Congratulations to Leigh Montville and SI on your story about the harassment of Boston Herald sportswriter Lisa Olson (Season of Torment, May 13). Big-time sports are a bastion of male chauvinism, governed by self-reinforcing and self-congratulatory networks of good-ol'-boy buddies, most of whom are so out of touch with the reality of the 1990s that they don't even know that their behavior is sexist. Patriots owner Victor Kiam really doesn't get it, and he probably never will.
JACK DE PREE
Land O'Lakes, Fla.
Hoping to offer encouragement and words of advice to Lisa Olson, I telephoned the Boston Herald sports desk and was greeted by a polite young woman. When I asked how I should address an encouraging letter to Olson, the woman identified herself as Lisa Olson. We had a 20-minute conversation. When I asked about the possibility of her finding jobs in other cities, she told me that all her inquiries had been politely turned down. It became obvious to me that she intended to leave the U.S.
Our society has a way of trying to crush the spirit of individuals who rise above the crowd. It is inconceivable to me that she has not been offered a job at a topflight American newspaper, for she is the type of person who has made this country strong. If we continue to idolize those people who represent the beast in us, then it will not be long before our collective inner flames begin to flicker, dim and then become extinguished.
Lisa, please stay.
GARY H. HOFFMAN
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Olson, though losing much, keeps her integrity while her defilers lose theirs. Small justice. But it will have to do until, one hopes, the courts grant her more someday. Whatever the compensation, it won't be enough.
MARK A. STAPLES
The question as to whether women journalists should be allowed in men's locker rooms (and vice versa) can be debated for a long time. However, there is no question that Olson has been wrongly treated. This is a sad commentary on the big business of sports and on American life. How do we, as a people, allow these things to happen?
DOUGLAS J. BURGASSER
Honeoye Falls, N.Y.
What, other than naked men, would Olson expect to see in a men's locker room? I don't see any basis for a sexual-harassment suit. She was the one who did the harassing and the inflicting of emotional distress simply by being in a men's locker room—where she didn't belong. She should have waited until the players had showered and dressed to conduct her interviews.
JAMES C. SPENCER
Montville writes, "She was a reporter who was doing her job and had been insulted, if not actually threatened." That has never happened before? She was insulted, so she cries, quits and sues. So much for the concept of the hard-nosed reporter. Players have been theatening, insulting and even punching reporters for years. Does that make it right? No. But good reporters can handle the pressure and do the job. They don't sue; they get even. Olson didn't lose her job because of the Patriots. She didn't have what it takes. Her lawsuit proves it. Sports and journalism are better off without her.
JOHN S. DUTY
Fathers and Sons (cont.)
In your list of fathers and sons who have appeared on separate SI covers (LETTERS, May 6), you forgot Gary Nicklaus, whose father, Jack, has been on your cover many times. Gary was a member of the Benjamin School varsity team from the seventh grade through high school, 1982-87. Not only was he one of the best high school golfers ever to play in Florida, but he also is one of the nicest young men I have ever met.
After graduating this summer from Ohio State, Gary hopes to follow his father into the world of pro golf. We will be hearing about him again.
Varsity Golf Coach
The Benjamin School
North Palm Beach, Fla.
•Jack Nicklaus has made our cover 22 times, most recently on April 21, 1986, when, at 46, he won the Masters for a record sixth time. Gary appeared on the March 11, 1985, cover, which included an inset of his dad.—ED.
Any list of fathers and sons who have been on different SI covers is incomplete without Bold Ruler and Secretariat.
MARK DE REGT
•Bold Ruler, Horse of the Year in 1957, shared our May 6, 1957, cover with Shan Pac and Gen. Duke. Bold Ruler's son Secretariat, winner of the Triple Crown in '73, appeared on the June 11 cover that year, with his owner, Penny Tweedy.
By the way, three of Bold Ruler's grandsons have also made the cover (Cannonade, May 13, 1974; Foolish Pleasure, May 12, 1975; and Bold Forbes, May 10, 1976), as have three of his great-grandsons (Bob's Dusty, Seattle Slew and For the Moment were all on the May 16, 1977, cover).—ED.
LANE STEWART/MICHAEL O'BRYON (INSET)
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.