As Alabama alumni, we deplore your treatment of Coach Bear Bryant, the University of Alabama and the state of Alabama ("I Do Love the Football," Nov. 23). In our opinion, the article falsely represented all three and is insulting to everyone concerned.
DR. AND MRS. ALEX C. MILLER JR.
I commend Frank Deford on a fine article. Here at the University of Alabama, the Bear is considered godlike, so it is refreshing to finally discover his human side. His being human certainly does not take away from the greatness of the legendary coach, as his outstanding record will attest.
JOEY H. JOHNSON
I felt that I'd seen your Nov. 16 cover of the Larry Holmes-Renaldo Snipes bout somewhere before, so I dug into my back files of SI, and I found a very similar cover and caption on your Oct. 8, 1979 issue. The victim in that fight was Earnie Shavers, but the message was the same: Holmes comes off the canvas to win. I wonder how many more such covers Holmes will grace before the world recognizes a real champion.
Controversies such as the one engendered by the Holmes-Snipes fight (The Night They Called It a Daze, Nov. 16) could be avoided if boxing would adopt a technical-knockdown rule. Under such a rule, the referee would declare a technical knockdown instead of a technical knockout if it appeared that a fighter's incapacity might be only temporary. The fighter inflicting the technical knockdown would be sent to a neutral corner, while his opponent would take a mandatory eight-count. The bout would be resumed only if the boxer receiving the TKD could continue. A boxer would be permitted to receive only one TKD in a bout.
Such a rule would eliminate the inequity that gives a boxer who is knocked down a respite, while a boxer who remains standing gets none at all.
REX H. ROWAND
IN DEFENSE OF BC
The thoroughly outrageous SCORECARD item (Nov. 16) about three former Boston College athletes who allegedly have gone wrong demands a response. I view the Rick Kuhn-Kenny Smith-Jack Concannon developments as most unfortunate and grant that their coincidental occurrence is sufficiently ironic to be newsworthy. If these ex-Eagles are proved guilty, then discussing them within a "bad luck" or "bad apple" theme would make sense. But it is absolutely ludicrous to imply that Boston College is culpable. In your eagerness to be sensational, you failed to mention the clearest irony: that the government's prosecution in the Kuhn point-shaving case is being argued by a Boston College graduate, Edward A. McDonald, who also played a little freshman basketball at the Heights.
During the very week of your Boston College item, the starting fullback for Alabama became the subject of an arrest warrant after allegedly punctuating a traffic-related argument with classmates by leveling a shotgun blast into their car. Did the University of Alabama "impart the notion" that ordinary rules do not apply to him? Of course not; he acted as an individual.
I take comfort only from the fact that the damage you have inflicted on my alma mater will be minimized by the foolishness of your charges.
JOHN J. WEBBER
Boston College '69
In response to your supposition that special treatment at Boston College may account for the alleged illegal activities of a few of that school's former athletes, please note the following graduates who played varsity sports at BC: Tom Condon, offensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs and a law school graduate; Edward J. King, former middle guard of the Baltimore Colts and now governor of Massachusetts; Joseph F. Maguire, former Boston College hockey and baseball player and now bishop of Springfield, Mass. And there are many more.
JOHN R. OSBORN
As an alumnus of Northwestern University (class of '79), I was interested in the article O and 29 and Still Counting (Nov. 16), which graphically described the demise of our football program. Those awaiting an onslaught of fresh recruits to reverse what has now become a tradition of losing (13-85-1 over nine years, or .131) had better refrain from holding their breath as long as the school's administration imposes unrealistic admission standards on student-athletes and labors under the misconception that a squad of Phi Beta Kappas can stay on the same field with Ohio State et al. On a less practical, more philosophical level, it seems grossly unfair to impose stringent recruiting standards on the one hand and remain in the Big Ten on the other. To add insult to injury, Northwestern played two games outside the Big Ten, against Arkansas (8-3) and Utah (8-2-1).
I hope my alma mater will either adopt a realistic attitude and relax admission standards for athletes or drop back and punt the football program.
After reading of the troubles plaguing the Northwestern football team and University President Robert H. Strotz's explanation for those troubles, it is easy to understand why they exist. Strotz is oversimplifying the situation if, as you reported, he attributes North-western's football failings to lower academic standards at other schools and Northwestern's lack of a physical education major or any courses of study in which jocks can hide. Other schools have high academic standards and still enjoy success in athletics. As for courses in which jocks can hide, anyone who majors in physical education takes courses such as anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics, statistics, research, etc. that offer students few places to hide.
By maligning physical education, Strotz may have given us a hint as to how to solve the problem at Northwestern: Find a president who understands the role of athletics in education.
MICHAEL T. VOGL
In your article on Northwestern football, I was quoted as saying I was a "Sophist" when asked what school of philosophical thought I found solace in. The Sophists were a group of pre-Socratic philosophers who were teachers of rhetoric and philosophy. What I described myself as was a solipsist, not a Sophist.
Northwestern Football Team
Why don't you put Northwestern on the cover? Perhaps the famous SI cover "jinx" will work in reverse!
West Chester, Pa.
Medora Goes to The Game (Nov. 16) by George Plimpton is one of the most heartwarming and entertaining articles I've ever read. It reminded me of the time I took my 4-year-old nephew, Dylan, to a Philadelphia Phillies game. When the Phillies staged a late-inning rally to win, I found myself cheering and yelling to Dylan, "The Phillies won, they won!" An unimpressed Dylan looked up at me and said, "Why?"
Haddon Heights, N.J.
George Plimpton has written thousands of entertaining words telling us that he's no champion athlete, but in a few pages he has established himself as a world-class father.
What a lovely story about Medora! Did she ever get her horse for Christmas and, if so, what did she call it?
New York City
•Alas, Medora didn't get her horse, but in the course of the year, her likes have changed.
Her father says, "Her interests have gone to water completely. For this Christmas she wants a Sunfish and a pet duck."—ED.
Please tell George Plimpton not to abandon his hopes for his daughter to attend Harvard. I believe he's on the right track. At any rate, it worked with me.
I, too, was a young girl when my father first took me to "The Game"—not Harvard-Yale, but Michigan vs. Ohio State. Not unlike Plimpton, my father wanted desperately to impress me—with the Michigan campus, The Game and the aura of the Maize and Blue. Alas, Michigan lost that year.
I remember awkward moments when my father tried to explain that we were for Michigan; we only lived in Ohio. And that I shouldn't sing the Ohio State song, just The Victors. He told me about Fielding Yost, the Elliott brothers and the blizzard at Columbus in 1950. Mostly, I remember that Michigan lost, that we had been rooting for the losing team. "Wait till next year," Father said.
The "next years" in Ann Arbor or Columbus worked their magic. My father no longer has to take me. And should anyone ever want to know about third-and-10, any of my three sisters or I will be delighted to explain it.
MARY CLARK YOURA
New York City
It was Tad Jones, not Ted Coy, who told his Yale football teams that never again in their lives would they do anything as important as playing football against Harvard.
George Plimpton quotes Alex Karras complaining about the Rams' helmet logo being "designed by some interior decorator in Pasadena." It was designed by the onetime Ram halfback and former Denver Bronco general manager and vice-president, Fred Gehrke, who, even now, at 63, would stand a good chance of putting an overstuffed movie actor flat on his well-upholstered behind.
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