RIGHT TO FIGHT
The new campaign to ban boxing, touched off by the death of former Featherweight Champion Davey Moore (Death of a Champion, April 1), is as absurd as abolishing automobiles because of the number of traffic deaths which occur.
It is the principle involved here that I believe to be more important than the actual threat to boxing as a sport. Society must inform and educate its citizens so that they are not deceived and taken advantage of, but it should not and cannot afford to furnish overprotection by abolishing an activity which by all rights should be left to the discrimination of the participants.
As a fighter Davey Moore enjoyed the highest success in his profession. He also suffered from the hazard of that profession. It is indeed a tragedy that the consequences were so severe. But the most important memorial we can give Boxer Davey Moore is to recognize the fact that he was a man, both capable and responsible, who possessed the freedom to choose his way of life. And that he accepted the consequences of his decision with unhesitating courage.
It is ironical that the poor prizefighter, with all his gifted skill in fighting, cannot fight back at those who would rob him of his livelihood and the opportunity to better his station in life. It is reasonable to assume that Paret and Moore would have accepted death as it occurred, rather than be denied this opportunity.
SEYMOUR SOLOMON, D.D.S.
April 8, 1963
Cassius Clay has done more for boxing these past two years than anyone since Rocky Marciano. Yet Huston Horn has written an article (A Comeuppance for the Cocksure Cassias, March 25) attempting to mock the great young fighter. How he can say that Clay fought poorly against the No. 3 challenger, Doug Jones, is beyond me. Possibly Clay tends to annoy some people with his lip, but he is the tonic boxing needed and I only hope he will continue to shoot his mouth off until he is crowned heavyweight champion of the world before the largest crowd in ring history.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
I understand from the newspapers here that 1959 Pulitzer Prize Poet Stanley Kunitz has issued a challenge of his own to Cassius Clay: a meeting, any day, in the poetic ring with a knockout in four stanzas.
The way things are shaping up, 1963 could well go down in sports history as the year of the big fix (A Debatable Football Scandal in the Southeast, March 25). So far this year pro football, basketball, boxing (always boxing) and now college football have been subjected to the gimlet eye of scandal. The latest so-called scandal, though, is a real hummer.
After reading what was available on the topic, it was reassuring to find that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED leaned to the veracity of Coaches Butts and Bryant. That's the way I'm leaning, and for the sake of all sports on all levels and all coaches and athletic directors everywhere, let us pray we are leaning in the right direction.
T. C. FAWCETT
North Canton, Ohio
In connection with the recent controversy over the "fix" between Wally Butts and Bear Bryant, I thought you might be interested in recalling this quote which appeared in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Oct. 23, 1961: "Wally Butts, athletic director of the University of Georgia, speaking at the San Antonio Quarterback Club: 'The definition of an atheist in Alabama is a person who doesn't believe in Bear Bryant.' "
To think that Bear Bryant would need an outline of "Georgia's plays and defensive patterns" after being a 14-to 17-point favorite is utterly ridiculous.
Why not ask George Burnett if Bud Wilkinson sold out Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl? Alabama, a three-point favorite, won by 17-0. Just think of all the investigations we could have on Bear's great football victories over the years. Here's a solid vote for Bryant and Butts, over a "check passer" who should have checked his tongue.
•For a further report on the Butts-Bryant affair, see page 24.—ED.
GENTLEMEN, BE SEATED
I enjoyed your article A Mannerly Kind of Murder (March 25). Has Kenneth Rudeen ever undertaken any serious writing or does he just restrict himself to comedy?
I've always been under the impression that sportswriters were supposed to present their material in an unbiased manner. It's quite clear wherein his feelings lie. Fine job, Mr. Rudeen, and the "Maple Leafs Forever" to you, sir.
One more thing, Mr. Rudeen. If you know what the word statistics means, just look up the record of your "gentlemanly Maple Leafs" on penalties before you decide on your "Good Guys and Bad Guys."
We enjoyed the fact that you finally acknowledged the Toronto Maple Leafs as the greatest hockey team in the world. However, we fail to see how the author can refer to the powerful Toronto club as "the gentlemanly Maple Leafs." Statistics will prove that the Leafs outmuscle the "big, rough, tough Chicago Black Hawks" almost every time the two teams meet. The Hawks' brand of hockey could better be classified as dirty, rather than "rough," and whenever they meet our Leafs they are reduced to mere kittens. We will be looking forward to future and more accurate articles on Canada's national sport.
Mr. Rudeen writes like a Toronto Maple Leaf fan. I admit Toronto is a good team and they won the championship, but second only to Detroit they are the dirtiest hockey players in the league.
God bless you! Kenneth Rudeen showed real insight into the game of hockey as well as a great ability to write!
With all the hanky-panky of refs quitting, players being fined and spectators acting unruly, Toronto comes through with the laurels.
DAVID H. LINDSTROM
I sincerely hope that this season there will be a good article on the Giants, the National League champions.
On June 4, 1962 (The Giants: Boom and Bust) you were certainly mean and dismal. Walter Bingham's whole article was about the way the Giants used to fall apart in June and that the Dodgers would win the pennant. The Giants don't need writers like Walter Bingham. If you write any more trash about the Giants you'll hear from me. I'm almost 12 and fully capable of realizing good articles from bad ones.
Menlo Park, Calif.
•For SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S 1963 view of the Giants, see page 54.—ED.
I was extremely interested in your article Joyful School for City Kids (March 25). Such programs of outdoor education have been used with great success in American schools for many years. Over 500 elementary schools in 30 states provide at least one full week of living and learning in the out-of-doors in all seasons of the year for all their sixth graders. This involves 37,000 children in California alone. Many other programs for junior and senior high school students, ranging from one to five days, are being provided as a regular part of training in science and social studies.
These programs have been severely criticized as "frills" by those who recommend to American educators that they copy the more basic system of European education. What will the critics say now that the Europeans are discovering the outdoor classroom?
MATTHEW J. BRENNAN
Chief, Conservation Education Branch
U.S. Forest Service