MICHEAL RAY'S EXAMPLE
Thank you for Bill Brubaker's story on Micheal Ray Richardson (Bittersweet, Feb. 4), the best all-around guard in basketball today. I was moved by the concern of the many people who helped Richardson get his career and life back on track. Without their assistance, he might be on skid row.
I wish all troubled pro athletes could receive the help the NBA offers. Let's hope that John Drew, John Lucas and others with problems can use Richardson as an example of how to beat drugs.
By the way, by being selected to the East squad for last Sunday's All-Star Game, Richardson has climbed another rung on his comeback ladder.
As president of Capital Systems, International, a firm that represents and manages NBA players, I commend you for your story on Micheal Ray Richardson. It is a tragedy that so many players with outstanding ability fall into the fast-lane life-style, as Richardson did. I hope that with more education at the college level, some of the drug and emotional problems can be solved.
JEFFREY L. SADLAK
Capital Systems, International
The real tragedy of Micheal Ray is painfully illustrated by his handwritten autobiography. It is our shame. Our entire system used Micheal Ray. Were his coaches any more worried about his literacy than his agents?
Micheal Ray is society's product. He has a limited command of English because We have our priorities askew. We know Micheal Ray's story all too well.
Fountain Valley, Calif.
Bill Brubaker's Bittersweet is by far the best article I have ever read. I have never cared for athletes who couldn't handle the cash or success, but Micheal Ray seems different. He was too naive and shy to say no. I am still not all that sympathetic, but I am more understanding. I think anyone who is waiting for Micheal Ray to falter again will have a long wait.
Why feature someone as troubled as Micheal Ray Richardson when there are other athletes who play their games as well and certainly live their lives in a more respectable manner than Richardson? Stick to the features on such reputable players as Bert Blyleven (Baseball's Dutch Treat, Jan. 28). I prefer to read about an athlete who has made the best of the opportunity afforded him by professional sports and who has also channeled some of his good fortune in the direction of helping others.
I do not feel sorry for Micheal Ray Richardson, period!
GEORGE W. KERDOLFF
I was delighted to read Roger Jackson's item on Tougaloo College (BASKETBALL'S WEEK, Jan. 28) and not simply because I am an alumnus of that school (class of '81). Tougaloo coach Jerry Lewis and athletic director James Coleman should be applauded for canceling the last 20 games of this season because nine of their 12 varsity players were failing to meet the school's scholarship standards. At a time when academic norms are constantly being bent for athletes, it is nice to know that someone considers them important.
J.B. CARTER III
Moss Point, Miss.
Steve Wulf's article on Doug Flutie's agreeing to sign with the USFL Generals (Mr. Touchdown Scores Again, Feb. 4) shows me once again that the NFL is out to lunch. By its total inaction in the case of Doug Flutie, the NFL proved that it is interested only in profit and not in providing exciting and entertaining football.
Pro scouts and executives from some NFL teams have questioned Flutie's size, his drop-back passing ability, etc. Let's not forget that many of these so-called experts thought Dan Marino and Joe Montana weren't worth first-round draft picks either. Do we really need any more evidence that Flutie will be a great pro quarterback?
After watching the mediocre play of the NFL this year, I hope that the NFL has the wisdom to seek a merger with the USFL. A truly major league would not pass up three Heisman Trophy winners in a row and still consider itself No. 1.
THE REV. CHARLES F. SCHREINER, PH.D.
Gig Harbor, Wash.
I was one of those people who had extremely high hopes for the USFL when it was born three years ago. Now it's just another dying swan. Contract clauses guaranteeing salaries even if the USFL folds tell you all you need to know. It becomes increasingly obvious that the USFL's stars are more interested in money than football.
Call me a dreamer, but I was hoping Doug Flutie was above that.
FRANK W. KIBLER
In defense of the Buffalo Bills, perhaps their indifference toward Doug Flutie was a message that management is finally going to commit itself to fielding a competitive team. The Bills could have signed Flutie, sold extra tickets for one year and still lost games. However, it appears that in the draft Buffalo is going to seek help where it needs it most: on defense. Remember, even back in the good ol' days when O.J. Simpson and company were among the league leaders in offense, the Bills still often couldn't make the playoffs because their defense was so bad. We fans don't need an overpaid, undersized, untested $7 million man, we need someone who is oversized and can tackle.
BUFFALO BUD BLOAM
St. Marys, Pa.
REMEMBERING ADAM WALSH
In FOR THE RECORD (Jan. 21) I noted with sadness the death of Adam Walsh. The heroes and deeds of yesterday are diminished by time, so I am not surprised that you did not observe in a more substantive way the passing of a football giant.
You mentioned Walsh's having been honored as NFL Coach of the Year in 1945, when he was with the Cleveland Rams, and you did explain that he was a college coach for many seasons as well. However, I wonder how many of your readers are aware that in 1924 Walsh was captain of one of Knute Rockne's most outstanding Notre Dame teams; that, as the leader of the Seven Mules, he centered the line that ensured immortality for the Four Horsemen; and that he played throughout that season with the pain of broken bones in both hands, displaying a courage and stamina unknown to today's athletes.
Football was only part of Walsh's life. As a staunch Democrat, he represented the people of Maine in the state legislature. He was appointed a U.S. marshal in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy and again in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Last spring Bowdoin College, where he coached football for 20 years, awarded him an honorary degree.
Walsh was my coach at Bowdoin. I never really got to know him well, and I doubt that any of his other players did either. He was an extremely private person. However, what we did know at the time and what we still remember with great pride is that Walsh was one of those rare men of a long-past era who with courage and daring built the traditions and set the standards that have made football what it is today.
GERARD O. HAVILAND
The comments of Jeremiah Tax (BOOKTALK, Jan. 28) regarding the outstanding golf writer Bernard Darwin were of great interest to me. According to an obituary published in the Oct. 20, 1961 edition of the London Daily Telegraph and Morning Post, Darwin was born in Down, Kent in 1876 and educated at Eton and Cambridge, where he captained the golf team in 1897. In the first Walker Cup in 1922, he was a last-minute substitute for Great Britain and Ireland, replacing team captain Robert Harris, who fell ill. He won his singles match.
He was considered (at least by Geoffrey Dawson, editor of the Times of London, for which Darwin was the golf correspondent for 39 years) as the best English essayist since Charles Lamb. Despite his devotion to golf, he knew when his day's work was completed. Darwin's report of the second round of the [British] Open Championship in 1934 in Sandwich, at which Henry Cotton was last to go out, concluded, "I saw T.H. Cotton start, 3, 3, and then it was time to go home to tea." Cotton went on to shoot a record 65.
Darwin died on Oct. 18, 1961 at the age of 85. His books are among the most treasured that golf collectors have in their libraries.
DON SCHUSTER, M.D.
It was with mixed emotions that I saw my name in Steve Wulf's fine article on Bert Blyleven (Baseball's Dutch Treat, Jan. 28). It's true that, as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1971, I entered the on-deck circle without my bat. However, I doubt I am "the only man in baseball history" to have done this. If, indeed, there are others, I would be delighted to share the honor.
FOOT SOLDIERS (CONT.)
Since reading Foot Soldiers Of Fortune (Jan. 23, 1984) by Jack McCallum with Armen Keteyian about shoe endorsements, I have paid particular attention to the footwear of various pro athletes. Thus, I could not help but notice that although the 49ers' Derrick Harmon (LEADING OFF, Jan. 28 and at right) had taped his shoes, the manufacturers' logo is still visible. I wonder if shoe manufacturers also provide decals for players who tape over the logo. Considering what some athletes are paid to endorse shoes, I would not be surprised if they are required to tattoo logos on their feet.
GEORGE BRANDT III
•A check with 49er equipment manager Bronco Hinek revealed no decals or tattoos. However, it confirmed that the Converse insignia was stenciled on Harmon's taped shoes, a practice that Keteyian found to be widespread in the NFL. Hinek says he makes his stencils by tracing a logo on a piece of paper and then making a cardboard cutout of it. In Harmon's case, Hinek used a red Magic Marker to get the Converse color. "I have all of them," he says, "Nike, Puma, even a kangaroo." The last was added to Hinek's collection when he worked the 1984 Pro Bowl and Walter Payton, under contract to Kangaroos, taped his shoes.—ED.
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.