You will find on page 18 Basketball Star Bill Russell's personalized account of the hush-hush meeting in Cleveland between the country's top Negro athletes and Muhammad Ali. We share with Russell a respect for Ali's sincerity in his religion—which we have never had reason to doubt—and his refusal on religious grounds to serve in the Army. But some of the views propounded by Russell are, to say the least, highly debatable. Russell certainly should know that there is a difference between being a Catholic or Protestant or Muslim—the faith practiced by 300 million people throughout the world—and being a member of the Black Muslim movement in the U.S., which has often been associated with violence and thuggery and is identified with the very intolerance that Russell decries. It is Ali's unfortunate association with this racist group, not his refusal to serve in the Army because of sincere religious convictions, that has victimized him.
EQUALITY AND FRATERNITY
"We don't want to ban the turbine car," the president of the United States Auto Club said last week. "We just want to make it competitive, to have apples against apples and not apples with oranges." The fate of Andy Granatelli's swooshmobile, which outclassed the field of piston cars at Indy and would have won the 500 easily had it not broken down four laps from the finish, is to be decided later this month. The USAC Rules Committee, which sanctioned the controversial car for this year's race, has already voted in secret session to call in the major builders of turbines, Pratt & Whitney and General Electric, and ask them to fashion a formula to equalize turbines with piston engines.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of car owners, mechanics and race officials in the Speedway cafeteria, Andy Granatelli was bitterly defending his car. "I'm willing to take a weight penalty of several hundred pounds on it," he said, "but leave my engine alone.
June 18, 1967
"You know I can afford to buy all the Lotuses there are. But it hasn't been easy, not being a copycat. All of a sudden I'm an outcast here because of progress. This year friends of mine for 20 years wouldn't even speak to me. My car was built within the rules of USAC. It was called a milk wagon by some, but if you want to enter a milk truck and it's within the rules, why not?"
Parnelli Jones, the turbocar's driver, also had his say. "I've had greater edges driving conventional racers," he argued. "I had a much greater edge in 1962 when I lapped Rodger Ward, the eventual winner, before breaking down. The turbo-car is a completely advanced automobile. Accept that. The aircraft people accepted the fact that the jet engine completely outclassed the piston engine. They are talking of handicapping the turbocar to the point where it couldn't be competitive. Laymen must understand it has great pickup speed coming out of the turns, but its overall straightaway speed at Indianapolis wasn't exceptional. Some piston engines outran it down the straightaways."
No matter what USAC eventually decides, its ruling is bound to be unpopular. If it limits or bans the turbocar, the public, which became so interested in it at Indy, and those who believe in automotive progress will be disappointed. If USAC allows turbines to race, piston-car owners who have supported the 500 for years will have no alternative but to junk $9 million worth of equipment. Many may not feel like starting all over again in racing.
Until the day of Indy—too late—USAC officials did not realize the dilemma that was theirs.
We have received a postcard in the mail informing us of the Hudson River Fishermen's Association Bag-A-Polluter program. We pass along the information to you for what it is worth—which might be considerable. The association has found an 1888 federal law, still in effect, that forbids the "discharging, or depositing, by any process or in any manner, of refuse, dirt, ashes, cinders, mud, sand, dredgings, sludge, acid, or any other matter of any kind...in the tidal waters of the harbor of New York...or in those of Long Island Sound." If convicted the polluter is liable to a jail sentence and/or a fine not less than $250 nor more than $2,500. Now comes the interesting part: "one half of said fine to be paid to the person or persons giving information which shall lead to conviction."
The financial possibilities stagger the imagination.
Infractions of the law should be reported to the Harbor Supervision Branch of the Army Corps of Engineers or, if one wants to avoid the dirty work, the Fishermen's Association will, upon notification, go about bagging the polluter for you.
CHECKING ALL FRONTS
The editors of The New York Times go to great lengths to give their readers the total view, but last week they reached what may long be remembered as their finest hour. The headlines on Thursday read: ISRAELIS ROUT THE ARABS, APPROACH SUEZ, BREAK BLOCKADE, OCCUPY OLD JERUSALEM. Using some 13,000 words, the Times reported, analyzed and commented on the war in the Middle East. And back on page 44, deadpan as always, the editors ran a chess column headlined: SPECTACULAR PLAY HIGHLIGHTS ISRAEL ARMED FORCES TOURNEY. A Times man reported that one Amikan Balsham had "captured" the Israeli army chess championship held at the Tel Aviv Soldiers' Home, and he assessed the strategic moves in some crucial matches. "Space does not permit the fantastic possibilities for attack and defense," he wrote of one maneuver, and concluded, "The game lasted 120 moves before a peaceful solution was agreed upon."
EASY TO STOMACH
They may have trouble getting ice on their concrete bobsled run (SI, Feb. 20 et seq.) or the ruts out of their ski slopes, but the Winter Olympics Committee may be arranging things so that no one will notice. The committee's latest bulletin announces that both "earthly food" and "spiritual food" will be served up at Grenoble. "As France is, par excellence, a country renowned for its good food and drink," the advisory says, "it is important that the catering arrangements for the Xth Winter Olympic Games should be an element of propaganda and be especially good.... There will be a gastronomical choice of suggested menus based on a different French province every day." One menu, for example, includes saucisson brioché, poularde demideuil, cr√™pes bressanes, cheese, ice cream and a quarter liter of red Burgundy.
"Physical prowess and intellectual prowess are two inseparable terms of culture which concern Man as a whole." the bulletin continues. The people of Grenoble will "make of their town, during the Olympic Games, a temple, not only of sport but also of the spirit." The Paris Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Munch will perform, as will the Comédie Fran√ßaise, the Paris Opera Company and the Ballet. Works by Stendhal, Paul Claudel and Baudelaire will be included in the cultural repertoire.
And under the heading of "Light Entertainment" there is a note that Roger Vadim (former husband of Brigitte Bar-dot and current husband of Jane Fonda) will act as Chief of Protocol, a post that requires him "to make sure that the sporting "warriors' get all the leisure which is so important to them."
A FRIEND AT COURT
At a meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay, the International Amateur Basketball Association failed to renew the limited powers that it had given to the U.S. Basketball Federation four years ago to schedule games between American and foreign teams. In effect, it restored sole jurisdiction in such matters to the AAU. The action means that the organization that represents 90% of the good basketball players in this country—the U.S. Basketball Federation—now has no control over their participation in foreign events.
The AAU has a representative on the central committee of the international body, but the Federation does not. The AAU also traditionally has the support of the Russians, who are hardly blind to the advantage of keeping U.S. international teams weak. It is no wonder that the action, or lack of action, in Montevideo benefited the AAU.
The current dispute is an extension of the continuing NCAA-AAU feud, since the Basketball Federation consists largely of collegiate representatives. The winner this time was the AAU. But the loser in the world basketball championship played in Montevideo was the U.S. team—one that was selected by the AAU. It performed as such teams have in the past, finishing fourth, while Russia won the championship.
It's nice of the Russians to be interested in our factional disputes, but if they keep helping out we may never even win a coin toss.
SKIRTING THE ISSUE
The recruiting of high school football stars is a frantic business at this time every year, with the best players lining up their offers like Boy Scout merit badges, but it is doubtful that any of them can match the bids received by Pat Mallory, a husky split end for Sheldon High in Eugene, Ore. As of graduation week, Pat had been solicited by the WAAFS, Pan-American Airlines, which wanted him as a stewardess, a Honolulu secretarial school, a St. Louis nursing school and a Portland (Ore.) beauty college.
Playing for Southeastern Massachusetts Tech last week in the NAIA tennis championships in Kansas City was 52-year-old Harold Bannister, a former insurance salesman who returned to college in 1964 to get a degree in textile technology. Not surprisingly, Bannister was beaten in the first round of the tournament by Bobby Barbera, a 22-year-old senior from Appalachian State. Asked if he was inclined to go easy on Bannister because of his age, Barbera said, "No. This was my last chance in the tournament. Bannister will be back next year. He's only a junior."
President Johnson recently named Astronaut James Lovell to replace Stan Musial as head of his Council on Physical Fitness. Lovell says he will devote one-fourth of his time to the program, which seems optimistic for a man who is a full-time astronaut.
The federal fitness program should be a full-time concern. For much too long it has been operating fitfully. With its $315,000 annual budget, it can only afford to employ a staff of four. Stan Musial explained, "We didn't have enough money to print the booklets people were asking us for. We couldn't hire specialists, or even expose quacks who were running full-page newspaper advertisements for electrical gimmicks. People were posing as representatives of the fitness program, and we were unable to fight them because of lack of funds." Concluded old pro Musial, "It is a shame a country as rich as ours can't put fitness on a professional basis."
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The Physical Fitness Program may have other weighty problems if the latest New York fad spreads. The other day 500 people gathered for a Fat-In at The Sheep Meadow in Central Park. Demonstrators carried banners reading "Fat Power" and "Buddha Was Fat." Some wore buttons with the message "Take a Fat Girl to Dinner" or "Help Cure Emaciation." They burned a pile of diet books and a photograph of Twiggy and offered each other fattening foods brought especially for the occasion. The 210-pound 5'11" organizer of the protest, Steve Post, said its purpose was to protest discrimination against the fat.
THEY SAID IT
•Sam Mele, to his family after he was fired by the Minnesota Twins: "What are you crying for? All these years you've been saying you'd like to have me home for the summer. Well, that's where I'll be now."
•Bo Belinsky, on Philadelphia: "It's a town where you can see Ramar of the Jungle four times on the Late Show. Soon as I pop into the hotel, flip on the TV and see the jungle scene, I say, 'Hey, Ramar, I'm back in Philly.' "