“JIM CAMPBELL was popping Tums into his tummy like they were after-dinner mints.
Here it was the day before the season was to open and his stomach was growling like the thunder outside of his window . . . Poor old Jim. He can get women – but not Rusty Staub – into his locker room.
It was hard to figure out which of the redheads were upsetting him more – the male or female species. The pain in his face told you this isn’t what Abner Doubleday had in mind at all. . . It was a bad day for the man. Not only did he hear Rusty Staub’s name mentioned for the 9,675th time, but he had to go against all his beliefs and sit down with his publicity man, Hal Middlesworth, and draw up a statement saying all qualified sports writers and sportscasters would be allowed into the Tiger clubhouse, regardless of sex.
That means Gail Granik of Channel 4. That means Ann Doyle, Vince’s daughter, of Channel 2. That means Sue McGill, a camerawoman of Channel 7. That means Sarah Coyle of Channel 9.
Why did Campbell, a traditionalist, weaken?
“I am so sick and tired of lawyers that I just don’t care anymore. Let the women go in. Let them all go in. Personally, I am opposed to it,” he added. “I believe our players have a right to their privacy. But this is the only way I can solve the problem . . . open the doors to everybody.”
Ann Doyle was at yesterday’s frigid workout. She said, “I’m not going in on opening day, but I will go in later on. I also think men should be allowed in women’s dressing rooms if that’s where they have to do their jobs. I don’t look at it as any big deal. I don’t look at it in sexual terms at all. I feel like doctors do when they have to perform their duties.”
Ann Doyle has been into the Detroit Express locker room and has interviewed some of the players while they were in the nude. She said it didn’t bother her. None of the players objected.
Sue McGill, who takes pictures for Channel 7 said she would go in, too. “This is our job,” she said. “We’re concerned with taking pictures of their faces and not their lower anatomy.”
. . . The general feeling among the Tiger players is that they are not so much concerned with their nudity, which they figure they can cover up, but they don’t like the idea of having women around when they are letting off stead or trying to relax after a game.
“You just don’t talk or act the same way around women as you do when there are only guys in a room,” said John Hiller. “I know I wouldn’t want my wife or daughter in our dressing room. When women are around, it inhibits everybody. I believe the women reporters have a right to do their work, but I know I am going to feel uncomfortable around them. I won’t get undressed in front of them and I’ll be careful of everything I say.”
Manager Les Moss said he didn’t like the idea at all but would go along because of the front-office decree. “I know I’m not taking my clothes off until they leave,” he said.
John Grodzicki, the 62-year-old pitching coach of the Tigers, was upset at the news. He said, “They’ve got no business coming in here.” At the other end of the spectrum, 22-year-old Dave Rozema said, “It’s all right with me if they come in . . . I’m a free dude and I’ll just walk around naked if I want to.”
Rozema also said he would probably wear a towel if it was convenient and would also watch his language . . . “except when I get mad I say what I think and I’ll keep doing that no matter who is around.”
Ann Doyle said, “I’ve heard all the words and have used them myself.”
Ron LeFlore claimed he didn’t care if the women came in, saying “They have to accept us and our ways just as we have to accept them.”
Mark Fidrych said the whole thing was “stupid.” He said, “We don’t get to see them undressed, do we?”