City Desk

Michael Vaughn, Who Never Really Was a Dallas Cowboys Player, Issues Official Response to Cheap Seats Column

1280949464_m_cheapseatsMothers, don't let your babies grow up to bogusly claim they were Cowboys.

I got a call yesterday from Michael Vaughn, the Maryland delegate from Prince George's County whose official campaign bio boasted that he "played professional football for the Dallas Cowboys for 3 years” when he actually hadn't played even a single play for the Cowboys or any other NFL team.

He was mad about a story I wrote about the bogusness of his bio. He said I "didn’t dig deep enough" into his Cowboys career. He repeated claims that he was "signed by the Cowboys in May [of 1980]," and said he was "with the team through August." He sent me a .pdf of a clip from The Advocate, a Baton Rouge, La., newspaper dated May 11, 1980 that goes over where some football players from Southern University, Vaughn's alma mater, were trying to land on their cleats.

From that article:

"Since the close of the draft, wide receiver Michael Vaughn and defensive back Jeff Allen have been given playing chances by the Dallas Cowboys," the story says.

Vaughn was not picked by any team in the 1980 NFL draft. There is no other mention of Vaughn in that 1980 Advocate story.

To undo the political harm caused by my article, Vaughn said, he and his communications staff drafted a statement yesterday afternoon.

The opening of Vaughn's statement:

This week, The Washington City Paper posted on their website unresearched and inaccurate information about my biography in an attempt to create the appearance of dishonesty on my part. Unfortunately, I was unaware of an error on my campaign website, created by an outside marketing firm. Upon learning of the error, I immediately corrected the mistake.

There are some problems with Vaughn's statement. For starters, that part about "Upon learning of the error, I immediately corrected the mistake" couldn't be more phony. I talked to Vaughn on Friday, July 30, about the bogus Cowboys claims and my inability to verify his bio; he said at that time that the football career misinformation had been put on the site without his knowledge by a "Web master," but then left the incorrect information that we had discussed on his campaign site for another six days. No changes were made until the following Thursday, when my story came out.

But while I'm no James Carville, the biggest hurdle Vaughn will face in his political damage control campaign, far as I can tell, is that he didn’t really play for the Dallas Cowboys for "3 years." Again, he didn't really play for the Dallas Cowboys for a single play.

Ask the Cowboys: "We have no record of him playing for the Dallas Cowboys," team spokesperson Jancy Briles told me. Briles looked through NFL databases and couldn't find a single reference to Vaughn as a player, either. Guess Briles didn't dig deep enough.

Or ask the sports information department at Southern University, which compiled a "composite list" of more than 80 former players who went on to play pro ball, from the NFL to the CFL all the way down to the Arena Football League. Michael Vaughn isn't on that list. Guess his alma mater didn't dig deep enough.

Or maybe no Cowboys games were played between May and August 1980, let alone "3 years" worth.

Speaking of not digging deep enough, I asked Vaughn again yesterday how the bogus information about his Cowboys career made it onto his campaign bio.

“I am currently exploring to find out how that got there," he said.

Good luck on the exploration, Magellan. Get back to me when you hit land.

Vaughn's full statement after the jump.

STATEMENT FROM DELEGATE MICHAEL L. VAUGHN

August 9, 2010

This week, The Washington City Paper posted on their website unresearched and inaccurate information about my biography in an attempt to create the appearance of dishonesty on my part. Unfortunately, I was unaware of an error on my campaign website, created by an outside marketing firm. Upon learning of the error, I immediately corrected the mistake.

However, The Washington City Paper did not take a mistake at face value and chose to infer political opportunism on my part.

Here are the facts:

·         Following my college career at Southern University, I was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent wide receiver in 1980. This information can be verified by news reports at the time, including one in The Baton Rouge Advocate reported on May 11, 1980.

·         I am a member of the NFL Alumni Association, as a professional member, a designation exclusive to former paid professionals. I am a member of this organization because I was a paid player.

This incident demonstrates the growing problem that we have in the 24/7 media culture, where publications do not do their homework and try to make inferences based on half of the story. Citizens deserve more from media coverage.

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  • Gene

    Vaughn is a complete tool. A perfect fit for DC politics.

  • J

    what a terrible liar - Im surprised no one called him out sooner on this

  • greg

    "I'm in the Alumni Association therefore I played professional football." Wouldn't a real football player want to beat up the losers who glom on to these organizations?

  • Vaughn

    Interestingly enough, this quack even has similar comments on his print literature that he is distributing throughout the neighborhoods. It states (paraphrasing here 'cause the one that landed at my door went straight into the garbage after I read it), "...played professional football for 3 years for Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints".

    Now I know he blamed his webmaster for the bio “mix-up” online…..does this mean his webmaster handled the print material as well??? Hmmmm.....McKenna you should ask him about that. Doesn't he look over his political material that is being distributed??

    I mean seriously here folks...Dallas in ‘Skins country? Yeah that should help.....what a schmuck.

  • Tim T

    Wow I'm in the Alumni Association too now it only cost 150 bucks. I can hardly wait till my card gets here so I too can run for a political office!!!!

  • dilbonius

    How come nobody ever claims they played for the Lions?

  • fredskin

    wow dave- you should win a Pulitzer for this....

  • http://michaelbelba.com mike

    Gee, another lying liberal hack, big surprise...when will Maryland learn....???

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  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    good job, dave. the truth and accuracy are important, whether this guy wants to acknowledge that or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DallasCowboyBooksBlog Fred Goodwin

    It's possible Vaughn had a pre-season tryout with the Cowboys and didn't make the team. I didn't realize such experience qualifies one for membership in the NFL Alumni Association. The real question is: with three years of NFL experience was he ever a member of the NFL Players Association (the players union)?

    Suppose Vaughn had answered a casting call for a Broadway musical and didn't make the cast, could he legitimately claim to be an "ex cast member"? I certainly wouldn't; I think his claims re: the pre-season Cowboys, even if true, don't qualify him to claim the status of "ex-player".

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