THE SPORTS PAGE
It's always been an admirable quality of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that you showed both sides of a story.
I'm certain many conscientious sports-writers the nation over winced at the reflections of the unidentified managing editors on their sports departments (What's with the Sports Page?, SI, April 6).
The newspaper managing editors pinpointed modern-day sports coverage problems. All found fault with their reporters' eagerness to avoid strained relationships with coaches. All found room to criticize sports departments for not being critical enough. Many accused their sports departments of accepting subtle and even glaring bribes.
Did any of the editors explain that they themselves often order "kid glove" handling of tense situations? That they at times command peace at any price? That they often "cut" entire bodies of stories critical in concept when an explosive issue is involved?
As for the editors' repeated reference to sports personnel's acceptance of gifts, favors, etc., it is practiced to a degree. A line is drawn by all honest sports editors and writers who wish to maintain good public relations with their contacts, within the bounds of ethical procedure.
I wish to remind the managing editors that there are many genuine and straight sports editors and writers left, the dismal side of the picture notwithstanding. Just to name a few here in the East: Wilton Garrison of The Charlotte Observer, Paul Minton of The (Baltimore evening) Sun, Arthur Daley of The New York Times, Sandy Grady of the Philadelphia News, Bob Quincy of the Charlotte News. Also Furman Bisher of The Atlanta Constitution, Mal Mallette of the Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel, Smith Barrier of the Greensboro Daily News.... I could (thank the Lord) go on into the hundreds.
The Charlotte Observer
Sadly, in many instances the accusations made by your magazine and/or the managing editors are true.
Let me emphasize that there is no place for prejudiced writing nor am I condoning it. However, there is a place where sports publicity directors and gratis trips work to the advantage of the readers. I can speak only for papers of our size, daily circulation, 27,500. Charging only 5¢ daily and lO¢ Sundays makes for a small budget. Consequently, the sports staff numbers three, with the two assistants sharing cityside obligations.
Therefore we can make use of the sports publicity directors to provide us accurate results of minor sports events which we are unable to staff and to provide reports on neighboring teams.
When we are offered an expense-paid trip, we weigh the influence this may have on the reporter's writing against a sketchy coverage by the wire service.
Lastly, the managing editors might have asked, "Who hired these men?"
Colorado Springs, Colo.
As president of the Baseball Writers Association of America and as a correspondent for The Sporting News and an official scorer in Pittsburgh, I feel I must protect the fair name of the baseball writers.
Working for The Sporting News is considered a privilege and an honor, just as is being selected for official scoring duties. The Sporting News gives a writer the opportunity to reach a world-wide audience and there are only 16 regular correspondents in the major leagues.
No sportswriter lasts long who doesn't dig for his own material, particularly in the competitive field of baseball.
LESTER J. BIEDERMAN
The Pittsburgh Press
When I was in college and people asked me what I planned to be and I said a sportswriter they asked aghast, "Why are you going to college?"
For a long, long time I have wanted to write and say you have lent a heap of respectability to the sportswriting profession. I'm glad somebody said something in print which I have felt for too long a time. BILL FISHER
Lancaster New Era
THE BIG "O"
A MOST UNFORTUNATE TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR IN MY ARTICLE "THE PERFECT ANGLER" (SI, APRIL 6) MAKES ME SAY THAT TAPPEN FAIRCHILD CAST A LIVE NYMPH TO CATCH HIS BIG TROUT; IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN AN OLIVE NYMPH. THE LATE B. TAPPEN FAIRCHILD WAS A PRINCE OF SPORTSMEN AND ONE OF THE MOST SKILLFUL AND SOPHISTICATED FLY FISHERMEN OF HIS ERA, AND IT IS INCONCEIVABLE THAT HE WOULD HAVE USED A LIVE NYMPH.
SPARSE GREY HACKLE
COLLEGE BOXING (CONT.)
Martin Kane's article on college boxing (SI, March 30) was excellent. Theodore Roosevelt used to scorn the life of "ignoble ease" even though it be an intellectually active one. Certain lessons are well learned in physical combat with one's fellow man. And only by participation can one learn.
Boxing is a good sport. Its objective is not to maim or render the opponent punch-drunk. It is to prevail over him by superior condition, skill and perseverance. Certainly men are knocked down, struck on the head and suffer broken ribs and noses. These things happen in any contact sport and are what set contact sports aside from sports of finesse such as golf and tennis. I had the opportunity to participate in amateur boxing in San Francisco while in medical school. At first I was soundly whipped by the local boys but fortunately learned at each outing and was lucky enough to win the Golden Gloves heavyweight championship in 1955 in San Francisco. Maybe a plug from a doctor who knows a little more about boxing than the Ph.D. college dean will be worth something.
ROBERT R. MCIVOR, M.D.
In college boxing, unlike Golden Gloves or AAU bouts, the boys are not matched according to their ability in novice or sub-novice classes but according to weight.
Therefore a youngster who has had but three or four college bouts and who is boxing in his first year of collegiate competition may face an opponent who may be boxing in his first bout as a collegian, but can very well have had 35 or 40 fights under his belt. The boy who has had but three bouts will actually try to give more than he has by going in and dying for the old alma mater.
I have seen plenty of cuts, some serious ones, among those who were wearing head guards. I know of a broken eardrum. Actually, a properly fitted mouthpiece is the most important piece of protective equipment a boxer can wear in the ring. I don't mean the commercial type.
College boxing is a wonderful sport but it should be kept on strictly intramural level so that everything is equal among the contestants.
Joe David Brown's article on Aly Khan (Sporting Prince, SI, March 23 and 30) has a reference to the horse Nahar that I wish to have clarified.
The stud book states that his only start was as a 3-year-old in the Bahamas Stakes at Hialeah, that he was injured, ran fourth and raced no more. Joe David Brown reports that Nahar raced often and won the Lincolnshire Handicap.
I bred three mares to this stud and am wondering at the conflicting listings. Who is right?
FRANK T. KELLY
•There are two Nahars. Mr. Kelly's, bred and raised in America, is the property of P.A.B. Widener's Elk Hill Farm and is now standing at Hagyard Farm, Lexington, Ky. He had just one race. The other is the foreign horse bred by Aly Khan, now owned by a syndicate and standing at Crown Crest Farm, Lexington. The latter is now also known as Nahar II, as is the custom when a foreign horse comes to the U.S. and there is already a horse with the same name. Nahar II had 30 starts, won six, including England's Lincolnshire Handicap in his only race as a 7-year-old.—ED.
BASKETBALL: SEASON'S GREETINGS
Now that the basketball season is over, it is time to go back and do some of the things that should have been done long ago.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the tremendous job Jeremiah Tax and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED have done once again this year for basketball.
The December 8th special Basketball Issue was a masterpiece, and one which I referred back to many times.
Basketball's Week was great, but too short.
During the past season—and for that matter, for many years—your basketball features have been outstanding. You have managed to stay away from sensationalism and have stuck to high-type reporting. You are doing a real service.
There is one suggestion that I would like to make, and this, of course, is a suggestion which would hold true for any publication. I wish that we could find some manner to do a better job of giving credit to outstanding defensive performances. For instance, California this year had one of the greatest defensive teams in basketball history. Yet it failed to place one man on the various All-America squads, and as a team was barely ranked in the first 10 of the nation. It proved to be the best. The high-scoring individuals and teams get the attention and good press. The defensive greats are, many times, overlooked.
JACK H. GARDNER
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
Concerning that letter of Mr. John Hughes (19TH HOLE, March 23) extolling the all-round excellence of Notre Dame by citing its scholastic performance on TV's College Bowl quiz program, I have nothing against the "Irish," but, as Mr. Hughes has probably since learned, the very week after Notre Dame trounced Georgetown in the TV program College Bowl, Notre Dame's champs were themselves trounced. By whom? Barnard girls, that's who.
Pompton Lakes, N.J.