Joe Namath's position is deteriorating. The alleged principles on which he stood seem now to have been largely a matter of expedience. His relations with Mafia types and professional gamblers were not just accidental barroom encounters, as the story on page 24 makes clear, but extended into his home. Perhaps the kindest thing that can be said is that Broadway Joe is beginning to look like Beaver Falls Joe—a country boy taken in by the city slickers. As Bear Bryant told Namath after Pete Rozelle's dictum to sell his share of Bachelors III: "Joe, if these friends of yours really cared about you, they'd make you get out."
In California last week Joe expressed an earnest desire to have another talk with Rozelle. There's a lot to talk about.
June 22, 1969
For a few moments there it looked as though the ski people had run a play around Avery Brundage. Dispatches from Warsaw, where Brundage's International Olympic Committee held its annual meeting, said that the IOC had endorsed the radical new plan submitted by the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS). The plan would let the FIS pretty much run its own show as far as amateurism was concerned, and it would include a liberalized system of payments to skiers (SCORECARD, June 2). A stunning defeat for Brundage, the first reports said—Brundage rebuffed.
Well, the IOC did endorse the FIS plan in principle, but there were a couple of curves hidden in the IOC statement (which Marc Hodler, the FIS president, said had been "written in Brundage's own words"). For example, still to be worked out was the final interpretation of "broken time" payments to skiers. The FIS wants broken time to be paid for as long as nine months a year; Olympic rules limit it to one month, and the IOC said at Warsaw that "all national associations [must] work under the same set of rules...in all sports." The FIS also proposed that competitive skiers entitled to liberalized payments be "licensed" by their national federations; the IOC said fine, but we will have to approve the terms under which they are licensed.
When it was over, the FIS was sitting there with a plan that had been approved and yet not approved. If it was a victory, it was one that left the skiers pretty much where they were before the battle. And the 82-year-old Brundage, as always, had the last say. In the closing press conference he declared that Articles eight and nine of the FIS eligibility rules (the controversial ones) had been, in effect, rejected. He softened that at the urging of a fellow IOC member but reiterated that the FIS, like other sport federations, must comply with the Olympic rules.
So, if the FIS is to defeat Brundage, the final battle is yet to come.
SHAPE OF THINGS
If you happen to be in Wisconsin this Sunday you might want to attend a sneak preview of the Lew Alcindor-Milwaukee Bucks show. Lew and the Bucks play an intrasquad game—though not in some secluded gym. Instead, they are appearing at the Milwaukee Arena (capacity: 11,138), and tickets are priced at $2 a throw. It will be Alcindor's first public performance since the usually mild-mannered giant allegedly broke Dennis Grey's jaw with one punch in a pickup game in Los Angeles (Grey is suing for $1 million), and there is no telling what kind of a contest it will be. But you can bet that it will set all sorts of attendance and gate-receipt records for a practice game.
Alcindor had other problems this week, too. He graduated from UCLA—and to do so required a cap and gown. "There weren't any gowns in our stock that were long enough," said Frank Halberg of UCLA, "and we had to order one especially from Collegiate Cap and Gown in Champaign, Ill. We had to have a gown at least 70 inches long. Actually, I stretched things just a bit. I told them, at first, I needed one 85¾ inches long, which is Lewie's exact height.
" 'How long?' they asked. 'That guy would have to be 9 feet tall.'
"But when I told them 70 inches, they said O.K. They had one but they'd have to shorten it. I thought they were kidding, but they weren't. They had one they made last year for a girl 7'7". They had to shorten it five inches."
Halberg doesn't know the girl's name. If any NBA or ABA team has signed her, it's being kept pretty quiet.
Did you know that worms were bad for fish? Especially when they are on a hook? Yellowstone Park officials figure that when undersized fish caught on artificial lures are released and returned to the water about 96% of them survive. But almost 50% of the fish taken on live bait die after being released. The reason is, simply, that fish tend to swallow live bait, worms in particular, hook and all.
Park officials ruled, therefore, that bait fishing was out in Yellowstone Park waters. However, the officials had failed to reckon with the fathers of small boys and girls. A group of parents worked up some splendid statistics, which they more or less defied the park officials to refute. They said that when their offspring used flies and other artificial lures, 75% of the fathers' time was spent untangling lines. But adult fishing time was interrupted only 25% of the time when the kids used the hook-and-worm method.
Yielding to argument and tradition, park officials recanted. Now, children under 12 will be allowed to drown worms in most areas, and fathers can utilize that extra free time to untangle their own lines.
In constructing Interstate Highway 80 through Clarion County, the Pennsylvania State Highways Department was guilty of polluting part of Beaver Creek—one of the best trout streams in the western section of the state. But nothing can be done about it. The conservation director of the state's Department of Mines said, "If this had been done by a strip miner, we would have shut down his operations. We have no control over the highways department."
BACK HOME IN INDIANA
Things having to do with the Indianapolis 500 are seldom dull. In May, during practice runs for the 500, The Indianapolis Star ran a picture of a fireman holding a hose at the ready near a car that had just been in an accident. In the fire hose was a knot. The caption read: "Knot Working. Luckily, the car didn't catch fire.. .. The Speedway track fireman holding the hose didn't know about his predicament."
When the Star's photographer arrived at the track after the story had appeared, a fireman bearing a hose with a knot in it called him over and said, "I want to show you this hose will work." And he sprayed the photographer up and down.
Well, now. The Star reported that incident and added, "This attack...will not go unchallenged. The matter will be turned over to [the law]...." It was, and the fireman was duly indicted by a Marian County Grand Jury for assault and battery. The case has not yet gone to trial.
Meanwhile, Cleon Reynolds (SI, May 26), the chief fire fighter at the 500, supposedly remarked that the firemen should have sued for libel. Reynolds is also basketball coach at Marian College in Indianapolis and for several years has served as coach of the Indiana high school basketball All-Stars, who each June play a two-game series with their counterparts from Kentucky. The Star sponsors the All-Star series. On June 5 it announced that Reynolds had been replaced as coach. No reason was given for the change—made only 16 days before the teams were to play—though Reynolds in the past four years had lost seven of eight games.
At that, Reynolds might be lucky. Last year's All-Star Game in Indianapolis was halted in the last minute of play when the fans got out of hand. Someone threw a whiskey bottle, a few spectators raced onto the court and an official was hit in the eye
And the drivers at Indy think that they lead a precarious life.
ALL FALL DOWN
A number of swimmers at the Mexico City Olympics were in a state of collapse after climbing out of the pool following their races. The high altitude was generally blamed for this, but a study by the medical committee of the International Amateur Swimming Association says that in most cases altitude was not the prime villain. The study holds that swimmers push themselves to the limit in the water and that, when they come out of the pool in this state of acute physical exhaustion, the sudden return to a vertical position imposes a severe strain. So much oxygen has been used in competition that the body cannot cope with the new oxygen demands suddenly created by climbing up the ladder and standing erect. The medical committee recommended that all swimmers remain in the water after a race, preferably in a horizontal position, and rest there quietly for four or five minutes. It hopes that this will become an international rule
WAITING FOR LEFTY
Lefty Driesell, the adroit basketball coach (SI, March 8, 1965 et seq.), is in the news again. Driesell outraged some sensibilities this spring when, on becoming head coach at Maryland, he ran advertisements designed to lure likely prospects to his campus. Earlier, he had upset the people at Davidson College, where his teams had achieved signal success and where Driesell had acquired such coachly fringe benefits as a summer basketball camp and his own television show, by accepting a new Thunderbird from admirers a week before he quit Davidson to take the job at Maryland.
Now Lefty has his old friends fuming again. Even though he was no longer coach at Davidson, Driesell indicated that he fully intended to return this summer to run the camp. There was some difference of opinion on this, particularly from Larry Brown, Driesell's successor. So Driesell consulted a lawyer, talked to Davidson officials and last week emerged without the camp but with $9,500, which the school apparently paid him for his rights in the venture.
Now everybody is waiting for Lefty to get the local stations to schedule reruns of his old TV shows.
DANGER IN THE AIR
The National Safety Council says: Watch out for kites. It warns that parents should always supervise children's kite-flying and cautions:
1) Fly kites only in dry weather. A wet string can be a conductor of electricity, and wet shoes on wet earth increase the danger of grounding an electric charge.
2) Keep away from wires, poles, buildings, traffic, electric display signs, railroad tracks, radio and TV aerials, construction sites, ditches and reservoirs—that is, dangers that can be stumbled upon or into. Fly kites in level, open areas where there are no obstructions and where wind currents are less likely to be gusty and uncertain.
3) The string has to be considerably stronger than the kite's pull to avoid breaking, but never use thin wire or tinsel cord. There is too much electricity in the air and all around us.
4) When flying large kites, use a reel and wear gloves to avoid burns when string runs through hands too fast.
5) Never climb a tree or a pole or onto a roof to retrieve a kite. A kite simply is not worth the risk. And always notify the power company if a kite becomes entangled in power lines.
6) Above all, never try to repeat Ben Franklin's experiment. Playing with lightning nearly killed Ben, and it did kill several of his imitators.
THEY SAID IT
•David Brower, conservationist, on how the pesticide DDT relates to man's environment: "The human body, including mother's milk, contains four times more DDT than the allowable government limits. In fact, if mother's milk were packed in any other container, we wouldn't allow it across state lines."
•Joe Gasparella, head football coach at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh: "I would like to think my job is in jeopardy. It would show somebody is interested."