February 02, 2009
At a news conference honoring the newest inductees of the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, a woman named Lucille Hester spoke on behalf of her late brother Bob Hayes. The former Dallas Cowboys receiver (and world's fastest man) was voted into the Hall on Saturday after a three-decade wait. Hester read a thank-you letter to the assembled media that she said was written by her brother in 1999, three years before his passing.
But now there is question as to whether Hester is actually Hayes' sister or whether she's an impostor trying to capitalize on the deceased receiver's fame. A fascinating column on DallasBasketball.com suggests that Hayes' siblings and ex-wife have long denied Hayes' relation to Hester and claim she's "inventing stories" to anyone who will listen. The poignant letter that Hayes allegedly wrote in 1999 is also said to be a fake.
Read the column for the full details. Not knowing anything about the situation beyond what I read in Mike Fisher's piece, I won't take sides until Hester has a chance to explain herself. However, I can agree that the signature on the letter does not at all resemble the signature that appears on Hayes memorabilia.
And, even more damning (and something that wasn't mentioned by Fisher) is that Roger Staubach's name is misspelled in the aforementioned letter that Hester displayed to the media. (Click here to enlarge.) Check out the second paragraph. Staubach is spelled "Stauback". It's tough to imagine that Bob Hayes didn't know how to spell the name of the man who threw him passes for five seasons and one that he chose to thank personally in a letter.
It's too early to make a judgment about this story, but it certainly is interesting. The Hall of Fame ceremony is Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio. If the claims of the Hayes family are legit, expect to hear plenty more about this before then.
Update: The mainstream media gets in on the story this morning, with The Dallas Morning News reporting similar stories about the Hayes' families concerns about Lucille Hester.
Update x2: Through her lawyer, Hester has released a (very) carefully-worded statement defending herself. What isn't written (how her and Hayes are related, whether the note was real, etc.) speaks louder than what is written.
Photo: Getty Images
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