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Kung fu fighting questions, spiders

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 3, 2002

Second year defensive end/tackle Ellis Wyms comes from Indianola, Mississippi. This is his take on interviews, spiders, kung fu movies, Esera Tuaolo, Mississippi, alcohol and slavery.

RM: You love interviews, I hear?

EW: I cannot stand to be asked a whole lot of questions.

RM: Well, that's not going to work for you and me then.

EW: You see, my little brother lives with me and he's always asking a whole lot of questions, over and over, and I keep telling him to leave me alone. I can't stand it.

RM: I'm getting a bad feeling here, man. This whole Kickin' Back thing is about questions and answers.

EW: We'll see.

RM: Spiders?

EW: I'm scared of them. If I see one of them anywhere, no matter how small, I think it might jump on me. I'll get my little brother to kill it. I'll let my girlfriend kill a spider, but I'm not going anywhere near them.

RM: Why can't they synchronize the sound with the picture in kung fu movies?

EW: I don't know. It's crazy. Ask (cornerback) Dwight Smith. He was a film major at Akron, he can tell you. It looks so different to see their mouths moving, and a second later you hear the sound track. Then you see a kick, then two seconds later you hear PSHHHT. That kind of throws me off, makes the whole movie wrong. Like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, that won all those awards but got on my nerves.

RM: Former Vikings defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo recently revealed that he is homosexual. Did that shock you?

EW: I can't say I was shocked at it, because in this society today, a lot of people tend to go that way. But if it was going on in my locker room, I would rather not know about it.

RM: Will a day come when a pro athlete can admit to being gay while he is still playing?

EW: No. Never. A locker room is full of a bunch male egos. Football players (for instance) tend to be a bunch of confident, arrogant, macho, macho people. It's a heterosexual environment. You have guys walking around naked. It's a close knit group. If you in a different category, you put yourself out of the group.

RM: But surely you wouldn't discriminate against someone who can run a 4.2 (40-yard dash) if he was gay?

EW: If he can play, cool. But, he's not going to be a guy I'm comfortable with. I'm sorry. I'm not comfortable with it. It's not a lifestyle that I'm accustomed to. Coming from the country, Mississippi, it's not something I can handle.

RM: Speaking of Mississippi, is that state still living prior to the civil rights movement or is that just my imagination?

EW: There are certain parts where it's still kind of iffy. It's going to forever be like that. People are going to raise their children that way. And it's on both sides too. Black folks raise their kids to not like white people, white people raise their kids to not like blacks. It goes both ways and it won't change.

RM: You should change your name to Ellis Wyns. In that way, you can always say Ellis ... Wins.

EW: Just change the M to the N. But I like my name. It was my granddaddy's name and he was a great man. He was a carpenter and built half the houses in Indianola.

RM: What was his first name?

EW: Ellis.

RM: Oh, my bad. Then you've got to go with his name.

EW: Granddaddy put his mark on us.

RM: What led the first man to invent alcohol?

EW: It was probably Adam dealing with Eve. You know a woman would drive a brother to drink, now. She can get you going to a point where it's like, "Man I gotta get out here and go get me a drink." My girl does that too me all the time. Eve probably drove the man crazy, telling him what to do, what not to do. "You can't do this Adam! Don't go over there Adam!" No wonder.

RM: You've got to feel for the man.

EW: No doubt. Imagine being him, in the garden, one woman, she's always there. No one else around. No one you can holler. No SportsCenter.

RM: What's the purpose of Diet Coke?

EW: Nothing. I see people, 300 pounds, in McDonald's asking for a No. 3, upsized, with two apple pies ... and a diet coke. What the hell is that? There's no purpose.

RM: Fat free ice cream?

EW: Same thing. No point. It's still ice cream.

RM: Vegetable lasagna?

EW: Put some meat in there. It's not lasagna without the meat.

RM: Why has the afro disappeared?

EW: I don't think it has disappeared, I think it has evolved. Some people like the little nappy thing, some braid it up.

RM: But the bald head has become the symbol of the black man.

EW: That's because the black man realized that we lose our hair early. If my hairline goes, then it's bald. You don't want to be walking around with your hairline in the middle of your head. The best thing you can do is go bald.

RM: One invention you cannot live without.

EW: The television. I'm a couch potato. If I can't watch TV, I can't watch a movie, I don't know what to do. I'll go crazy. First thing I do in the morning is turn on the TV.

RM: So I take it you fall asleep with the TV on?

EW: I can't sleep without the TV being on. All night. If I cut is off it's too quiet.

RM: You must have a hell of an electric bill.

EW: It is kind of high sometimes.

RM: So you get sent back in a time machine. What is the one era you don't want to land in?

EW: I wouldn't want to be in the south during the times of slavery. That would have been tough, having someone tell you what to do, how to do it and beating you.

RM: What do you think the first slave thought when he landed in the New World?

EW: I guess he realized that the had to adapt to the culture. Go with the flow. He couldn't just say, "I'm going to do what I want to do."

RM: So even the strongest warrior would have broken down.

EW: Probably so. There's power in numbers.


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  • Who's the man? Gruden?
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  • Chucky's Chalk Talk
  • High Profile -- Mike Alstott
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