Growing up in Louisiana, I remember how Beryl Shipley began the path that broke down the racial barriers that still existed in sports during the 1960s and '70s and how my father, a staunch Southern conservative, admired his achievements on and off the court. Shipley's life shows how our most flawed heroes can shine the brightest.
Kevin Bihm, Eunice, La.
I was Southwestern Louisiana's sports information director from 1971 to '73 and had the privilege of working with Coach Shipley (An Accidental Hero, May 2) during his final three years at the school. He was an unassuming leader of basketball integration, choosing to recruit the best talent regardless of race, even though he knew his actions would create controversy. Shipley's friendship enriched my life, and I am happy that I had the privilege to know him.
Jim Paul, El Paso
Shortly before he was forced to resign, Shipley was suspended by the Southland Conference for calling it a Mickey Mouse league. While announcing his resignation, Shipley was asked if he would apologize for anything he'd said. He said he would apologize—to Mickey Mouse.
North Hollywood, Calif.
A Little Too Wild
I agree with Joe Sheehan's belief that an additional wild card team in the playoffs (INSIDE BASEBALL, May 2) would further dilute the importance of baseball's regular season. Unfortunately the dollar signs flashing in front of MLB and the TV networks make the move to 10 playoff teams almost inevitable.
Matt McCabe, Madelia, Minn.
I enjoyed Tim Layden's article on Austin Collie's concussions (Austin Collie Clears His Head, May 2). As a former high school and college football player, I can remember sniffing smelling salts and being patted on the butt while being told all too frequently, "Get back in there," after taking a big hit. I hope that players and coaches at all levels will become more aware of the severity of concussions and take all the necessary precautions to prevent their recurrence.
Cameron Park, Calif.
Football helmets should be made of collapsible materials like foam, from the shell through the lining, to dissipate the energy of a collision before it reaches the player's head. Instead, the hard-plastic shell turns the helmet into a weapon, making it dangerous for both the offensive and defensive player.
Pleasant Hill, Calif.
I applaud Sharon and Lexie Love for their tenacity in keeping their daughter Yeardley in the hearts and minds of those who knew and loved her (SCORECARD, May 2). Yeardley seems to have been a wonderful young lady who would be proud of the work that the One Love Foundation is doing in youth lacrosse. It should not be lost on any of us that her name is Love; she was filled with love as well.
Michael Ayers, Mills River, N.C.
Beg to Differ
I love Joe Posnanski's work, but I have to disagree with his rosy assessment of commissioner Bud Selig (POINT AFTER, May 2). Selig presided over the most profound scandal in baseball history, the rampant use of steroids, resulting in many of the most hallowed records being rendered meaningless. Selig's I-didn't-know attitude just proves that he was often asleep at the wheel.
Karl Lindholm, Cornwall, Vt.
I am going to assume that Posnanski's column on Bud Selig was dripping with sarcasm. All Selig has to show for his 12-year tenure as commissioner are huge sums of money for MLB and its players. Every other aspect of the game is far worse now than when he came on the scene. While there is not enough space to document all of his shortcomings, I'd like to sum up Selig's reign by paraphrasing an old joke: This would never happen if Bud Selig were alive today.
Richard Pacelle, Statesboro, Ga.
E-mail SI at letters@SI.timeinc.com or fax SI at 212-467-2417. Letters should include the writer's full name, address and home telephone number and may be edited for clarity and space.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SUBSCRIPTIONS
For 24/7 service, go to SI.com/customerservice. Call 1-800-528-5000 or write to SI at P.O. Box 30602, Tampa, FL 33630-0602. To purchase reprints of SI covers, go to SIcovers.com.
For ad rates, an editorial calendar or a media kit, e-mail SI at SIpubqueries@timeinc.com.
SI Alabama Relief Auction
In an effort to assist those affected by the tornadoes in the South last month, SI will be holding an online auction through May 24 at CharityBuzz.com/SportsIllustrated, where you can bid on iconic Neil Leifer photos and SI cover posters that depict the storied history of Alabama football. All proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross's disaster relief efforts in the region.