VIEWS OF THE FIGHT
Your pictorial coverage of the showdown (On Top of the World, Sept. 28) was brilliant. As for Pat Putnam's article, it was most accurate. To think that Ray Leonard could have lost that fight, had it gone the full 15 rounds, because of the incompetence of those so-called judges is disgusting. I saw the bout, and it's obvious from their scoring that the judges weren't watching the same fight I was. Hats off to Referee Davey Pearl for having the courage to stop it before Thomas Hearns was seriously hurt, although I feel he missed one knockdown that cost Leonard points.
Sugar Ray is one of the greatest fighters of all time, in any weight class. He has fought and beaten them all and has always been a man to be respected and admired.
In his preview of the Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns fight (Sugar Should Frost Him, Sept. 14), Pat Putnam gave Hearns less than a bum-off-the-street's chance of beating Leonard. Then in the postfight story he wrote as if Hearns never showed anything. We don't know what fight Putnam was watching, but it sure wasn't the same one we attended.
Being from the Detroit area, we went to Las Vegas believing Hearns was invincible, but after the fight we found that although he isn't unbeatable, he's still a great fighter and he showed a lot of heart in a bout in which your writer gave him no chance. This had to be the most biased report we've seen since Rosie Casals covered the Bobby Riggs-Billie Jean King tennis match for ABC-TV.
I'm a Leonard fan. Pat Putnam was correct when he stated that Leonard dominated the rounds he won. He was correct when he said that Hearns almost went down in the seventh round. But he was dead wrong with respect to almost everything else. In my opinion, Leonard didn't "dominate" the fight; the first five rounds, four of which I felt Hearns won, weren't "dull"; and Leonard didn't transform Hearns into a "bewildered and largely ineffectual fighter." Maybe I went to the wrong fight, because what I saw was nonstop action from start to finish. Hearns proved he could box; Leonard proved he could punch. Both proved they were champions.
ACID PRECIPITATION (CONT.)
Allow me to commend Robert H. Boyle on his thoughtful article An American Tragedy (Sept. 21). He did an encyclopedic job of documenting acid precipitation—one of the most critical environmental problems facing the Northeastern states.
It is clear that this is a national problem, transcending geographic and political boundaries. For more than five years, New York State, at the direction of Governor Hugh L. Carey, has been the leader in seeking a satisfactory federal solution. We have assembled a wealth of scientific evidence to document the fact that wind-transported pollution from Midwestern states is a major cause of our acid precipitation problem.
Now we have a unique opportunity to do something about it. The federal Clean Air Act expires this year and its extension is currently before Congress. The problem of long-range transport of pollutants, ignored in the earlier versions of the statute, must be addressed.
The time for action is now. To delay any longer can only result in additional destruction of the environment here in New York State, as well as in the entire Northeast.
ROBERT F. FLACKE
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Robert H. Boyle's presentation of the acid precipitation crisis—and it is no less than a crisis—focused a bright light on corporate responsibility. I would tend to disagree only with Boyle's assertion that "environmental consciousness often makes good economic sense." In the long run, it always makes good economic sense. Industrial production can continue only as long as the ecosystem is capable of absorbing its by-products. No amount of corporate P.R. work will ever change that.
Robert H. Boyle's commentary on acid precipitation leaves the impression—a false one—that all American electric utilities have done little, if anything, to control sulfur dioxide emissions. Northern States Power Company (NSP), the major electricity generator in the Upper Midwest, has over the last 10 years cut its total sulfur dioxide emissions by 50% while doubling its electric production. We did it by increasing the proportion of nuclear power generation (44% during the first half of 1981) and by installing massive and costly ($228 million) pollution-control equipment. We were among the first American utilities to burn low-sulfur Western coal and install scrubbers, which allow us to meet not only federal sulfur dioxide limits, but also Minnesota's more stringent regulations.
Several Minnesota and Wisconsin electric utilities, including NSP, are doing extensive acid-rain research. Specially designed equipment will gather data on composition of rain to determine where airborne pollutants originate. Test areas include the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota.
We need more facts before we label utilities as the major source of acid rain. Meanwhile, our company will continue to install equipment designed to protect the environment.
Senior Vice-President, Corporate Affairs
Northern States Power Company
THE SPRINGBOKS' VISIT
A response must be made to the article by Clive Gammon on the South African Springboks vs. Midwest select side rugby game (A Game They May Remember, Sept. 28). As an organizer of the event and a member of the Racine-Kenosha Rugby Club, I feel that this article has done us a grave injustice. First, while I appreciate being called a kid—after an 80-minute match, my 33-year-old bones hardly feel sprightly—I don't appreciate our being pictured as a group of innocent babes being led into some sinister woods by the U.S. Rugby Union. In fact, the entire club had discussed all aspects of the game, including its international consequences. As rugby players, we felt that we would be privileged to host a match involving Midwest players against one of the world's greatest rugby sides. We considered this no more than an excellent sporting event. This was not a racist or political statement by any of those concerned.
Second, it should be pointed out that administrators of American rugby did not choose the site. The field we used, which is located in a black community, is one that we have played on regularly for the past four years. We have always had excellent relations with our neighbors and we hope to continue that practice. Because of our consideration for those neighbors, we had hoped to play the match on one of several other fields but were denied that right by city administrators in Kenosha, Racine and Lake Geneva, Wis. Any one of these fields also would have been better for security purposes and would have held more spectators.
While we meant no offense to any of the fine black people in Racine, the Racine-Kenosha Rugby Club is proud to have hosted this important match which will only further American rugby. We wish that SI had reported it as a sporting event instead of the two pages of political reporting we read.
Finally, I might say that my green '54 Olds is not "battered."
ERIC J. OLSON
I wouldn't walk across the street to watch a rugby game, but I will defend to the death anyone's right to play one anywhere in this country. If we really have to become as repressive as South Africa in order to preserve the Los Angeles Olympic Games, then the Games will just have to go, that's all. And if the Springboks' tour of the U.S. has really "crippled forever the Olympic movement," then the Olympic movement must already have been suffering from a terminal case of the blind staggers and deserves to be put out of its misery, anyhow.
But it ain't gonna happen. The 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles will surely survive this piddling visit by the Springboks. As the late Senator Everett Dirksen once said of a J.F.K.-backed bill before Congress, it will have "all the impact of a snowflake on the bosom of the Potomac." You're overreacting, SI.
ALFRED J. HANLON
Three cheers for SI! I was one of the organizers for the Yale rugby team's 1981 tour of Zimbabwe, and I believe the U.S. made a horrendous mistake by extending an invitation to the South African national rugby team to tour the country. The actions of the Supreme Court and the U.S. Rugby Union have placed an indelible stain on the international sporting scene. My commitment to the rugby fraternity has been seriously called into question!
New Haven, Conn.
IN SUPPORT OF WISCONSIN
As Wisconsin fans, we haven't had much to cheer about since 1962. Now, when we finally have an exciting team to root for, what do you do? You inform us of incidents that don't even relate to the Michigan game (Doing a Number on No. 1, Sept. 21). You took the sweetness out of the victory over the then top-ranked Wolverines and left us with a bitter taste. Where's your class, SI? Let us savor the win.
Wisconsin may be under investigation for recruiting violations. However, if the Badgers are proved guilty, it will mean nothing, as they would not be the only NCAA team ever to violate recruiting laws. I will not discontinue my support of Wisconsin, but after this article I will discontinue my subscription to SI. Please send me a refund.
JUDE G. GOSZ
Alexander Wolff's article about Les Keiter's re-creation of baseball games (SIDELINE, Sept. 7) triggered many strong memories for me, because Keiter played an important part in my becoming a baseball fan. Growing up in Brooklyn in 1958, I became a regular listener when Keiter was in New York broadcasting San Francisco Giants games, shortly after the team had been moved to the Coast. I can still recall lying in bed late one night, fighting sleep and listening to Juan Marichal pitch a one-hitter against the Phillies in his major league debut.
I didn't know that these broadcasts were recreations, but at age eight I doubt that I would have cared. I was having much too much fun making entries on my homemade scorecards. Keiter's imagery made the games vivid, and that's all anyone really wants from a radio sports announcer. It's nice to know that Keiter is still putting that imagination to good use.
About a year and a half ago, I had an interview with Les Keiter, one of my boyhood idols, during my radio talk show. It was one of the most enjoyable 20 minutes I've ever spent.
One thing not brought out in the article was that Keiter was, in my opinion, one of the best live-broadcast fight announcers. I vividly recollect his calling the second Floyd Patterson-Ingemar Johansson fight, in which Patterson regained the title.
I miss his voice.
Congratulations on recognizing Louisiana's five current native-son NFL quarterbacks—Terry Bradshaw, Joe Ferguson, Bert Jones, Doug Williams and David Woodley (SCORECARD, Sept. 7). More amazing, though, is the fact that Bradshaw, Ferguson and Woodley all played and starred at Shreveport, La. high schools. Not bad for a city with a population of around 200,000. Now take it a step further and do a feature article on the NFL players who hail from within an 80-mile radius of Shreveport: Pat Tilley, Roger Carr, Fred Dean, Petey Perot, Roland Harper and Carlos Pennywell, to name a few. I think your readers would enjoy it.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.