You might’ve seen headlines yesterday that had NFL coaching legend John Madden taking umbrage at Will Ferrell’s recent spring training stunt for charity (” a lack of respect for the game and a [lack of] respect for what players have to do to get where they are”). What you might’ve missed, however, was the following portion in which Madden compares Ferrell’s act to Rick Barry masquerading as a football player. From KCBS.com :
“I’m in training camp in Santa Rosa,” Madden said. “Rick Barry comes walking by and he was playing for the Warriors at that time. He was a friend of [then Oakland owner] Al Davis’ and he said he was going to go in and suit up and go out on the field and practice, to fool Al. I swear this is true.
“Jack Tatum and George Atkinson walked by and I said, look, if this guy comes out on the field, he’s live bait, and I want you to go after him the way you would go after any other player that plays on another team. I said, go ahead and dress, but we’re going to treat you like a football player and not like an NBA player.”
Fortunately for Barry, he did not suit up and was not pulverized by Raiders players. And fortunately for Ferrell, Madden is not a coach in the majors, and his stunt went off without any beanball hitches.