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Original Issue


I am a charter subscriber, and this is my first letter to one of my favorite and more enjoyable magazines. In "They Said It" (SCORECARD, July 22) you attribute to Chief Justice Earl Warren: "I always turn to the sports section first. The sports page records man's accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man's failures." I read the quote many years ago—and at that time it belonged to the late William Lyon Phelps, professor of English literature at Yale.
Los Angeles

•Professor Phelps, a sports enthusiast, tennis player, golfer, baseball fan and a distance runner in his college days, phrased the same thought somewhat less succinctly in his Autobiography with Letters: "The love of most men for sport and their absorbing interest in it cannot perhaps be defended rationally; it is an instinct going deeper than reason.... The fact that the majority of men turn first of all to the sporting page of the newspaper can be accounted for on the ground that the first page is usually a record of failures—failures in business, failures in the art of living together, failures in citizenship, in character, and many other things; whereas the sporting page is a record of victories. It contains some good news, a commodity so rarely found on the first page."—ED.

I have read your highly illuminating series on the Negro athlete in the predominantly white colleges (The Black Athlete—A Shameful Story, July 1-29) and I confess that I found the situation astonishing. As a Negro and an educator I suppose the reason for my astonishment stems from the fact that the athlete is treated so differently in the predominantly Negro colleges with which I am familiar. These institutions would not admit anyone who did not have good potentiality as a student, and they deal with him as a student first and secondly as an athlete. Such a policy may not make for national championship teams, but it does contribute to the development of educated human beings and socially useful Americans.

The type of "slave" traffic described in the series—the hiring of bodies, exploiting them and discarding them when they are no longer of value—is despicable and demands the immediate attention not only of the coaches but the highest authorities in the colleges and universities involved.

Until the situation is changed, however, the young men with athletic ability who are also hungry for an education will find that the member colleges of the United Negro College Fund and other predominantly Negro colleges will be very pleased to consider their applications. Moreover, those who have the talent and desire to become professional athletes will find that the record indicates that attendance at a predominantly Negro college does not in any way jeopardize their chances.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED deserves the highest commendation and a Pulitzer Prize for having the insight to research the problem, the wisdom to assign a talented reporter to the job and the courage to report the story as it is.
United Negro College Fund, Inc.
New York City

It has been my pleasure to work with Buddy Young, former Baltimore Colt star, in his present capacity as an executive of the National Football League. Young initiated and was the chief creative mind behind the recent association of the NFL and AFL with the world's largest nongovernmental professional employment service, Snelling & Snelling.

Called Career Opportunities, the program opens our 375 offices to professional-caliber football players for placement in business and industry. Moreover, it is designed to assist the many collegiate players who are scouted by the NFL and AFL but aren't up to a tryout at training camp.

We can undoubtedly open hundreds of doors for these young men, white and black alike.
Assistant vice-president
Snelling & Snelling, Inc.
Paoli, Pa.

I must be a tough, insensitive old bird but my sympathies don't quite reach the Negro athlete of the elm-lined campus or the remunerative professional leagues. The countless underprivileged youths of all colors who will never see the inside of a college institution reach me. The poor, the ignored, the orphans of all races in America stir me far more than the carping and wailing of Jack Olsen on the limited social life of the black college athlete. As one of the journalists here in England reminded his readers, the American Negro on the worldwide scale of "haves and have-nots" is on the side of the "haves." The athlete is often the new millionaire. More power to him, but I cannot weep for him.

Let me tell you what does concern me. Children starving in Africa. The TV news here almost nightly documents sights that will haunt me as long as I live. I saw starvation in Korea, but nothing like this.

With the misery, the degradation and slavery that confronts us all, I hope that all Americans will ignore the ignorance, snobbery and prejudice that will never quite be erased and concentrate on the alleviation of the lot of the oppressed throughout the world. It is here that our guilt and its cleansing must be found.
APO New York

Bravo on your article A Summer Hike to Share (July 22) by Rose Mary Mechem. The article and Hanson Carroll's fine pictures not only bring out the strong points in father-son relations but help to illustrate the need for conservation of our God-given country.

I am a Cub master for a pack in Italy and have a 7-year-old son of my own. While taking my son on a 25-mile hike (normal for us) up treacherous rock dominant in this country he said, "Come on, Dad, we have some mountains to climb." I'm still climbing.
FPO, New York

Someday, when one of your writers has the time, I would like him to write me a letter describing wherein lies the greatness of horse racing. I find the thought of intelligent men spending considerable time and effort to cultivate a breed of animals—beautiful as they may be—merely for their displays on a racetrack disgusting, to say the least. The people who persistently attend these races, with their concomitant squandering of supposedly hard-earned wages, present another point of disgust equally well.

The answer to my question is probably related to the fine and artistic tradition of horse racing as well as man's unavoidable compulsion to gamble. Such an answer, however, merely condones both the snobbery and selfishness of the rich as well as the easily curable "disease" of gambling.

The fact is that the world's priorities are changing. Sport's priorities are changing as well. We can no longer afford the aggrandizement of man's trivial activities and cults. Sport should be something that invigorates the body and builds character. It should not be considered the exclusive mystique of the rich, as is horse racing.

I'm gonna keep yelling my head off until someone like Ye Old Compleat Horseman answers. To wit: Is something seriously wrong with U.S. horse racing? Does pounding around the same dinky, iron-hard oval day after day hurt the horse? Break his legs? Drive him crazy? Has the whole scene been cheapened because distance racing has been curtailed?

And since today's Thoroughbred rarely goes more than a mile and a half or carries 130 pounds, how do you rate him? By money earned? Balderdash. Nowadays almost any run-of-the-mill plug can earn more loot in one afternoon than Man o' War could in a whole season.

I don't expect to get my answer from the Establishment. No. What I have in mind is the disinterested observer, the old-line horsy type who is in racing for the fun of it.

How dare Mike Duffy attack Denny McLain in SI's August 12 letters section? He implies that the Tiger hitting is responsible for Denny's success. As Denny won his 25th victory last week, batting averages for the leading Tiger hitters stood at .274 for Horton and Kaline, .254 for McAuliffe and .251 for Freehan. That is hardly the kind of hitting to provide for a 25-3 record.

On the contrary, Denny McLain has steadied an erratic pitching staff and he will be the chief reason why the Tigers win the pennant this year.
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

I was overjoyed to read Frank Deford's article on the National Flycasting League (My Battle for Our Rightful Place at the Top, July 22). Unfortunately, Commissioner Ford Frump did not cover the current problems that are facing this great sport and perhaps you can give me further information on the following points:

1) Whether it is true, "as their opponents alleged," that the Oakland Sea Lions are using the spit fly.

2) That Owner Horace Sturgeon is planning to move his franchise because of the competition from night heron racing.

3) The claim by players that this year's fish are much deader than those of the past seasons, and they have no chance of passing the fabulous Babe Roe's one-season record.

4) The dispute on whether the intentional tangle should be made automatic in order to speed up the game.

5) The decision by some owners to shorten the ponds to help their weak casters.

6) The players' demand for a bigger share for the use of their pictures on bait cards.

7) The reason that Sandy Codfish retired in his prime.

I am sure millions of other fans, in addition to myself, are interested in these vital questions. I sleep better at night knowing that Ford Frump is in the Whale House.
Oakland, Calif.

I feel a warm surge of emotion every time I read a story dealing with a sport that is close to my heart. I felt this when I read the great piece by Joan Gould about Long Island Sound sailboat racing (Wind from the Northeast, Aug. 12).

The descriptions of the race were very accurate and familiar, right down to the roast beef sandwich from the delicatessen. The descriptions of the northeaster were equally true. I thank you for a story that a wonderful group of people can identify with.
Harrison, N.Y.

In his article on the 1968 PGA Championship (The Junkman Cools It, July 29), Dan Jenkins indicated that Aronimink Golf Club of Newtown Square, Pa. is considered a "freaky" golf course. I have been playing golf for about 30 years now, and it has always been my impression that to be classified as freaky a golf course must have some rather odd features, such as creeks wandering through fairways, trees in the middle of fairways, traps or unusual dogleg holes, all of which contribute to the necessity to play other than a standard, normal type of golf. Aronimink has no creeks at all, no trees in any fairway, no traps in any fairway, no dogleg holes that can be driven over or through and no par-4s more than 450 yards in length. It is a course that measures less than 7,000 yards from the back tees and is scenically quite attractive.

I would rather assume that your golf editor has never laid eyes on Aronimink and obtained his misinformation from some disgruntled "pro" attempting to excuse his own ineptness. However, look at the damage that has been done. In the Philadelphia area one does not belong to a freaky golf club, as that is just not the thing to do.
Radnor, Pa.