Former Cowboy talks social media, charity, football

Julie Garcia By Julie Garcia

Oct. 14, 2013 at 5:14 a.m.

Butch Johnson, former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver,   plays in the   Bluebonnet Youth Ranch Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Victoria Country Club.

Butch Johnson, former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver, plays in the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Victoria Country Club.

The 32nd annual Bluebonnet Youth Ranch Celebrity Golf Tournament was a reunion of sorts for many of the celebrities who have participated over the years.

The tournament, which benefits the Yoakum residential home for dependent, abused and neglected children, drew more than 20 former professional baseball players, footballers and golfers.

Butch Johnson, former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys (1976-83) has participated in more than a few charity golf tournaments - not because of his love of golf but because he believes in their purpose.

Before he hit the green Monday at the Victoria Country Club, Johnson answered a few questions about football, what he's done for charity and his favorite NFL team (Hint: it's not the Cowboys).

Why is charity work important to you?

I went through college playing football and running track and also working at a juvenile hall helping kids. I've served on the board of Excelsior Youth Center in Denver. We had the worst girls in the nation. We housed 230 girls that had to go to eight detention centers in their state to get to us. It was a 33-acre facility. On the other side, I coached and volunteered at a top high school in Colorado that won state championships. We put 125 kids into college and provided $30 million in scholarships. This has been a way of life for me versus something I have just done. At all times of my life, what has been important is that we help our kids. On a side note, they (Bluebonnet) like country western music, and so do I.

Why do you think the Dallas Cowboys have remained one of the most popular teams in the league?

American football started five years after the Civil War. There's eight generations of American football. So therefore, why the Cowboys instead of Houston? Because Houston has never won. Generation after generation, people have followed the Cowboys. Why? Because the Cowboys always play on what day that all families are together - Thanksgiving. It was brilliant to place them on Thanksgiving Day when all families are together when people do not normally watch football.

Who is currently your favorite NFL team?

I really enjoy the New England Patriots right now. They have an old scheme of things that Tom Landry (former Dallas Cowboys coach) would do. Their system is what makes the players. It's not all about Tom Brady because he can throw it, but you have to have people to catch it. They have to adapt to what their personnel is. I appreciate ball clubs that utilize their talent; they recognize every guy in the NFL has a special talent and utilize that instead of degrading it with another player.

What do you think about the new rules and safety precautions in the NFL?

It appears to be safer for the players (who are) being spared those problems. It's beneficial to see people that are stars - don't want them to get injured - you want to have a draw (to the game). With that said, you can't compare eras and what people were doing at a certain time period and today. You have the best in business of what the rules are today. When I played, you had the best in the business of what the rules were then.

Professional athletes seem to be under a harsher microscope now more than ever. Why do you think that is?

In my time period, there was no Internet, Facebook, Twitter, all those different things. It becomes a little frightening that much information can be distributed to people in the general public. My biggest fear has always been: How do I protect my children? I made decisions in my career that I made based on giving them privacy. So to invade that privacy and invade anonymity (that you only have a little bit of), you drive people crazy. There is a limit to how far you can go with being a fan.



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