A new panel will examine U.S. environmental policy
When President Bush announced the formation of his Commission on Environmental Quality on July 23, it was tempting to be cynical about the committee's views on conservation. After all, of the 25 members, 13 could be described as captains of industry, and only three represented environmental groups. A headline in The Washington Post read: POLLUTERS WELL REPRESENTED ON NEW ENVIRONMENTAL PANEL.
"The skepticism is earnest and well placed," says a Bush Administration official. "But the skeptics should look at who these guys really are. And I hope the skeptics look at what these guys eventually do."
Who are these guys? Well, among the commission members are Dow Chemical chairman Frank Popoff, Browning-Ferris Industries CEO William Ruckelshaus and Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing CEO Allen Jacobson. "They're the best and brightest of corporate America as far as the environment goes," says Amos Eno, policy director for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, an environmental group that's not represented on the board. "Dow pledged $3 million to us last year for wetlands protection, but more important, it asked us how to manage its privately owned lands as wetlands. And 3M has been been cleaning up in excess of federal regulations for more than a decade." Eno also gives high marks to Ruckelshaus, the commission vice-chairman and the former director of the Environmental Protection Agency. "His integrity and credibility are impeccable," says Eno. "He's as good a corporate environmentalist as there is."
And what will these guys eventually do? "We'll try to find ways for business, science and government to collaborate on cutting pollution," says N.J. Nicholas Jr., co-CEO and president of Time Warner (SI's parent company) and the chairman of the commission's subcommittee on education and communication. "A cooperative solution always works better than legislation."
Good business sense can well serve the environment. Corporations currently spend $115 billion a year to comply with federal environmental laws. "They [the members of the commission] know it's usually more expensive to clean up than never to have soiled," says Interior deputy secretary Don Knowles. "They want to find front-end solutions: how not to pollute."
The commission, which will make a full report upon the completion of its two-year charter, will also give the President ongoing advice. It can only be hoped that he will heed that counsel and not just point to the commission as an example of his action on the environment.
Last week, Bush gave the new group a 45-minute pep talk, stressing that he wanted concrete proposals. He mentioned that at the recent economic summit in London some of the other heads of state expressed their misgivings about the environmental policy of the U.S. It seems that the President has a few as well.
One More Lesson
A Steeler tries to take his life after a positive steroid test
If we have learned anything about users of anabolic steroids (Ben Johnson, Lyle Alzado et al.), it's that they very rarely tell the truth—until it's too late. Eight years ago when SI wrote about an East Carolina power-lifter and football player who had gone from 160 pounds in high school to 280 in college, the huge fellow was asked if he had ever used steroids. "I'd never mess with that stuff," said Terry Long.
One day last week, Long, a 32-year-old guard with the Pittsburgh Steelers, twice tried to commit suicide, first by carbon monoxide poisoning and then by swallowing rat poison. The attempts came a day after Long told his teammates that he had tested positive for anabolic steroids which build muscle mass and are prohibited by the NFL
As a first-time offender, his penalty would have been a two-week ban from training camp and a four-game suspension at the start of the season, provided he tested clean upon his return. The penalty might have seemed especially costly to Long, who was in danger of losing his starting right guard position to the younger Carlton Haselrig.
On the day of his suicide attempts, Long's girlfriend had called former Steeler and admitted steroid user Steve Courson for advice on how Long might appeal or beat the test results. Courson, who suffers from heart disease caused, he claims, by steroid and alcohol abuse, says, "Terry apparently was making a cry for help. We should be thinking more about Terry Long the person than Terry Long the football player."
Long's sad story again demonstrates the irrational nature of the steroid abuser. Even had he lost his job to Haselrig, there was still a place for him in the NFL. Joe Greene, the Hall of Fame defensive tackle who is now a defensive line coach for the Steelers, says, "I thought Terry could be one of the better guards in the league. I told him that. He was tough, he was competitive."
But with the volumes of information now available about the dangers of steroids, including the violent mood swings they can cause, Long had no excuses for using the drugs. Says Greene, "When Lyle Alzado was using steroids 20 years ago, like he says, there was no information about the dangers and side effects. But people who do it now, it's not tragic. It's dumb."
Reebok wants to let the air out of Spalding's new mitt
In the middle of two court battles over a billion-dollar market, lawyers in Chicago and Boston can't resist trying on a critical piece of evidence. It is a new baseball glove by Spalding that features a tiny air pump that molds the mitt to the wearer's hand. Middle-aged attorneys have been grabbing for the black, silver-trimmed glove almost every chance they get. "My hand feels bigger and stronger," said one portly lawyer after pumping leather. "I'd catch anything with this."
Such a reaction is exactly what Spalding hopes for. On the other hand, Reebok, whose pump shoe has been a phenomenal success, was furious when Spalding introduced the inflatable airFLEX mitt at a trade show in Chicago two weeks ago. Within hours, Reebok filed a lawsuit in the circuit court of Cook County, Ill., claiming Spalding had stolen the mechanism of The Pump, which has inflated Reebok's shoe sales to almost $1 billion.
A few days later, Reebok filed a lawsuit in Boston, charging Design Continuum, a firm that assisted Reebok in the development of its pump shoes, with breach of contract for helping Spalding learn the secrets of The Pump. Both hearings are to begin this week.
There is plenty at stake, especially with the new glove retailing at $120. In 18 months Reebok's pump-shoe operation has grown to the point where, if it stood alone, it would be the fourth-largest athletic shoe company in the world. Reebok now has 88 models of pump shoes on the market and has contracted with CCM to make inflatable-fit hockey skates. Reebok had also been in the middle of talks with Rawlings for a jointly produced inflatable baseball glove. Says Bernadette Mansur, a Reebok vice-president, "We will work with reputable companies that want to use our technology. But if they sneak in the back door, we'll see them in court."
Spalding, aware that it has a hot product, is confident of the outcome of the court cases. "Reebok has no patent, and it cannot lock up simple air-inflation technology by writing up contracts," says Robert Adikes, general counsel for Spalding. "We have orders for hundreds of thousands of these gloves [for delivery] as soon as we get rid of these court cases."
Whatever the legal outcome, the primary piece of evidence will continue to beckon people. Spalding's lawyers, in fact, are hoping that at least one of the judges asks to try on the glove.
Celeb fighters are making a joke out of boxing
Professional boxing has come to this. Last week the rumor mill had 34-year-old actor Mickey Rourke fighting 23-year-old rapper LL Cool J in Tokyo this fall. Apparently, actor Robert Conrad, 56, isn't enough of a challenger for Rourke.
Where do these guys, and washed-up defensive end Mark Gastineau, get off thinking they can step into the prize ring? Oh, that's right. Rourke is a bona fide 1-0 fighter. Got paid for it too, just like Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson.
"There are a lot of guys in the top 20 who could kick my butt," Rourke, a light heavyweight, said recently, "but there's still a lot of guys I can put it to real good." Rourke earned his bragging rights and $1,000 by putting it to Steve Powell for four rounds in Fort Lauderdale on May 23. Powell, 32, had been ranked among Boston's top 20 auto mechanics. Now Rourke can get a W in the Ring Record Book, just like all the ones (230 of them) under Willie Pep's name.
Between rounds of his fight with Powell, Rourke washed out his mouth with Evian water. He probably learned that from Henry Armstrong. Or Fritzie Zivic. Conrad was at the bout, and he walked out after the third round, holding his nose. "This is a bum," Conrad said. "I'd flatten him." Promoters were actually scrambling to arrange a main event between the two thespians. "If we had fought, it would have been the sequel to 9½ Weeks," said Conrad, referring to the Rourke movie that's still playing in France. "We would have called it 9½ Seconds."
Rourke decided it wouldn't be a good second-career move, beating up an old actor and all, so the fight was off. Now we have Rourke vs. Cool J—or is it just J? Rappin' in Japan. Just like the Thrilla in Manila.
But, mon dieu, what would the French movie audiences do if Mickey got hurt—just like so many boxers who actually knew what they were doing?
Horse sense solves a unique situation in Tulsa
Fair Meadows racetrack in Tulsa now has the only Rob Dibble-proof final turn in thoroughbred racing. Last week, officials at Expo Square, a 240-acre facility that includes a minor league ballpark as well as the track, erected a 95-by 150-foot net between the venues.
Previously, the only thing that separated Turns 3 and 4 of Fair Meadows from the first base grandstands at Drillers Stadium, home of the Tulsa Drillers of the Double A Texas League, was a service road. In some places there is only 30 feet between the park and the track. No one cared about that until last summer, when Fair Meadows inaugurated evening racing. Suddenly, a batter's foul ball posed the risk of becoming a bettor's foul play. If horses can be spooked by their own shadows during a race, think how one would react to being hit by a batted ball—or one thrown by a petulant pitcher.
Luckily for the horses and their riders, the Drillers didn't have a chance to live up to their name in 1990. "We had only one conflicting date last year," says Ron Shotts, general manager of Fair Meadows. "So on that night we positioned a guy on top of the press box with a walkie-talkie. When a race was about to begin, he'd talk to a guy in the dugout, who would signal the umpire, who in turn would stall for a little while, brushing off the plate or something. Most of the fans didn't even know what was going on."
This summer, jockeys and players are in stirrups on the same night at Expo Square for nine dates. Hence, the need for the $20,000 net. That may seem like a costly ounce of prevention, but at least fans won't see a horse hide when a batter fouls off a cowhide.
Long (74) once said that he would never mess with anabolic steroids.
Baseball's deepest pockets? AL clubbies swear by George.
Pumping leather: Spalding's new airFLEX fits like, well, a glove.
HOWARD TYLER/RETNA LTD
Posing as boxers, the rap star and the screen star may meet in Tokyo.
PHIL LOFTUS/LONDON FEATURES
[See caption above.]
[Thumb Up]To Carl Barger, who had been serving as president of both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Florida Marlins (SCORECARD, July 29), for saying he will relinquish the Pirate presidency this week to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
[Thumb Down]To the U.S. Youth Soccer Association officials who nullified the under-12 regional title won by the Kirkwood (Del.) Wildcats because they had unknowingly supplied a ball that was slightly larger than regulation in their 3-1 win over the Bethesda (Md.) Dragons. The game was replayed, and the Wildcats lost 2-1.
[Thumb Down]To CKTB in Saint Catharines, Ont., for temporarily refusing to broadcast news about the local Class A Blue Jays because the club stopped purchasing ad time on the radio station.
THEY SAID IT
Don Elbaum, former boxing promoter, on serving a six-month sentence for tax evasion: "Being in jail is really great. I know everybody here."
Milt Cuyler, Detroit Tiger center fielder, after his line drive up the middle hit Minnesota Twins pitcher Jack Morris on the arm: "I was just trying to get a hit off of him. Well, not literally off of him."
Making a List
"Money ballplayer" describes a clutch performer, but it can also refer to the gentlemen listed here. SI asked the clubhouse men who serve visiting major league teams to name the most generous tippers, and while many were mentioned, these 10 really left their marks.
1. George Brett, Royals. He tips $100 a day, well above the $25 norm. "A real pleasure, " says one clubhouse man. "He never bitches or makes a special request. He'll even come in early and shuck corn for me."
2. Dave Smith, Cubs. Another C-note-a-day guy. "Far and away the best in the league."
3. Tony Gwynn, Padres. "He never slumps, even as a tipper."
4. Jack Clark, Red Sox. "The American League clubbies were glad to see him back."
5. Kevin Mitchell, Giants. "He shames teammates into giving bigger tips."
6. Orel Hershiser, Dodgers. "He always says, 'Take care of the [clubhouse] kids.' "
7. Fred McGriff, Padres. "He once got off the team bus on getaway day to pay me."
8. Danny Jackson, Cubs. Along with Smith and George Bell, "he has turned the Cubs from cheapskates into philanthropists."
9. Roger McDowell, Phillies. "He was always good, even before he got the big contract."
10. Tony La Russa, Athletics. "Easily the best among managers and better than most players. But then, when he first became the White Sox manager, he asked me how much other managers were tipping and said he wanted to be the best."
That staple of the ballpark diet, the hot dog, came under attack last Friday night at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) staged a demonstration to coincide with the arrival of Oakland A's manager Tony La Russa, a vegetarian and animal rights activist. Or maybe it was because Rickey Henderson was in town.
Replay 15 Years Ago in Sports Illustrated
Nadia Awed Ya read the headline over the Aug. 2, 1976, story on 14-year-old gymnast Nadia Comaneci of Romania, who scored seven perfect 10s at the Montreal Olympics. One THEY SAID IT in that issue was from U.S. javelin thrower Kate Schmidt, then 22. Asked if there had been any hanky-panky in the Olympic Village despite its strict rules, Schmidt said, "I certainly hope so."