Alas, both of these fine upstanding young men are well versed in specific events that occurred in those respective years because of their names that are directly linked to mass killers.
(The following is what many experts will call big-time sports reporting, and yet another case of why I should not have a blog, and the Internet is just a horrible idea.)
Both of these Cowboys are indirectly attached to these famous killers: Ben Gardner is a character in “Jaws”; several of Escobar’s teammates, and friends, call him by the late South American drug lord’s given name.
The character Ben Gardner in “Jaws” is a fisherman who is killed by the Great White shark. In one scene with Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfus, the pair come across “Ben Gardner’s boat”; Dreyfus finds Gardner in one of the film’s most famous scenes:
Much to my surprise, the Cowboys’ Ben Gardner actually gets this a lot.
“He’s the fisherman from “Jaws” - people tell me about it all the time,” Gardner told me, exclusively. “As soon as I tell people my name they’ll say, ‘Aren’t you the guy whose head was floating in the boat in “Jaws”?’ I have seen the movie, and I am familiar with that scene. I get it a lot more from strangers. Surprisingly, a lot more people know about Ben Gardner from Jaws than you would think. It’s, ‘That’s Ben Gardner’s boat.’”
I asked him that as a fellow Ben Gardner, can he relate to being eaten alive by a giant shark that had an ax to grind against a small fishing community.
“Yeah,” he said, “(Cowboys defensive coordinator) Rod Marinelli spits me out all the time.”
Gavin Escobar doesn’t have tie-in to a famous movie; instead, his given-name is the same as one of histories most notorious crime figures.
“Some guys do call me Pablo. Mostly the strength coaches. (Former Cowboys receiver) Dwayne Harris called me Pablo,” Escobar told me, exclusively.
How does one take to being called the same name as a guy who murdered for sport? Glass half full.
“If you think about it, it’s ... well, I don’t want to say an honor but he was a very powerful man,” Gavin Escobar said.
This is true. According to Biography.com, Pablo Escobar, “collaborated with other criminals to form the Medellin Cartel and eventually controlled over 80% of the cocaine shipped to the U.S. He earned popularity by sponsoring charity projects and soccer clubs, but later terror campaigns turned public opinion against him. He was killed in 1993.”
Given what some might call that rather sordid history, Gavin Escobar does not just want anyone calling him Pablo. There are ground rules to being called the same name as the cocaine king who murdered anyone who got in his way.
“I do feel like you’ve got to know me to call me that,” Gavin Escobar said. “It doesn’t offend me. If someone comes up to me that doesn’t know me and says, ‘What’s up, Pablo?’ I don’t really respond to that. It’s not offensive, but I don’t respond to it as well. I’d rather go by Escobar, or Gavin.”
The challenge now for Gavin Escobar is to make his name bigger than Pablo Escobar so that all future Escobars are called Gavin. Go get ‘em, champ.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760