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Original Issue



Congratulations on Robert H. Boyle's blockbuster article A Rain of Death on the Striper? (April 23). I will make a prediction that this article will do more for responsible decisions on acid rain than anything done past, present or future. You have made the striper the equivalent of the canary that the coal miners used in 19th-century Wales. Bob Boyle continues to be a giant-killer!
Chairman of the Board of Directors
The National Audubon Society
New York City

After reading Frank Deford's article on Bob (Bull) (Cyclone) Sullivan, The Toughest Coach There Ever Was (April 30), I was touched. It's sad to think of a politician like Stumpy Harbour bringing a man to his knees like that.

However, I don't have any sympathy at all for Bull when it comes to the way he treated his players. Why run them off? Why degrade them? Why not just cut them or say there are not enough uniforms to go around? Why disillusion these young men and ruin a fun part of their lives for no apparent reason?

There is no more room for coaches like Bull in any sport at any level. They can't take it upon themselves to rule, crush and demean a person's spirit. Give me the great coaches who can run a business but still treat people right, who can leave the enjoyment in the game and still win—men like Bill Walsh and Tom Flores. Close the book on the Bull Cyclones.
San Francisco

•Reader Stickles, a Notre Dame All-America, was a tight end for the San Francisco 49ers (1960-67) and for the New Orleans Saints (1968).—ED.

Frank Deford's wonderful story about Bob (Bull) (Cyclone) Sullivan belongs, from now on, between the rich leather covers of an anthology of classic American literature.

When television comes begging for screen rights, Deford should refuse and sell them to the movies instead. He should demand that George C. Scott portray Sullivan, because, like George Patton, Sullivan knew his destiny. The parallels between the general and the football coach are unmistakable. Both were Blood and Guts. Their demands on themselves and on their men were remarkably similar. Each was an uncompromising, unrelenting, truly successful leader of men. Each was hated. Each was loved, even by those who hated him. Both the four-star general and the five-star coach never stopped grieving for their war dead.

There is another parallel. When Patton's first love—combat—ended, he knew somehow that his end was near. So it was for coach Sullivan, and of course, sadly, both warriors were right.

I agree Sullivan's end was tragic. But, the man left his mark, and it seems those who knew him celebrate his life.
Homewood, Ill.

Imagine, if you will, that you've spent months working on a very important feature article. You're proud of your work on it. You tell friends to be on the lookout for it. Finally, it appears and—you can't believe it! Somehow, some way, your name has been left off the piece. Totally omitted! And everybody else involved has gotten credit but you.

Imagine that, and you'll know how I felt after reading Ron Fimrite's story on The Natural (A Star with Real Clout, May 7), in which you portray Roger Towne as the sole screenwriter. This is untrue and unfair.

The fact is that Towne and I share equal credit for the screenplay, a credit determined by the Writers Guild of America. It reads: "Screenplay by Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry." That's how it appears in the film itself; that's how it's listed in trailers, advertising and promotion. Please set the record straight.
New York City

•SI apologizes to reader Dusenberry. At the time our story closed and again last week, Mark Johnson, the producer of the movie, assured us that the script they used was exclusively Towne's. However, Towne has since said that Dusenberry's "contribution to the script was significant, for which I am deeply grateful."—ED.

I enjoyed Ron Fimrite's article on The Natural, as I do most of Fimrite's stories. However, I must comment on a couple of minor points.

The Pride of St. Louis, starring my late uncle, Dan Dailey, as Dizzy Dean, could be viewed as a "soupy biography" or, in a better light, as a sympathetic portrait of a true American character.

At any rate, Uncle Dan was, if not a baseball player, certainly a good athlete. He golfed, skin-dived and was an excellent horseman. He also did some dancing (hoofing, he would call it), which required a fair amount of coordination and stamina.

Uncle Dan told me that he had more fun making Pride than any other movie in which he appeared. During the filming, he took infield practice and was involved in pepper games with the real Cardinals, and he held his own.

Not once did Uncle Dan ever mention nuclear fission.
Novato, Calif.

Please look again at the team photograph of the fictitious New York Knights on page 103 of your May 7 issue. I realize it's only a movie, but what baseball team has its team picture taken during the bottom half of the eighth inning with one man out and a batter up? I wonder if "plate umpire No. 2" held up the game long enough for the photo session.

Of course, with Pittsburgh leading 9-0, maybe the Knights figured: "What the hell; let's get our picture taken!"

I realize that I'm probably only the 14,773rd reader to spot this incongruity!
Libertyville, Ill.

Thanks to Bruce Newman for his excellent profile of Soviet émigré basketball star Max Blank (From Russia with Love, April 30). In the next four years I expect to read about Max leading George Washington University to the kind of prominence enjoyed by its D.C. neighbor, Georgetown, and, with luck, see his name where Patrick Ewing's was this year, in a story on the 1988 Olympic basketball trials. But even if Max doesn't reach these heights, he's already a true All-America.
Newton, Mass.

Hurrah for Bruce Newman's movable Jewish feast. Hurrah for Dostoyevskian families like the Blanks, with their triumphs and tragedies, their Marta the bear, Margot the magician, Cossacks, lilacs in Fontana Street and their escape to a better life. Hurrah for Max and his glorious future, his "Jew Jew" White and "suntanned" sidekick Curtis Reed. The kid's certainly American, to the max. A great motion picture is waiting to be born from Newman's epic. Mazel tov to all concerned! And to those who remain behind, we're rooting for your freedom day and night.
Miami Beach

It's about time someone listed the faults of the North American Soccer League (The NASL: It's Alive but on Death Row, May 7). With owners who haven't even heard of FIFA, it's no wonder the NASL is eroding away. For the information of Carl Berg, owner of the Golden Bay Earthquakes, Liverpool, one of the greatest teams in the world at present, plays with great skill and excitement. How dare a man like Berg, who had never cared to see a soccer game before 1982, malign such a team?

FIFA should never let the NASL fool with the rules. If 150 countries can play under FIFA's rules, why can't the NASL? The league wouldn't be "gurgling down the tubes" if North America were shown real soccer!
Bradenton, Fla.

By distinguishing all that is exciting and beautiful in soccer from all that is not in its American professional incarnation, Clive Gammon has performed an invaluable service. The future of soccer in the U.S. lies not with the NASL and its peculiar brand of crass commercialism, but with "the army of young soccer players" currently enjoying the game.
New Haven, Conn.

I was dismayed by the article by Clive Gammon, which purports to explain the many reasons for the near demise of the NASL. Gammon is another of the closed-minded "experts" who put the blame on everything from the players to the owners to artificial turf. What they can't admit is the simple fact that outdoor soccer fails in the U.S. because it's boring. While the NASL plods along with talk of "world sport," the Major Indoor Soccer League has spruced up the staid European game and made it fun to watch. We Americans shouldn't be ashamed of our preference for excitement. Our heritage is one of innovation.
St. Charles, Mo.

The SPORTS R article by Larry McLaren on knee braces, which ran in select editions of your March 26 issue, was misleading.

First, there are no quick sports medicine fixes, especially for ailing knees. Selecting and fitting the proper knee brace is just not as simple as SI would have it.

Second, McLaren's assessment of our Lenox Hill Derotation brace was based on the incomplete data published in the September-October 1983 issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine. The study to which he referred reported test results of braces that, for the most part, were not made by the Lenox Hill Brace Shop, but by the U.S. Air Force Orthopedic Shop.

It is grossly improper and unfair to attribute test results to the Lenox Hill brace based on a simulated brace of inferior quality. We have of course complained directly to the authors of the study through our counsel and subsequently received an acknowledgement of the inadvertent infringement of our trademark.

The Lenox Hill is a time-tested brace that has been used successfully postoperatively, after injuries and even to prevent injury. We hope you will not mislead your readers into seeking easy answers to their knee problems. We agree that something must be done to prevent injuries, but not without the advice of a qualified physician.
Vice President
Lenox Hill Brace Shop, Inc.
New York City

•McLaren, who has had seven knee operations himself, is well aware that there are no quick fixes for knee problems, and he had no intention of suggesting that there were. However, neither McLaren nor SI was aware that test results attributed in the study to the Lenox Hill brace included results of braces not made by Lenox Hill.—ED.


Bull was not unlike Blood and Guts Patton.

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.