Book: NFL Legend Jimmy Johnson Bullied Janis Joplin in High School

Johnson and Joplin were students at the same Texas high school in the late 1950s

Book: NFL Legend Jimmy Johnson Bullied '60s Rocker Janis Joplin in High School
Janis Joplin performing live onstage (Estate Of Keith Morris/Redferns)
By Evan Bleier / October 18, 2019 10:48 am

In addition to having the same initials, former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson and deceased ’60s rock star Janis Joplin have something else in common: Thomas Jefferson High School.

In the late 1950s, Johnson and Joplin both attended the school in Port Arthur, Texas. While they were there, Johnson, a star linebacker on the school’s football team, and his friends made Joplin’s life miserable, according to a new book.

In Janis: Her Life and Music, author Holly George-Warren alleges Johnson and other jocks at the school groped Joplin and spread rumors around school she’d slept with their friends because she “looked and acted weird.”

Joplin went on to become one of the stars of the counterculture movement of the 1960s and performed at Woodstock before dying of a heroin overdose at 27. The 76-year-old Johnson went on to coach in the NFL and won two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.

Johnson has talked about his interactions with Joplin in the past and said in a 1992 Sports Illustrated interview that Joplin “never wore any panties.”

“We gave Janis Joplin all kinds of flak,” Johnson told Yahoo Sports in 2010. “She was the beatnik who wore the black leotards. Back then, we wouldn’t even let our players smoke a cigarette – we really looked down on that – so all the conversation was about her smoking weed! She was an outcast, and we gave her all kinds of hell … she didn’t like the jocks.”

Wonder why …

Interestingly, a third person with the initial JJ also attended school with Johnson: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went to college with him at the University of Arkansas.

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