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Original Issue


You should be commended for Robert H. Boyle's thorough, and hair-raising, Forecast for Disaster (Nov. 16). Mankind has a history of waiting until disaster is imminent before taking decisive action. This brinksmanship may be effective in cases of localized calamities, but not with problems of global proportions. The scenarios beginning to unfold are so potentially devastating that they should supersede just about all of mankind's other fears, with the exception of thermonuclear war. The sheer magnitude of this threat demands awareness and agitation on the part of private citizens, and decisive action on the part of world governments.
San Gabriel, Calif.

Locked into our narrow points of view, we tend to think of our planet in much the same way as we think of the kitchen sink: Once the mess has drained, it has somehow gone away. Unfortunately, as Paul Weitz, who was aboard the first Skylab in 1973 and who commanded the sixth shuttle mission in 1983, observed, our earth seems to have changed from a blue to a gray planet. The poisons don't go away for the simple reason that the earth is a closed system. In fact, our garbage is returning to us in ways we never before imagined.

One more fact to consider: We don't yet understand the effect of ultraviolet light on the oceans' phytoplankton, and since we derive some 60% to 70% of our oxygen through the photosynthesis of these sensitive organisms, we may be quickly putting ourselves out of our own misery. Thanks for an important article.
Science Teacher
Lake Forest (Ill.) Country Day School

I am delighted to see SI demonstrate an interest in the crucial issues of ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect. It is imperative that the general public understand how critical these environmental concerns are and the implications of our failure to act.

As your article suggests, ozone depletion is not a frivolous issue, nor is it something that will correct itself through benign neglect. I commend your efforts to provide your many readers with the information necessary to understand this complex subject.
Secretary of State
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

If Peter Gammons wants to create an MVPPC—Most Valuable Player on a Pennant Contender—award, then the Cardinals' Ozzie Smith and the Expos' Tim Wallach would be worthy candidates (SCORECARD, Nov. 30). But players from every team should have an equal chance of being selected MVP. Why should the Cubs' Andre Dawson be penalized for playing on a poor ball club? If anything, achieving what he did with the lack of support around him enhances his accomplishments. I don't mean to belittle Smith's fine season, but batting behind the base-stealing Vince Coleman and ahead of the power-hitting Jack Clark didn't leave Ozzie facing many 3-1 curveballs. Dawson had the best season, hands down, of any player in the National League. Let him enjoy the MVP award without cheap shots.
Tempe, Ariz.

Since when has Austin Murphy become the Earl Blackwell of the NHL? How dare he criticize the New Jersey Devil uniforms as ugly (Having a Devil of a Time, Nov. 23).

Uniforms aside, I am glad SI gave credit to former general manager Max McNab as well as to his successor, Lou Lamoriello. McNab resisted the temptation to trade away draft picks for quick fixes. To Lamoriello's credit, he has filled out the rest of the puzzle.
West Caldwell, N.J.

Let me get this straight. Curry Kirkpatrick (They're Jumping for Joy, College Basketball '87-88, Nov. 18) applauds the good folks of Laramie, Wyo., who applaud the efforts of their gifted black players, who stick out like a sore thumb at a school that clearly wants them for one purpose only. (Or are we to believe that the University of Wyoming also recruits black scholars, professors, administrators, etc.?) This is what we should consider a great situation for all concerned? A great example of what college basketball is all about?
New York City

•University communications director Vern Shelton says that Wyoming, which has about 10,000 students, has a recruiting program to increase minority enrollment. Approximately 1% of the population of Wyoming is black, Shelton says, and the percentage of black students attending the university slightly exceeds that percentage. Of those black students, about 50% play on the Cowboys' football or basketball team. As for the Wyoming faculty, Shelton says the university is trying to increase its sparse number of minority members. He does point out that one of Wyoming's outstanding professors was novelist (and occasional SI contributor) John Edgar Wideman, whose book Sent For You Yesterday won for him the 1984 P.E.N./Faulkner award and who taught English at Wyoming from 1974 to '86. Wideman, who is black and was a pretty fair college basketball player as well as a Rhodes scholar, is now at the University of Massachusetts.—ED.

The commentary by Phil Bengston (LETTERS, Dec. 7) and others on my article (So Little Gain for the Pain, Oct. 19) merits a response. In retrospect, and after speaking to a number of people who are far more knowledgeable than I am about Vince Lombardi, I realize that it was unfair of me to single out Lombardi for allegedly mistreating players. Most coaches of that era ran excessively tough practices but did not possess the information we now have about permanent injuries and long-term disabilities. I know the Lombardi legacy can withstand one erroneous assault. And I offer my apology to Lombardi's family.

I don't blame Bengston for not believing my figures regarding permanent injuries to pro football players—the figures are shocking. The vast majority of the retired players who are my clients have Workers' Compensation disability ratings falling within the 50% to 65% permanent disability range. To obtain a broader sampling, the NFL Players Association is conducting a survey of other attorneys who handle these claims. I fear a similar pattern will emerge. I doubt that I just happen to represent a group that has suffered more physical deterioration than others.
San Diego

J.E. Vader is one smart woman (POINT AFTER, Nov. 23). I have secretly harbored a similar, unrefined theory regarding girls and sports and math ability. As a math teacher and a tennis coach, I see a tremendous correlation between covering the court and determining the hypotenuse of a right triangle. In fact, I would like to offer my pet corollary to Vader's theory: Many of our best coaches would perform admirably in front of a math class.
Amherst, Mass.

I enjoyed Craig Neff's tongue-in-cheek explanation of how Senator Bill Bradley might be elected president in 1988 (POINT AFTER, NOV. 16). More seriously, I believe that a ground swell of support for Bradley will begin as voters recognize the need for a president who can post up against big adversaries. In addition, my father notes that Bradley is the ideal Democratic candidate: a man who can fake right and go left.
Redwood City, Calif.

As an amateur photographer, I can only say "Amazing!" to describe the Juco Express illustrations in your special College Basketball '87-88 issue (Nov. 18). Who was the photographer?
Schaumburg, Ill.

•Caryn Levy (below left), who has been experimenting with photography of this sort since 1982, took the pictures. Artist Pierluigi Consagra (below right) made the light drawings.—ED.

As an Indiana student and an avid college basketball fan, I took notice of the photograph leading off your special College Basketball '87-88 issue (Nov. 18). Is the player slam-dunking the basketball Keith Smart of the Hoosiers?
Naperville, Ill.

•Sorry, no. It's Pittsburgh's Charles Smith, slamming against Oklahoma in the 1987 NCAA West Regional. Here's another shot of Smith (below), against Marist in the first round of that tournament.—ED.







Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.