Joe Namath to Charlotte: Drop dead

“The summer of 1967 was one of discontent for Joe Namath….The fascination with his swingin’ lifestyle that had dominated in 1966 had given way to criticism….

“When he arrived in Charlotte for the Jets’ fourth exhibition game, Namath was not in much of mood to speak to anyone….

“That night Namath was a guest of the Charlotte Sportsman’s Club at a $500-a-ticket fundraiser. [He] arrived in a lace-front shirt with a pinch of chewing tobacco in his gums and steady line of tumblers of Scotch on his lips….He made an off-color remark about Auburn [and] spoke of the ‘indignities heaped upon him by the scurrilous New York press’….When approached for autographs by local kids, Namath signed, ‘Best wishes, J.W. Smith.’

“Houston Chronicle reporter Wells Twombly wrote that ‘Possibly the last Southern city to be so honored by a guest was Atlanta, which once had Gen. William T. Sherman banging on its gates.’ ”

— From Fun City: John Lindsay, Joe Namath, and How Sports Saved New York in the 1960s” by Sean Deveney (2015)