Franz Lidz's article (The Boys on the Bus, July 3) reminded me of a story my uncle tells. He's a bus driver for a New England line, and in the early 1970s he drove the Springfield Kings of the American Hockey League. One of his passengers was young Billy Smith, the future goaltending star of the New York Islanders. My uncle says Smith loved the idea of driving a bus as much as he loved minding the nets. One day the team and my uncle were having dinner in a restaurant with the bus parked out front. When they left the restaurant, the bus was nowhere to be seen. After 15 minutes or so it pulled up with Smith behind the wheel, grinning from ear to ear.
I found the special report on NFL drug testing upsetting (The NFL Fails Its Drug Test, July 10). If a player is an addict, there are many ways for him to get help other than by waiting for the NFL to catch him and send him for treatment. These players are supposed to be men. As for confidentiality, when I read that a player has been suspended and no reason is given, I assume it's because of drugs. Sure there are problems with the league's leadership, but I wish the players would take more responsibility for their actions.
Moreno Valley, Calif.
If we as a country hope to solve our substance-abuse problem, we must set expectations and make examples. Revealing the names and punishments for people found to be using drugs, whether they are sports heroes or others, is a sound policy. It reminds us all that there will be a penalty for such conduct.
Having read The NFL Fails Its Drug Test, I concluded that I must have a drug problem. After all, I wear blue jeans and T-shirts and sport a tattoo. I'm running, not walking, to the nearest methadone clinic, thanks to the good Dr. Forest Tennant's wisdom and insight. What an idiot.
MARK A. DEMPSEY
Green belt, Md.
As a supervising physician in the NFL Drug Program, I am concerned about the biased tone and incompleteness of your article. What is not emphasized enough is Dr. Tennant's long-standing commitment and competency in dealing with drug problems.
Throughout a long career working with substance-abuse problems, he has distinguished himself as an innovative practitioner and a widely published teacher and researcher. I agreed to work for him because I knew of these qualities and achievements as well as of his tough-minded approach to solving such problems.
Clearly, the program developed by Tennant and the NFL is designed to preserve the integrity of the game. But just as clearly, it is designed to preserve the quality of the athlete's life and, of course, the athlete's life itself.
EDWARD J. KHANTZIAN, M.D.
Principal Psychiatrist for
Substance Abuse Disorders
The Cambridge Hospital
Geoffrey Norman's piece on Andrew Beyer and Steven Crist (The Daily Double, June 5) reminded me of the day 15 years ago when I became infatuated with handicapping. I was in Pompano Beach, Fla., on a rain-soaked vacation with nothing to read. The local bookstore featured books on horse racing, and I blindly chose Beyer's Picking Winners. I am still searching for the "mortal lock."
THE MARK OF EVEL
In the early 1980s a now defunct group of Montana musicians called the Mission Mountain Wood Band toured the U.S. in a bus purchased from Evel Knievel, who is a native of Butte. The joke among band members was that the bus had a tire mark across the roof.
•Whether selling them or leapfrogging them, Knievel has always sought to put distance between himself and buses. Here is a photo of his 1975 jump in London's Wembley Stadium, described in SI's July 3 story, in which Knievel cleared 12 buses but hit the 13th "like a rock."—ED.
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