Former 49ers sack master Charles Haley was known to cross the line once in a while — and not only when he jumped off-sides, either. So it came as no surprise that the 51-year-old Haley couldn’t get through a Hall of Fame conference call on Thursday without some kind of controversy.
Haley recounted his rather strange if not racist message last May, when he was invited to speak to the 49ers’ rookie players.
“As far as the rookies, and I know they probably got mad, but I said, ‘Why don’t you all act like the white guys? You never see them in the paper getting high or hitting people. Why don’t you act like that?’” said Haley, who is scheduled to be inducted in Canton, Ohio, next month. “They all looked at me crazy.”
According to Haley, his words were meant to get the attention of the players. Either that or a bad attempt at humor.
“I just did it for the shock value of it,” Haley tried to explain. “The hardest thing is, these guys, they have an attention span of a 5-year-old. I’m not the most gentle and kind person to sit there and deal with that crap. I’m a little more confrontational. I think I got my point across.”
Haley also had this to say about Aldon Smith, the 49ers’ troubled defensive lineman: “Aldon, man, is a very, very, very talented young man. He has a variety of skills sets. He’s very instinctive. He’s just got to stay on the field.”
DOUBLE FEATURE: Warriors co-owner Peter Guber is a producer among other interests, and his films have grossed more than $3 billion and received dozens of Academy Award nominations. But he hasn’t seen many better movies than “Strength In Numbers,” his team’s NBA championship film that made its premiere in Oakland on Thursday night.
“I didn’t write it, I didn’t produce it, I had nothing to do with it — and I loved it,” Guber told Balls. “No pressure. It was great. I’d give it six stars.
“It was an authentic team. The common fan could relate to it. That’s what made it so popular.”
So what about the sequel?
“We’ll call it ‘Time and Again,’” he said.
HOPELESS CAUSE: Coach Steve Kerr had no intention to set Warriors critic Charles Barkley straight once and for all. The two were in Lake Tahoe for a celebrity golf tournament recently, although a bum back held Kerr out of action.
“Everyone has opinions,” Kerr said. “When I was in the media, I was asked for mine all the time. That kind of thing doesn’t bother me.”
In wake of Becky Hammon’s recent success in the Last Vegas Summer League, Kerr also said it was a matter of time before the NBA had a female head coach.
“I’ve heard great things about her,” said Kerr, who didn’t know Hammon personally. “Pop (San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) raves about her, and that’s enough for me.”
CARR ON THE MOVE: It seems that a lot of football people like the Raiders’ Derek Carr, although some contend they may like the quarterback a bit too much.
In an ESPN poll of “league insiders,” Carr ranked 20th out of the 32 starters at the position. He was only two spots behind the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, who dropped from 14th the previous year.
The panel included eight personnel directors, six general managers, five offensive coordinators, five defensive coordinators, four head coaches, three salary cap managers, two ex-head coaches, one ex-GM and one offensive assistant coach but not ESPN numbers geek Nate Silver, thankfully.
“(Carr) can spin it, he has good accuracy, he makes quick decisions,” one defensive coordinator said. “The people that like him but do not rank him higher, well, he has an awful supporting cast. No run game, awful receivers. They drafted some guys. They have a shot.”
BUT NO. 1 IN YOUR HEARTS: The Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III ranks 28th overall, the ESPN survey says, so you can call him RGXXVIII if you prefer.
DRESS LIKE A BUM: While the A’s will take their search for an identity to AT&T Park this weekend, the Giants will have no such problems.
The jerseys of Madison Bumgarner (No. 1), Buster Posey (No. 3) and Hunter Pence (No. 6) were among the half dozen best sellers in the first half of the season, MLB reported.
The remainder of the top 10: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs, second; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers, fourth; Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals, fifth; Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels, seventh; Matt Harvey, New York Mets, eighth; David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox, ninth; and Anthony Rizzo, Cubs, 10th.
By the way, no New York Yankee cracked the top 20 for the first time since 2010, when the date became available. Ain’t that a shame?
THE LIST: According to unofficial Balls research, the 10 most popular A’s jerseys this season:
1. Rickey Henderson
2. Jim (Catfish) Hunter
3. Dennis Eckersley
4. Rollie Fingers
5. Jim (Catfish) Hunter
6. Reggie Jackson
7. Vida Blue
8. Jason Giambi
9. Dave Stewart
10. Ray Fosse