This a here story we’re about to unfold about Lawrence Philips is true.
If we set out to make up a Lawrence Phillips story, there is no conceivable way we’d ever come up with this one. Even today it remains one of the most mind boggling things we have ever heard and it will be forever seared into our brains.
Please note: There will be a term used that is not appropriate in this day and age or ever. Sure, we could omit it but this is a story that, even if given a revisionist sugar coating, would be no less shocking.
December 14th, 1996. It was a Saturday. The Huskers were a week removed from being upset by Texas in the inaugural Big 12 Championship game. The plan to appear in a 4th consecutive national championship game and finally cross Florida State off the list was blown off the rails due to a flu stricken Husker squad and John Mackovic’s cajones to call for a back breaking pass on 4th and inches.
This day was also the birthday of contributor Kubrickian Glee and myself. As a pair of struggling students at UNL, it was a day we looked forward to because daVinci’s just didn’t give you a free slice of pizza on your birthday, they hooked you up with a full meal on the house. Lucky for us, their 11th and G location couldn’t be any closer to our respective crap holes at 13th and G and 9th and E.
We met for a late lunch around 4:30. Somewhere behind a blanket of grey clouds the sun was setting. It was a perfect gloomy December day.
Once we showed our IDs to the semi-baffled waitress, we were seated for our complimentary birthday feast.
The only other guest was a little old lady who was preparing to leave. Even through our everyone-over-30-is-old eyes, she had to be at least 80 if not a decade older. Her waitress helped her get into a bright red pea coat and tied her doggy bag around the top rail of her silver walker and said her goodbyes. At the speed she was moving, returning next week for an early bird special was far from a given. Before setting off across the restaurant, she put a lavender knit cap on her head. Decades of practice placed it just so on the first try.
As she clomped past our booth, Kubrickian and I both acknowledged her with the courteous, yet forced smile you give your grandma right before she lays a big fat kiss on your cheek.
That was all the in she needed. She stopped dead in her four pronged tracks and said “I don’t know about you boys but I’m still terribly upset about the game last week.”
“So are we, ma’am. We really thought they were going to win.”
“They would have won if they hadn’t chased that colored running back out of town. He would have been a senior this year. I really think that boy got a raw deal.”
Kubrickian and I both looked at each other. Our jaws were on the precipice of dropping all the way to the table. Was she talking about Lawrence Phillips?
Before we had the chance to ask, she continued.
“I’m still not sure about that white boy who’s playing quarterback now. He just looks so lost out there. The Arizona State game was heartbreaking.”
We nodded in agreement to that one.
“And it’s his fault that colored boy got in all that trouble. He shouldn’t have been catting around with his girlfriend. She was clearly a whore anyway. You know how it was all over the news that he dragged her down the stairs by her hair? Do you know what I would have done?”
Kubrickian and I were speechless by this point.
“I would have dragged her down the stairs by her feet so her head could have bounced on each and every step. That’s what I would have done. You boys have a nice night.”
And with that, she was off into the darkness.
RIP crazy little old lady Husker fan, wherever you may be.
Lawrence Phillips rushed for 206 yards against Michigan State. Then he returned to Lincoln and brutally assaulted his former girlfriend.
Feel free to drop him a note c/o Kern Valley State Prison sometime.