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Original Issue


As a college football official (10 years on the staff of the Southern Conference) and a former high school coach, I would like to bring out a point that I think could have been a tremendous factor in the final outcome of the Tennessee-UCLA football game in Los Angeles. One of the photographs accompanying your article ("One More Great Play," Sept. 25) shows UCLA Coach Tommy Prothro talking to Gary Beban on the playing field. UCLA, trailing 13-16, has the ball, fourth and two, on Tennessee's 27-yard line, with four minutes to play. From this discussion, Beban goes on to call the play that he runs for the winning score.

Now, NCAA Rule 3, Section 3, Article 8 states. "During a free time-out charged to a team one player is allowed to confer with one coach on the sideline at the team area." Coach Prothro is not in the team area, nor is he on the sideline and, therefore, he is in direct violation of this rule.

The penalty for this infraction is 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. This would have changed a fourth-and-two situation to fourth and 17, and certainly could have changed the outcome of the game. It is ironic that this should happen to UCLA and Coach Prothro, for he is the one who claimed that officiating did change the outcome of the 1965 UCLA-Tennessee game, which was played in the South.
Richmond, Va.

I was delighted to see how much Whitney Tower enjoyed the 1967 Woodward Stakes at Aqueduct (Damascus by a Mile, Oct. 9). What a transcendent sporting experience it must have been—so cleanly decisive, so "fair." I was there, and what I saw was a tawdry performance worthy of a $75 nighttime handicap on a Midwestern carnival grounds.

Is it fair for two opposing jockeys to frighten a typically high-strung Thoroughbred into running six furlongs in 1:09 H on a drying strip by shouting at him for the first half of the race, rendering him rank and uncontrollable?

Is it fair, when a horse is forced to attempt the impossible, to call him a loser when he fails'?

Was it fair not to inform the betting public of the exact nature of the tactics to be employed in the Woodward? A lot of $2 bettors, the backbone of the sport, could have then been steered clear of the gallant Dr. Fager, the most inevitable of losers.

Do they still call racing the Sport of Kings?
New York City

Perhaps you already know that I was selected as one of the U.S. Olympic track coaches a few weeks ago. Coach Payton Jordan will be the head coach, and he has asked me to take charge of both relays and the sprinters and quarter-milers. It is with pride and humility that I accept this challenge to work with the athletes and to represent the United States before the world next October in Mexico City.

Being one of the coaches and knowing Tommie Smith as I do, I have become very concerned lately about articles that have appeared in the newspapers on the West Coast and in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SCORECARD, Sept. 25) in regard to a possible boycott of the Olympic Games by the Negro athletes. My feeling is that a boycott would be a disastrous mistake, not only for the individuals who might boycott, but for the United States in general. We fail to realize that we are Americans first and Negroes second, and boycotting the Olympic Games for Black Power, White Power, Green Power, Yellow Power or any "power" is senseless and stupid. I realize as well as Tommie Smith does that there are still many injustices to our people in this country and that these injustices should and must be corrected. And I sincerely believe that someday they will be corrected—but not by exploitation of one group by another group, and especially not by a group called Black Power that has lost the sense of fair play and the original objectives of the civil rights movement in this country.

In my humble opinion, the Black Power group does not truly represent the 21,508,000 Negroes in this country. It does not even represent 5%, of the Negroes. I am certain that the movement leaders are not sincere in their beliefs when it is a known fact that they agitate and provoke other people to destruction while they flee the consequences. Again, I say to Tommie and the others, we as Negroes do have grievances, but we do not need spokesmen who are poisonous propagandists and who capitalize on our real grievances for their own personal gains.

Tommie Smith and the rest of the great Negro athletes can show the world how well they can perform despite the many injustices that we face in our own country. I have been all over the world and have seen, lived and talked with many people, and when you come down to the final nut-cracking, the United States is a damn good country to be a citizen of. I have also talked with Ralph Boston and a few of the other top athletes, and they all have told me that in their opinion a boycott would serve no definite purpose. I am looking forward to having Tommie Smith as a member of the U.S. Olympic team.
Track Coach
Western Illinois University
Macomb, Ill.

I was both astounded and dismayed to read your recent report of a possible Negro boycott of the impending Olympic Games. Certainly the athletes have a right to actively participate in the civil rights movement. The American Negro's quest for justice and equality in a land of racial hypocrisy is long overdue.

The express purpose of the Games, however, is to create an atmosphere conducive not only to international athletic competition, but to human fellowship and understanding as well. By abandoning the Games, the athletes will partially destroy the very cause they seek to further.
Bluffton, Ohio

The contemplated action to boycott the 1968 Olympics would dramatize to the rest of the world the oppression of our black minority. But what impression would the boycott make on Congress? What can the "rest of the world" do for our black minority that Congress cannot?

The reaction of Congress following such a boycott would probably be one of anger. It would probably punish the black people who could afford it the least by stopping legislation that they really need. Anger causes people to act in a way that makes the right or wrong of the act incidental.

The Tommie Smiths of this country would not suffer. "Smithie" could count on help from the American Civil Liberties Union. He could go to a foreign country, like Canada, and be a hero and live comfortably. The black people who really need help would not have this recourse.

The responsible black leaders in this country would not advocate an Olympic boycott. They would weigh the pros and cons of such an action and decide to do what they think would help the black people improve their lot. Personal glory is incidental.
Middletown, R.I.

I am of the firm opinion that every American should consider it a privilege and an honor to wear the uniform of the United States of America, be it in peace or war. I had that distinction as a soldier and I have always considered it one of the highlights of my life. By refusing to become a member of the Olympic team I personally feel that Tommie Smith would do far more harm to the cause to which his people are so justly entitled than he would if he ran and won—and covered himself and his country with glory.

As the manager of Oscar Bonavena, I can report that the article concerning the one-sided victory by the Argentine heavyweight king over European Champion Karl Mildenberger (A Bean-can Bout in Frankfurt, Sept. 25) was a lot of beans. I might also add that Bonavena, whom Mark Kram describes as the "mild bull of the Pampas," is now riled and has promised to bounce his next opponent into Kram's lap.

SI states that Bonavena just looks ferocious and is an unpardonable bore (or boor) in the ring. Bonavena's knockout average over a three-year professional career has been over .800. Maybe there is something to that old saying that "looks can kill," because somebody is getting to Bonavena's opponents and it's not the referee. No opponent of Oscar's was ever bored. Gored but not bored!

Kram also says that Bonavena's feet "are flat and dreadfully gnarled. His ankles seem as big as basketballs.... He does not have any waist, but he does have an ample belly." That paints a pretty picture. My comment is: either you like Picasso or you don't.

SI hangs out the dirty wash by adding that Bonavena was "unloaded" on me and goes on to describe me as "a decent, misdirected individual who is enthralled by the glamour of boxing...the worst kind of amateur, and therefore a perfect target for Oscar Bonavena." Bonavena was not unloaded on me. I asked to buy his contract from Jack Singer. I was fully advised by Singer of the difficulties I would face, and it has not been an easy road. However, with Bonavena in the semifinals of the heavyweight elimination tournament I would seem to be heading in the right direction. As for my background, I had hoped that my seven years as a boxing judge, my three, years as a manager and my two years as a sportswriter for a daily New York publication would lift me out of the amateur class.

Finally, SI says that Bonavena was "in the tournament on the strength of his rating, which was an egregious error in judgment." Bonavena has lost only two decisions in more than 30 bouts. He was outpointed by veteran Zora Folley in his ninth professional bout and, last year, lost a close decision to the extremely competent Joe Frazier, after flooring Frazier twice early in the bout. Since many boxing authorities consider Frazier the outstanding boxer in the ring today and since Mildenberger was rated by most recognized authorities as the No. 1 contender, it is difficult to follow the logic of the writer in demeaning Bonavena.

In conclusion, I think Author Mark Kram may have taken the 10-count on this piece, but I must admit that he is one helluva writer.
Oceanside, N.Y.

Mark Kram's article on the Bonavena-Mildenberger fight is the most tasteless story I have ever read in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. If he did not like the fight he should say so, but his name-calling ("primitive creature,'* "obscenity," "untutored oaf," etc.) was totally uncalled for.
Boulder, Colo.

The article by George Plimpton on the marathon tennis matches that occurred this past summer at the Southampton and Newport invitation tennis tournaments (What the Deuce Is Going On?, Sept. 18) was interesting and amusing. However, his comments on the condition of the courts at the Meadow Club of Southampton were, I believe, grossly exaggerated. Particularly do we members of the Meadow Club object to his statement that "the grass courts...have fallen into such disrepair, presumably because of a lack of funds." This is untrue. The members have been assessed for the past three years for capital improvements for the club, including the rebuilding of certain grass tennis courts that we knew needed rebuilding. This work has been proceeding under the direction of our new grounds superintendent, Arnold Trible, who was formerly superintendent at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club. We have spent more than $17,000 on new machinery and other equipment alone and confidently expect to have, within two to three years, the finest grass tennis courts in the East.
President, Meadow Club
Southampton, N.Y.