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Giants' Taylor says he's been a victim of racism


For all Lawrence Taylor has accomplished in the NFL, there are some barriers the All-Pro linebacker has not been able to break down. And, for the first time, he's talking about them.

"For years I believed that because I was successful in the white man's world, I'd never be touched by prejudice. It was a false sense of security," Taylor said in an interview in this week's Sports Illustrated.

"Clubs are always inviting me to play on their golf courses, but I've been denied membership in prominent country clubs here [in New Jersey]," the avid golfer said. "I'm a member at courses all over the country, and I can't get a membership in the area where I live. Is that wild? But, of course, they all want you to play in their tournaments, and when I'm there, the only other black person I see is the cook. Yeah, they love me there, but it's all a facade."

Taylor, 32 has made headlines both on and off the field with his aggressivestyle.

In 1986, Taylor checked into a treatment center for drug rehabilitation. In 1988, he was suspended for the first four games of the season for substance abuse. Under the NFL's rules, a third problem could result in a lifetime suspension, a penalty that can be repealed after one year.

"There has always been a wild and crazy fringe in the NFL," Taylor said. "Ted Hendricks, John Matuszak, guys who got drunk and raised hell. But no matter how drunk and crazy they got, it didn't really mean much in the eyes of the fans because they were white guys.

"But let a Lawrence Taylor get out of line, and, hey, it's a little different. I don't want to get into a black-white issue in the world of pro sports, but it speaks for itself."

* CARDINALS: Stan Gelbaugh, the former Maryland quarterback who was the MVP of the World League of American Football's first season, had a tryout yesterday. The Cardinals are going with two quarterbacks -- Tom Tupa and Craig Kupp -- and have given tryouts to several quarterbacks to prepare a list in case Tupa is injured. Gelbaugh signed during training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs but was cut after four days.

* VIKINGS: Further damage has been discovered when defensive tackle Keith Millard underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee for a cartilage tear. "Damage to the previous anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction was discovered," a brief statement from the Vikings said. "A decision will me made later on a future course of action."

Magnetic Resonance Imaging tests during the weekend had indicated the cartilage tear. Cartilage damage is considered less serious than torn ligaments. Before yesterday's surgery, Millard had said he hoped to be back in the lineup for the game against Detroit Oct. 6.

* PACKERS: Linebacker Tim Harris, who has held out for 58 dayin a contract dispute, was granted permission to discuss possible trades with certain teams.

Harris and agent Ulice Payne met with Packers officials but said no contract agreement was reached. Payne did say, however, that his client might now be willing to accept a two-year instead of a one-year deal and that the situation could be cleared up in 48 hours.

* BENGALS: Offensive tackle Joe Walter says he's sorry he lost )) his temper and used profanity heard on national television after the loss to the Houston Oilers Sunday night.

"I'd like to apologize to the fans and the kids who were watching last night," Walter said during coach Sam Wyche's news conference Monday. "It was a heat-of-the-moment thing. I'm not like that at all."

After a shoving incident as the game ended, Walter found himself face-to-face with a TNT cameraman. The profanity was part of his appeal for the cameraman to stop recording the incident.

Bengals coach Sam Wyche said broadcasters share the blame for the awkward moment.

"For television to broadcast that, they share part of the responsibility of that going across the airwaves," Wyche said.

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