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Two weeks before the strike ended, Channel 5 took away Martin's sports-casting job. "People liked his work," says Sports Director Scott Murray. "But he was undependable. We'd have a camera crew waiting somewhere and he wouldn't show up, or we'd have a film editor on overtime waiting and he'd come three hours late. He was just such a nice guy and an easy touch that he'd allowed himself to get involved in too many other things."
At a post-strike game in Washington a few fans celebrated Martin's bankruptcy by pelting him with pennies. As he dropped into his three-point stance on a Washington extra-point attempt, a Redskin lineman hissed. "Hey, Harvey, need a loan?"
On a play late in the game, an interception thrown by Joe Theismann, Martin landed a forearm fraught with frustration on the quarterback's face. Then he took what was left of his rage and vented it on Wide Receiver Art Monk's skull. The two catharses gave the bankrupt defensive end one more creditor. He owed Pete Rozelle a fine of $1,500.
Still, Martin thought the storm had finally passed. He had shrugged off his debts through the miracle of Chapter 7, and his mother now controlled his finances with a cobra of a checkbook that snapped anytime Harvey's fingers came near. He registered eight sacks in the strike-shortened season, and many felt it was the best football he had played in three years.
In the week before the Cowboys' second-round playoff game against Green Bay, Martin saw men gathered around his locker after practice, whispering. They were news reporters who wanted Martin's reaction to Stone's testimony in court that day that Martin's involvement was more serious than a few friendly snapshots. "He would go in on it [cocaine] with me," Stone had said. "[He] would say, 'Here's [some money], I want so-and-so.'...I don't think he'd ever done it before [he knew me]. I think I talked him into taking a toot."
Martin was stunned. "Please believe me," he begged. "Somebody is trying to hurt me bad. I don't know why. My God, he lied on me...."
Harvey went home, and all the pain and all the anxiety of all the years came galloping back to him on the heels of this hot-breathing new hurt. He remembered Duane Thomas. His heart pounded. He couldn't sit still and feel this anymore. He called his mother and told her he was quitting football that day.
At midnight a rap on the front door awakened ex-Cowboy Tackle Rayfield Wright, who as a veteran had helped Martin in his early years. Wright, in his robe, opened the door. "Just looking at Harvey," Wright said later, "I got chill bumps all over me."
"I'm quitting, Cat," Martin said. "I'm sick of people accusing me of things I haven't done."
"Man," said Wright, "you gonna quit because of that?"