At the beginning of this basketball season University of Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp announced that his dressing room would be closed to the press after games and that no reporter could talk to any member of his team about basketball. This is one more instance of a regrettable trend in sport.
It has been traditional—after a "cooling off" period following a game—for the press to be allowed into dressing rooms to interview participating athletes. Although we do not go along with the complaints of newsmen concerned that barring writers from dressing rooms is violating freedom of the press, we do take issue with Coach Rupp and his kind—of which Green Bay's Vince Lombardi is another outstanding example.
It is morally reprehensible for them to close off newspapers and their readers from normal sources of information and then use the withheld information for their personal profit by revealing it on radio and TV shows of their own. Lombardi has a weekly TV program that gets much of its rating strength because he tells things there that he has hidden before. Rupp has pregame and postgame radio shows and, he told newspapermen protesting his ban, "I get more for my radio shows than some of you all do for working."
December 18, 1967
Rupp and Lombardi should also realize what would happen if every coach adopted the tactics they have. The daily flow of information that whets the appetite of sports fans would stop, and when it did the appetite itself would die. When Rupp coached his first game at Kentucky, his salary was $2,800 and nobody was asking him to do radio shows. He would do well to give a little back to his sport instead of adopting selfish policies that could kill it.
A PRO GOLFER
Bo Wininger, who died of a stroke last week at 45, was never recognized by more than a handful of fans at a golf tournament, but he was something of a folklore figure among the insiders on the pro tour, a throwback to earlier, more cavalier days in the sport. We always liked best the story he told about himself in New Orleans. He won the New Orleans Open in 1962 and rather looked forward to returning in 1963 as defending champion and therefore somewhat of a celebrity. But he arrived to find a picture of Jack Nicklaus on the program cover instead of himself. Bo was miffed—and he won the tournament again.
To make amends, the tournament committee arranged the following year to greet Bo at the airport with a band and a big crowd of fans carrying welcome signs. Bo was most pleased, and then he heard one elderly lady, who had joined in the reception and seemed particularly delighted by it, tell a passerby, "That's Bo Wininger. He's a star on Wagon Train."
The Dallas Tornados, Lamar Hunt's soccer team, which is making a six-month 19-country world tour, ran into some trouble two Sundays ago in Singapore. The Tornados lost an exhibition match against the Singapore national team 4-2 and were stoned for their efforts by the crowd of 2,000.
"We were very surprised and shocked that, despite displaying a high standard of soccer, our opponents resorted to rough play with the assistance of the spectators," the Dallas team publicity man declared later.
Coach Bob Kap says that elsewhere on the tour the Tornados "have been on the front pages of the leading newspapers. We are now known to at least 300 million people outside of the U.S. We want to show the world that in America we play a similar game and, of course, we want to give our boys a chance to gain experience playing soccer teams in other countries."
The Tornados got more than they expected in Singapore, in part because the team was billed as the first American football squad ever to visit the city. Political activists took the opportunity to protest U.S. involvement in Vietnam, and they were a voluble element in the stadium. This seemed particularly ironic since the Dallas team is made up of seven British players, four Norwegians, two Swedes, two Dutchmen, one Dane and one American.
THE COMPLEAT COMPUTER
Dr. Terence Coulson, an English eel-and-tench fisherman, believes the compleat angler these days is one with a computer. Dr. Coulson and some 50 eel-hunting enthusiasts throughout Britain are collating data on their catches and using a computer to analyze the information. "So far most angling experience has been qualitative," Dr. Coulson says. "A first-class angler lives a lifetime of experience. When he dies what does he pass on? A tip or two to a friend, maybe to his children. There's practically no flow of information between generations. The sport is in a condition of stasis. To be of any use, experience has got to be quantitative."
Last year Dr. Coulson figures he put in 1,600 rod-hours fishing, and he has used computer punch cards to record every hour. He admits that a good many days he caught neither tench nor eel, but his experience in not catching fish went on record, too. Otherwise, he says, all those negative values would have been lost.
Dr. Coulson's concluding argument is that Izaak Walton collected and analyzed his own personal fishing experience, "And the difference between old Izaak working from memory and a computer working on the experience of a lot of anglers is that in the latter case most of the human errors get rinsed out."
Maybe so, but when it comes to advice on how to catch a fish we'd still rather hear the doctor on the subject than his computer, which we'll bet hasn't landed a tench yet.
The FIS world women's downhill ski champion, Erika Schinegger of Austria, retired from competition last week after taking a medical sex-determination test. The Austrian girls' ski team was ordered to take the test two weeks ago by ski federation officials in order to avoid any embarrassing revelations by Olympic doctors in Grenoble. The results of the tests have not been published, but the Austrian ski coach, Franz Hoppichler, said that Erika, the daughter of a farmer, had told him she wanted to quit the team before the results of the tests were known. He said she spoke of "personal and private" reasons for not wanting to continue.
The 18-year-old skier, noted for her powerful racing style, had made headlines a few days before by. running a practice course only four seconds behind the Austrian men's champion, Karl Schranz.
The country's newspapers left little doubt about the reasons for her retirement, and one of them, Kronen Zeitung, in a column directly addressed to Erika, consoled, "Please look at it this way: you are a victim of modern science. A science that has seized total possession of sport. A science for which a chromosome counts more than a mischievous, girlish laugh. But take heart. There is no place for a fashion model in the fields of your farm."
MUD IN THEIR EYE
After Jim (Mudcat) Grant, then of the Minnesota Twins, pitched his team to victory in the first game of the 1965 World Series he was surrounded by inquisitive reporters, and one asked if he was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. A big grin came over Mudcat's face, and he couldn't help laughing as he said, "I was a member of the NAACP before it became camp." Recently Grant was traded from the Twins to the Dodgers, and he explained how he heard the news from the Twins. "I got the word," Grant said, "from the assistant to the assistant of the assistant to the right-hand assistant to the public relations assistant.... It's a heckuva way to get to Hollywood."
Last week, however, Grant was saying some things about certain members of the Twins that were not funny at all. He brought up matters of racial prejudice and rampant dissension in a club that over the last three seasons has won more games than any team in major league baseball. His statements demand immediate action from both Owner Calvin Griffith and Baseball Commissioner William Eckert.
Grant maintained that certain Twins had spoken openly against Negroes and that nothing was done. He cited several instances. One, for example: "During the heart of the riots last summer, two players were in the back of the bus looking at photographs of Negroes being killed or rapped over the head. They'd point to a picture in TIME magazine and yell 'get 'em' or 'sic 'em' if there were dogs in the photograph." And Grant added, "Usually you do what you've done for 14 years in baseball—you let it go in one ear and out the other. But I'm 32 now, and it's time to raise your hand and be counted."
Although Grant did not know of it, late in the season a certain member of the team called a highly thought-of baseball official a kike in a New York restaurant. To add further to the disgrace that the Twins suffered this year when they voted against giving deposed Manager Sam Mele, who had served the team from spring training until June 9, any form of a share in the team's winnings, five members of the team voted not to give Mele's replacement, Cal Ermer, anything either. Nice guys. Second seems to be where they finish these days.
England's champion 2-year-old, a colt named Vaguely Noble that has won two of his four starts, was sold at auction last week for the world-record price of $342,720, and if the price raised British eyebrows, so did the identity of the purchaser. The actual bidding at Newmarket was done by a Californian wearing a psychedelic tie named Albert Yank, who was identified as the head of the World Wide Bloodstock Agency, a firm that veteran horsemen had never heard of before. Yank later explained that he was acting as agent for a famed and controversial Hollywood plastic surgeon, Dr. Robert Alan Franklyn, who has used his talent to refurbish the sagging fortune of many a movie star.
Franklyn first said he bought Vaguely Noble for his wife, Wilma, and had told Yank "the sky was the limit," but later he told reporters that he was the managing director of a 15-man international syndicate called Tas de Ca√Øque. He declined to divulge the other members' names, identifying them only as nine individuals from France, one from Canada, one from England and three from the U.S.
In addition to operating his Hollywood hospital, Athena Medusa, Franklyn owns a 50-acre breeding farm and says he has had "an affiliation" with horses for 30 years. But his name and his racing colors, which he describes as solid gold, are unfamiliar to officials at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park.
Vaguely Noble is certain to change the doctor's sporting anonymity. No sale in the history of British racing had created such a surge of bidding and excitement. Some 4,000 spectators attended the sale, and British bookies reported heavy betting after they had quoted odds on possible price ranges. "Half the Thoroughbred world was after the colt," says Franklyn, and he is far from wrong.
Whatever fame the horse does bring Franklyn, it will not be the doctor's first venture into international affairs. Several years ago he was introduced to Nikita Khrushchev. When the Russian premier found out the doctor was a plastic surgeon, he asked, grinning, "What can you do for me?"
"Well, nothing," Franklyn replied. "But I'll be very happy to talk to Mrs. Khrushchev."
THEY SAID IT
•Bob Lilly, Dallas Cowboy tackle, after encountering Baltimore's Johnny Unitas for the first time in a league game: "Every time we were set to blitz him he would come up to the line, look over our defense and say, 'Hello, hello.' I don't know whether that was his audible or if he was just enjoying himself. Anyway, it sure made me feel funny."
•Johnny Erickson, Wisconsin basketball coach, on his field house: "We're probably the only school in the Big Ten that covers its basketball floor with a tarpaulin."