Reggie Jackson’s version of what happened at Major Goolsby’s pub Saturday night was heard Sunday, not from the mouth of Jackson but from a designated speaker.
Jackson has hired a Milwaukee attorney, Gerald Boyle, to represent him following the incident, in which Donald Weimer of Racine, Wis., claims he was assaulted by Jackson after requesting his autograph. Weimer chipped a tooth in the scuffle and was briefly hospitalized for treatment of facial cuts.
Boyle has instructed Jackson not to comment on the matter, and in a hastily arranged press conference at the County Stadium press box, Boyle gave what he said was Jackson’s account of the altercation.
“Mr. Jackson is distressed that the man was injured, but he does not take responsibility for it,” Boyle said. “He and others were sitting in the restaurant, enjoying the afternoon, minding their own business and watching the Kentucky Derby. Several persons approached Mr. Jackson to ask for his autograph, and he complied with most of them.
“He chose to say no to one, and that person went and got an autograph from another source. He then returned to Mr. Jackson’s table, ripped it up and threw it in his food.
“That upset Mr. Jackson, who grabbed him by the shirt and told him to pick it up. He refused, and Mr. Jackson let him go. He fell, not through any hitting or pushing by Mr. Jackson, and hit his head on a table cutting his chin.
“Mr. Jackson emphatically said he had nothing to do with causing the injury to that person.”
Eyewitnesses say the altercation was more intense. A witness, Largent Parks of Santa Barbara, told police that Jackson had Weimer in a chokehold and slammed his head on a table top.
In the battery complaint he filed with the Milwaukee Police Dept., Weimer claimed that Jackson attacked him from behind, threw him on a table and then on the floor.
Weimer has indicated he wants to press charges, and a hearing with the district attorney is scheduled for today. Boyle will represent Jackson at the hearing, allowing Jackson to accompany the Angels to Boston, where they begin a two-game series this evening.
At the hearing, the district attorney will review testimony and determine whether or not Jackson will be formally charged with misdemeanor battery. If he is, Jackson must appear in court the next time the Angels play in Milwaukee which will be in July.
Before Sunday’s game, when Jackson was approached by reporters, he explained his gag-rule thusly: “It’s such a public situation with me that, for obvious reasons, I have no further comment. Because it’s me, the media want to whip it and make a big deal out of it. There’s no human sensitivity here.
“Already, there are TV cameras out there (on the field)--'There’s Reggie before the game, there’s Reggie in the dugout.’ I’m too big a deal.”
To Angel Manager Gene Mauch, Saturday’s incident was a big enough deal to prompt a team meeting concerning off-the-field behavior for players.
“The gist of the meeting was how different it is to be ‘somebody,’ ” Mauch said. “It’s no problem at all being nobody. It’s difficult to be somebody.
“I told them the best way to avoid a thing like that from happening is to concern yourself with the daily concentration on winning. Do that, and opportunities like the one that arose last night will be minimized.”
Mauch said he didn’t single out Jackson during the meeting.
“I told Reggie Jackson, ‘This is not directed at you,’ ” Mauch said. “But if people are breaking you down once in a while, trying to make themselves a somebody, then it ought to be discussed.
“I wouldn’t want to be Reggie Jackson,” Mauch continued. “I couldn’t handle it. At times, he has trouble with it. I wouldn’t want to be confronted with it the way he is day-to-day.
“Reggie is hardened to a lot of it. But nobody is immune.”