap, but they are
screwing it up," Kunstler said. Brown, he said, is
convinced he will be aquitted.
For the last 15 yaars Kunstler said he didn't know
uf his clients were guilty or innocent of the crimes
they were charged with. "I don't ask them," he adds.
"And if a lawyer asked me, I'd fire him."
Commenting on the "Chicago Eight" case,
Kunstler said he doubts if the government will
attempt to retry the defendants after their
convictions were over-turned three weeks ago. Judge
Julius Hoffman who tried the case is being pictured as
the vidian by many, he said.
"He's not the real villian-the government set the
state to use Judge Hoffman's vanity to assure
convictions," he said. The prosecuters were the ones
that were "pushing and goading" the judge, he said.
Much of Kunstler's address concerned crimes of
conspiracy which he termed a "crime of fantasy."
Such crimes need two elements-an informer and one
overt act which could be fully legal.
Many of his recent cases have been what Kunstler
says are political trails instigated primarily by the
government. The purpose of such trials, he said, is not
"to punish or deter crime."
The purpose pf political trials, Kunstler said, is to
"get rid" of . the offender and his followers and
"crystalize ''the ' silent majority behind the
One of the most classic political trials was that of
Jesus Christ, he said. "Christ was saying some pretty
frightening things to society," Kunstler said, adding
the same thing would happen today as did nearly
2,000 years ago.
The most recent conspiracy trial which Kunstler is
involved in concerns a group of Vietnam Veterans
Turn to page 9
Kunstler ... "I want to talk out against the courts.'
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