These Are the People in Your Neighborhood

The 1997 St. Louis Rams media guide contains a glowing description of the team’s star rookie from the prior season. The guide highlights his brilliant college career, describes his solid first professional season, and mentions that he grew up in Los Angeles. In a gray box above his football statistics, it notes that he frequently visits the Emergency Children’s Home (ECHO) for troubled youth, where he talks to kids and plays basketball with them. The description would all look pretty normal if it wasn’t a portrait of Lawrence Phillips. Almost every other sporting publication has written of Phillips not as a mentor to underprivileged youth, but as the man who in 1995 savagely beat Kate McEwen, a University of Nebraska basketball player and Phillips’s former girlfriend. The Rams media guide story about Phillips helping children is apparently true. But, unfortunately, so are the stories of his driving recklessly, missing team meetings, and assaulting a woman in Florida in June 1998.