The new andperhaps even permanent manager of Sonny Liston, the wistful heavyweightchallenger, is a 41-year-old sports concessionaire, married and the father ofsix children, who has never had anything to do with boxing before—all of whichsounds like eminent respectability, a commodity Liston needs a lot of.
The new man isJack Nilon, a sharp-featured, sharp-dressed, successful businessman whooperates the concessions at such events as the Army-Navy football game. He isan acquaintance of Father Edward Murphy, the priest retained to aid in Liston'srehabilitation from his criminal past.
Quick to deny anyknowledge of prizefighting, Nilon explained that Liston "doesn't need afight manager, he needs a business manager." There will, he said, "be acertified accountant to handle the money," quite as if that would prevent,behind his back, a postfight division of funds with representatives of BlinkyPalermo, now at large on $100,000 bail while appealing his federal convictionas a conspirator.
In the mind ofHeavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson there is little question that he must beatListon if the world is to be convinced that Patterson is a worthy champion. AndListon's name, for all the coy secrecy about it, is the name Pattersonwhispered to President John F. Kennedy at their White House meeting last week,when the President asked him who his next opponent would be. He has said asmuch to others.
Well, Floyd mayhave to fight his manager, Cus D'Amato, first. The indomitable D'Amato is by nomeans convinced that Nilon's appearance on the scene has thereby dispersed theshady elements in Liston's old managerial retinue. He wants no part of a Listonfight until he is so convinced. There has to be a showdown between Pattersonand D'Amato soon, and it might be worth $100 ringside to sit in on it. Untilnow, and despite serious differences, Patterson has remained completely loyalto D'Amato in such matters. If he doesn't go along with D'Amato in this one, hemay, like Liston, have to find himself a new manager.
The only stateother than New York to prosecute in the basketball scandals of 1961 is NorthCarolina. Last week that state added new names and new games to the blackbasketball market list. Governor Terry Sanford, an old basketball fan, arrangedfor the testimony of Don Gallagher, a former North Carolina State star and nowSecond Lieutenant Gallagher, 15th Infantry, Berlin. Two years ago he won hisschool's Senior Merit award from the Atlantic Coast Conference for excellencein academics and athletics.
Flown to the U.S.,Gallagher appeared before the Wake County grand jury and out of his testimonyand other evidence 10 gamblers were indicted. Gallagher, it turned out, hadreceived $5,500 for fixing six games.
New Yorkauthorities uncovered the basketball scandals and, with North Carolina, may bemost influential in discouraging a recurrence. To fix or attempt to fix untilrecently was a mere misdemeanor in New York. Now it is a felony, withproportionately greater penalties. In North Carolina it is also a felony. Itshould be a felony everywhere.
YOUNG TURK FORTENNIS
For some 30 yearsthe tennis Old Guard in the East has dominated the Eastern Lawn TennisAssociation, each retiring administration carefully grooming a successor sothat a continuity of conservatism might be preserved. Attempts to overthrow theregime have always failed—until last weekend.
Clifford S.Sutter, an advertising executive with fresh, progressive ideas about tennis,squeaked through in the final set of the ELTA's annual meeting to defeat (5,700votes to 5,025) Donald O. Hobart, who had held the post for two years. Suttercarried with him his running mate, Daniel S. Johnson, as secretary. Alastair B.Martin, who had lined up many proxy votes for Sutter, was elected chairman ofthe new nominating committee.
Tennis playerswere pleased by the election, for Sutter is himself a player, and a fine one.He was ranked third nationally in 1932 and last August, with his brotherErnest, won the National Senior Doubles. It is a novelty to have a player incommand of ELTA policy.
Up to now Sutterhas expressed no strong views, one way or the other, on the subject of erasingthe fake chalk line that separates professional from amateur tennis. But hewill have to face up to it sooner or later and one might hope that his viewwill be more in the direction of progress than that of his predecessors.
BOOKIES OF THEWORLD...!
Bookmakerscomprise a proud fraternity except where honest cops make them furtive. In manycountries where off-course betting on the horses is legal the bookies are knownas turf accountants, and in dress and manner they live up to the decorousimplication of the name. They tend to a gentlemanly portliness, conservativedress and the soft accents of urbanity, the way big-time bankers used to actbefore they took to advertising on television. Now, just as the banker's"image" has been destroyed, the bookmaker's is likely to be. In SouthAfrica the bums have gone on strike, leaving thousands indestitute.
Their beef isagainst a new law requiring them to turn over 12% of their total handle to theracetracks, whereas in the past their organization, known gracefully asWitwatersrand Tattersall, has simply paid the tracks a fixed sum of ¬£25,000 forinformation on entered horses and jockeys. The picketing bookies protest thatthe new dispensation will cost them ¬£60,000. They are opposed to this and so,of course, must their customers be, since inevitably the tax will come out ofthe bettors.
Our sympathy iswith the bookmakers and their clients, but in common decency and common senseour instincts say that a strike, which may well drive honest men to solvency,is no solution to the problem, especially from the standpoint of the licitbookie himself. He is in danger of losing his cachet of respectability andconservatism, an incalculable but clearly priceless vigorish, and of picking upan aura that might remind one of Jimmy Hoffa.
•Bobby Mitchell,traded from the Cleveland Browns to the Washington Redskins of the NationalFootball League, will be one of the biggest moneymakers in the league. Inaddition to his salary Mitchell has a five-year contract as public relationsman for Pepsi-Cola and will get a radio announcer's job on a Washingtonstation.
•Wayne Hardin,Navy's football coach, believes that the National Conference, first suggestedin 1959, may become a reality this fall. Teams proposed are Notre Dame, Army,Navy, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Syracuse, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Washington andWashington State.
•The Chicago Bearsof the National Football League grossed more money ($1,223,233) from paidadmissions in seven home appearances than baseball's Chicago Cubs were able togross in 66 home days ($1,058,433).
•The New YorkYankees, who move their spring training camp from St. Petersburg to FortLauderdale this season, already have sold 375 season tickets (covering 15exhibition games) at $45 each.
ACTUALLY, IT'S AHELLUVA THING
As every collegeman knows, the worst bunch of cubes on campus are the independents. They don'tget into fraternities. Frankly, they just don't fit in—black, leather-soledshoes and those incredible ties. Or, worse yet, they don't want to get in. Allthis nonsense about eating lunch with Vietnamese transfer students. It's hardto understand, and they think it proves something. God knows what.
Anyway, the worstthing happened at the University of Nevada recently. The independents won theintramural athletic trophy. "Everybody was shocked that they won," saidDr. Art Broten, chairman of the university's phys ed department.
Actually, itwasn't so much them winning as how to give them the trophy. Obviously theycouldn't go to the inter-fraternity dinner, which is where the trophy isusually given out. Dr. Broten finally gave it to them at some sports writers'meeting.
Actually, when youlook at it, it's probably not too bad that they got it this one time. But thething now is, how on earth to get it back? "The independents have 500students they can draw from," says Broten, "whereas each fraternityonly has a few." That sounds bad, but as Dr. Broten says, "There'sreally no worry because the independents are just that. They don't need theprestige and won't fight as hard as the fraternities."
DOGS AND OTHERHEROES
In the early daysof the world, according to the Penobscot Indians, a great warrior named LongHair asked the animals if one of them would be willing to live with mankind.All except the dog hurried away. In gratitude, Long Hair arranged it so thatever afterward all animals should run whenever dogs barked.
Some Indian tribesof the Pacific Northwest believed men and dogs were closely related. Theythought that dogs originally had been intended to be people, but were so quickand so smart that another great warrior named Raven ; took them by the neck andpushed them down. "Have four legs," said Raven curtly, and thus dogsbecame dogs. The myth of a California tribe relates that when the creator wasat work creating the world, he took his dog with him. Nothing was ever saidabout him having created the dog. He already had one.
In God Had a Dog(Rutgers University Press, $9), Maria Leach notes that in the folklore ofprimitive peoples there are some 76 such gods who are accompanied by theirdogs, but almost no tales about how the dogs were created. This 544 pagemiscellany of dog lore touches on such matters as the dog star, the dog daysand dogs during eclipses (they were whipped in all tribes so their howls wouldprevent the sun from destroying the moon), and the legends range from ancientEgypt to Carbondale, Illinois.
In Carbondale in1948 a man had a coon dog so smart that when he showed the dog a board the sizehe wanted to stretch a coonskin on, the dog would dash into the woods and comeback with the right size coon. One day the man's wife set an ironing board outin the backyard and the dog was gone for two years. The same story is told inMississippi and New Mexico, where it is said the dog never did come back.
CULT OF CORN
The Russiannewspaper Sovsports has just reprinted from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Nov. 27, 1961)that memorable picture of Pete Dawkins, the former West Point All-Americafootballer now at Oxford, engaged in throttling a Rugby opponent. As weexplained at the time, Pete Jost his hitherto well-controlled temper in theheat of a rough game, and no one, least of all the British, seemed to resentit. Rather, they seemed amused by it and explained it by saying that Dawkins,having proved himself a fine Rugger player, was now proving himself a humanbeing.
Sovsports did nottake this view. Under the headline, SMART GUY DAWKINS LOST HIS TEMPER, itcommented:
"It is notdifficult to understand the enthusiasm of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S editors for thispicture because Dawkins is acting exactly in the spirit with which they aretrying to inculcate American youth by extolling the cult of force."
BROWN ON BROWN
Jimmy Brown, thefine fullback for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League, lastweek voiced some objections to the way Paul Brown, the Cleveland coach, hadused him during the 1961 season. "It was my feeling," said Jimmy,"that I was asked to do more than my share. I made more than 300 rushes andcaught 46 passes.... Obviously the club had planned to trade Bobby Mitchell, agreat runner and flanker. So I was given many of his plays. I have neverobjected to doing my bit, but I don't care to take the burden to help a tradingscheme on the part of the club."
Brown said hemight quit pro football for the public relations field, a maneuver that couldjar the Cleveland front office into granting him a substantial raise in 1962.It would be well deserved. With Mitchell gone and the chances slim that rookieHalfback Ernie Davis will become a superstar overnight, Jimmy Brown can lookforward to more and harder work next season in Paul Brown's solid butunimaginative offense.