Mike Tyson Meets the Press
Mike Tyson has a new lease on life. Some believe it’s less a new lease than an elaborate refurbishing, but I’m not so sure. For the most part he sounds different. For the most part he behaves different. He’s still Mike Tyson—some things never change—but he’s a new man, insofar as any of us is capable of being a new man.
Tyson held a teleconference call yesterday afternoon. He talked at length about “Undisputed Truth,” his surprise smash success one-man show that hits the road with a 23-city tour beginning on Feb. 12, starting in Indianapolis of all places. He talked about his charity, Mike Tyson Cares Foundation, and the satisfaction it gives him to give back. He talked about Cus D’Amato and Spike Lee. He talked about many things with many people and was very philosophical. Some on the line were interested in Tyson the boxing phenom. Others approached Mike from a human interest angle, fascinated by his ongoing Pilgrim’s Progress from this to that and the other thing. And others covered Tyson as part of their duties on the celebrity/showbiz circuit.
Among those who asked Mike questions were many unfamiliar names. But among the familiar names with whom he spoke was ESPN’s Dan Rafael. The two of them have history. They go back a long way. Their familiarity was familiar, but was, as always, somewhat jarring and off-putting.
Rafael asked a question about the one-man show and about Mike being, as Mike describes it, “an actor and I’m portraying the life of Mike Tyson.”
Tyson gave a boilerplate answer, an answer no different than what he gave to Piers Morgan last week on CNN and to countless others over countless weeks in countless other interviews. But because Tyson and Rafael have history, and because Tyson was obviously at ease, he suddenly shifted gears, abandoned the tried and true Q & A format, and launched into storytelling mode.
“You gotta hear this,” he said breathlessly. “You’re going to love this one, Dan. I’m getting interviewed. This guy’s interviewing me, this reporter. So this guy around the interview called him, ‘Get out of here, you queer you.’ They called him bad names, Dan, right? That’s when he stopped. It’s Ramadan, so I’m going my religious Muslim thing: ‘Hey, don’t talk to him like that. This is a man. He’s a human being.’ It’s Ramadan.”
Tyson’s tale was disjointed. The curious story had all the elements of some crazy whodunit—and I wondered where in the world this was leading.
“The guy was giving me an interview,” repeated Tyson, “a little frightened little guy, Dan, right? The next thing you know, Dan—Dan, are you listening to me?”
“Oh yeah,” said Rafael. “I’m listening to every word.”
“The next thing you know, the FBI comes to me and I’m getting nervous, in the gym. And I say, ‘What did I do? What did I do?’ I’m nervous. The FBI, they surrounded the gym and everything, right? So I’m saying to myself, ‘Who, what did I touch at the club last night?’ I’m saying, ‘Well, if I touched somebody—but why is the FBI coming to see me, right?’ So eventually I come out the bath from the gym, they talked to me, and they brought this guy named Hauser. You know who I’m talking about? The boxing guy named Hauser.”
Rafael asked, “Hauser the writer?”
“Yeah, the writer,” said Mike excitedly. “The name of the writer and his name was Hauser. So I thought I must have said something offensive to him and he got mad. I may have pushed him, I don’t know, because maybe I was getting high there. So I said,” Tyson adopted a contrite voice, “‘I’m sorry if I did anything wrong, sir, ‘cause I don’t need any trouble,’ I’m saying to the cops. The FBI guy says, ‘No, he LIKES YOU MIKE. I hear he likes the other 25 guys he shot.’ I said, ‘WHAT?!?’”
One could hear a pin drop. I’m listening to this in shock. Rumors regarding Hauser the writer have swirled around boxing forever. He has been accused of many things by many people over many years. I pay them no mind, because I couldn’t care less. But this was the first time, to my knowledge, that he had ever been accused of murder, and by no less than Mike Tyson.
“So you know the guy I’m talking about, Dan? The guy named Hauser?” Tyson paused. “That was the baseline sniper of Phoenix?”
“Oh,” said Rafael. “I think, oh, okay, different, different guy. Yeah, I know the story that you’ve—”
“Dale Hauser was his name. Dale Hauser.”
“Yeah, exactly. Not Tom Hauser the writer, but the guy that—”
“—was working for FightNews.com.”
“Yeah, you know who I’m talking about, right? This guy was going off sniping at people. The only reason they came to see me ‘cause they saw me on his internet shaking my hands. So they went right to me. I guess they thought I was an accomplice or something. I don’t know.”
Dan Rafael changed the subject.