"Well..." he faltered.
"O.K.," I cut him short. On my notes, I jotted, "indecisive. Tends to shunt responsibility on others."
[At another paper a reporter tells Robbie he should speak to his editor.]
"Oh, I don't need to talk to him. I already have a sensational item about him. I got it from a cab driver who knows a 7-11 clerk who knows the relief bartender at the Press Club. Scandalous item. Absolutely delicious."
"And you're going to print it without checking it out?" he asked.
"Oh, no," I said. "I don't print that sort of thing. I've hired a lady columnist who lives in Bakersfield, Calif. She'll print it. That way nobody will ever know it came from me."
I would have liked to talk longer, but I had to cut it short. I had a deadline for my first article. It's very complimentary, actually. It's entitled: Expansion City Sportswriters Getting Better—But Still Have Room to Improve.
"The whole thing is this," says Robbie, sitting at his desk, a view of Biscayne Bay out the window. "I brought pro football here when nobody else would get near the place. I protected football in this community. But the club and I have been under constant pressure since the day we got here. I didn't have to come down here to have people try to prove I'm a cheapskate. It's been personally offensive to me. It's against my nature, against my family's nature, not to give...give the shirt off your back if somebody needs it. I've been brought up this way. There's no charge that I'm more sensitive to than that.
"I've been on the board of governors at St. Jude Hospital for 10 years. I've traveled every place they wanted me to, even on a monthly basis, at my own expense. I've always been involved in charities. For nothing. That's the kind of lawyer I was, too. The people I represented I represented without fee most of the time. These pack rats that are trying to gnaw on my bones! No man ever left my office unrepresented who came in and said he had no money. The St. Petersburg training camp was unfortunate, but it would never have happened had I been on the scene. The incident there has been the cause of all my trouble. As soon as I got to St. Petersburg I got the club out of there. The other reasons for our image here have been disloyal employees and John O'Neil. O'Neil disagreed with some of my decisions, and he's been trying to wreck the club ever since. The reporters won't even listen to him anymore because he gives out so much misinformation. I had to lire him as community-relations director.
"We've had to live by our wits here in Miami. I think some people have thought that if they could damage or destroy our financial structure they could move in and take over. I've been a target because some people resent the fact that I have control of this ball club and have had the legal control of it from the first day. I've been vulnerable because I was not operating from a strong financial position. Now let me say this. There is not an investor who has ever put one red copper cent into the operations of this club. Every cent that has ever been paid in by an investor has been used to pay the franchise debt to the AFL, and a $100,000 annual payment debt to be made to the NFL. Every bit of operating money has been obtained from income or from banking arrangements I make. I'm the only one personally liable in this place.