13 Dec 2012
- Written by Dr. Karanja A. Ajanaku
For Kelvin Cowans, aka Six~Four, his latest literary effort is book number three. It follows (the e-book) "The Most Evil Person I Ever Met: My Time in Prison with Lemaricus Davidson" and "Eye For an Eye," which he sold out of his trunk after starting it while incarcerated.
It's been a tough ride, said Cowans of the endeavor to produce "1st Down & 100 Years to Go. The Xavier Cordell Crawford Story."
"The book is about the greatest football player to ever come out of Memphis, Tenn.," said Cowans.
TSD: The greatest by whose standards?
Kelvin Cowans: "You know what, once I started reviewing and researching and going to the archives in the library ... and started looking at his exploits, I say it is him. I didn't know this, but once I saw all the facts, it's X-man.
TSD: Is it a story about his football exploits?
KC: It's about the good, the bad and the ugly. I did not want it alone to be about his rape charges or about his football prowess. He didn't come here raping people and high on drugs, and he didn't come here running touchdowns. He came like we all came here, as a child. I thought it was my job to tell the entire story and I let you draw your own conclusions.
TSD: Who is Xavier Crawford?
KC: Wow! Today? Xavier Crawford is a man who has been convicted of multiple crimes. He is also a man who has a bipolar disorder that he was diagnosed with. He's also a man who some people may say was misunderstood, or taken advantage of as a kid...
TSD: Who was he?
KC: He was just a kid who loved football. That's who he was....he had a talent. God gave him a gift. That gift took him a long way, and along the way, of course, sometimes kids with gifts are approached by adults who have influence over them in many different areas, and it's just not good for where he was going. Like I say in the book, one of the people happens to be his own father.
TSD: In what way relative to his father, without giving too much away (from the book)?
KC: I can't give too much away. There are about 20 Memphis secrets in there that are going to just wow people...But I will speak on that because (he and) his twin brother, Travis,...spoke on his dad in depth. And the truth of the matter was he was nowhere around when they were growing up. As soon as his (Crawford's) name starting hitting the local newspapers and he started being on TV, here comes pop, the local wrestler, who had been living right around the corner from them, but he's not in their life until the headlines hit.
TSD: Did you speak to the dad? Or did you encounter him?
KC: I did encounter him and, honestly to say, it was not a good encounter. It was a phone call made from Ms. Pat Vander Schaaf's home to me about the book and about what should and shouldn't be in it. I had to quickly remind him that this is not wrestling, this is real life. Realize that you are talking to me for real. In real life, there are real consequences.
TSD: You mention a name that a lot of our readers will recognize, Pat Vander Schaaf (former Memphis City Council member). What is her role in this book?... What should our readers now going in?
KC: What you should know going in is that Pat Vander Schaaf is a very smart woman. She is a woman who had held her own for all the time she was at the Memphis City Council. She headed up a lot of things, she told me, as far as the citizens of Memphis are concerned. You also need to know this is someone who in her latter days, I would say fell in love with a man 30 years younger than her. And although we would expect that 28 years on the Memphis City Council would come with 28 years of code of ethics, it didn't this time....This is all in the book. It is so in depth about their relationship.
You're talking about someone who had him arrested many times ...but she would also go and bond him out.
TSD: How in the world did you come to be writing this book?
KC: I have a friend who called me out of the blue one day ...and I detail this in the prologue of how it fell in my lap. ...she called and asked if I had ever heard of the X-man. I'm a life-long Memphian, of course I've heard of the X-man. I said, "yeah." She said, "Do you know anything about his recent troubles?" I said not really...She said, "Would you be willing to do his story?" I said give me a minute, and I got on Google.... She knew him through somebody, one way or another.
After I went through Google, I told her there was only one way...this man would have to, have to give me all rights and power of attorney to deal with this story. It's a tree with so many limbs.
TSD: You've got the actual power of attorney from him?
KC: In one week, Xavier signed the power of attorney to the book rights, the book story's direction and all rights involved for me to do the story.
TSD: He is mentally competent to do that?
KC: Yeah, as far as I was concerned. I'll tell you another nugget. He signed it in less than a week and sent it back to me, and I began my interviews. I had never met Xavier Crawford and I didn't go down to 201 Poplar until after he signed the contract. After he signed it, not ever having met him and not knowing him, I had to get somebody to verify his signature. Guess who verified it? Pat Vander Schaaf....I have a lot of respect for her, don't get me wrong. I'm just telling the story. I'm no different than the 10 o'clock news anchor...
Cowans said he interviewed Crawford on at least three occasions at 201 Poplar. The remaining contact was via letters and letters Crawford wrote to family members. He made personal contact with others in the book.
TSD: How long did it take you to write it?
KC: It took me about five months to write.
TSD: How are you publishing it?
KC: The book is being published by me, 32 Degrees Publishing, and printed by InstantPublisher in Collierville...I am the sole proprietor?
TSD: How will you deal with the proceeds?
KC: What Xavier told me was to make donations to battered and abused women, find things like that to make donations to. He wasn't so concerned about the money as he was about the story that can help youth...The book details what can go wrong. It is a cautionary tale of the gift you must not only be thankful for, you must respect the gift that you are given.
NOTE: Beginning Dec. 19, "1ST Down & 100 Years to Go" can be purchased at:
The Booksellers at Laurelwood; 387 Perkins Rd. Ext.; Memphis, TN 38117; 901-683-9801.