Now that Joe Namath has cried for professional football, perhaps professional football will cry a little for Joe Namath (Mod Man Out, June 16). It is time that men like Pete Rozelle realized that sports is more than an isolated segment of society which can be strictly regulated apart from it. Life is changing, and sports must keep pace. Why the phony facade separating the sports world from the real world? Is sports to modernize, or to crawl back into the past? If it is to modernize, then the Joe Namaths of this world must be accepted as part of it.
Fair Lawn, N.J.
Your one-sided condemnation of Joe Namath's retirement is both disappointing and unjustified. The rationale behind the league's ultimatum just does not make sense: if Namath wants to bet or conspire with the Mafia, he certainly does not need a public bar in which to transact business. I am glad to see that at least one professional athlete has the courage and integrity to support his freedom despite the ubiquitous Rozelle. Bravo, Joe!
EUGENE D. SHAPIRO
New Haven, Conn.
I would like to congratulate you on your excellent article recounting the recent retirement of Joe Namath. Retirement? It appears to be more like punishment, in the form of Namath getting his face slapped by Pete Rozelle as a result of his disapproval of Joe's so-called "playboy" way of life.
As a reason for the ultimatum of sell or be suspended, Mr. Rozelle stated that people of "undesirable background" were frequenting Bachelors III. How could Namath tell? If so, what could he do about it? The case being as it is, Joe could have been suspended months ago if a criminal had been picked up while having a hamburger at one of the Broadway Joe's drive-ins. Actually, what Mr. Rozelle was saying was, "You're a football player, Joe, so I think you should live like a Puritan."
Previously, I highly respected Pete Rozelle as commissioner of football, but this time, I think he's thrown a bad pass. Joe Namath has made great contributions to football. He is a good athlete, a brilliant quarterback and a fine individual. If he is lost from football, it will suffer in many ways.
First you said in your SCORECARD item ("Namath and Rozelle," June 16) that three of the Jets acted like adolescents when they threatened their own retirements. Then you said Joe cried like a child because for once he could not have his own way. Have you forgotten what happened in Los Angeles when George Allen was fired as head coach of the Rams? He cried at his press conference, and I don't remember anyone connected with SI calling him a child.
Mr. Rozelle needs to be reminded that one reason for the realignment of Baltimore and the Jets into the same division was to produce some regular-season "Super Bowls" between the two teams. Without Joe Namath, that segment of realignment is as exciting as seeing summer reruns of Heidi.
Let me compliment you on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED of June 16. It says a thousand words in one picture. It proves that Joe Namath loves this violent game and wants to play.
Leola, S. Dak.
BUFFALO VS. GRIZZLY
Jack Olsen's grisly (sic) series (The Grizzly Bear Murder Case, May 12 et seq.) reminds me of the method employed by C. J. (Buffalo) Jones when he was game warden of Yellowstone in the early 1900s. Perhaps the National Park Service should try to revive it. Old Buffalo lassoed the bears in question, hung them over a tree limb and paddled their behinds with a long pole. They gave no further trouble. All that was required was the right man, the right horse and a good strong lasso rope. Ernest Thompson Seton and other naturalists attested to the efficacy of Jones' method, as the record shows.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
ROW, ROW, ROW
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has again broadened the vistas of sports journalism with the interesting comments of rower-turned-rebel James Kunen (Merrily, Merrily, June 16). The analogy presented by Mr. Kunen between the motives behind life and sport cuts deeper than some may think. The American Dream is to win, whether winning entails making money, making war or placing first in a boat race. We sometimes fail to see, however, that whoever wins, someone else must lose.
San Jose, Calif.
A year ago when James Kunen was writing (in New York magazine) about sitting in the office of the president of Columbia University preparatory to his confrontation with the university's administration, he said he was not quite sure why he was sitting in. ("It's possible that I'm here to be cool or to meet people or to meet girls...or to get out of crew or to be arrested. Of course the possibility exists that I am here to precipitate some change at the university. I am willing to accept the latter as true, or, rather, I am willing, even anxious, not to think about it any more.")
A year later Mr. Kunen has concluded that the motivation prompting his confrontation was to protest institutional racism. To accuse Columbia University of a policy of conscious racism is to deny everything that great university stands for.
Some people feel Columbia would be doing the country a service if it expelled the students who are causing all the disruptions. The forbearance Columbia has shown for these students is indicative of the concern the institution has for providing all its students with the background to discern what is a proper and improper way to correct the evils that are undermining the quality of our country.
Crew, as with everything else at Columbia, exists for the educational experience it provides its students, and if Mr. Kunen finds unsatisfactory the values that crew demands of dedication and loyalty and honor, there are others who do not.
NORMAN ERIK HILDES-HEIM
Coach, Columbia Lightweight Crew 1966-1968
New York City
Your article, Confessions of a Retarded Tiger (June 2), has made it easier for others to unburden themselves. At age 15, when my father was stationed in Germany, I was cut off from stateside baseball except for sketchy reports in the Stars and Stripes. Consequently, I was compelled to guide my Yankees through the '55 season from my room, playing all 154 games with a deck of cards my younger brother and I designed to recreate as accurately as possible actual game conditions and percentages. We kept batting and pitching records as well as league standings, and I still have not completely forgiven my brother for the success his team, the Cardinals, enjoyed in his league. The Cards breezed to the pennant, playing almost .700 ball, and Stan Musial led all the hitters. My Yanks finished just below .500, Whitey Ford was 14-13, and it took a replay of a "rain out" a day after the regular season ended to afford Mickey Mantle a chance to hit his 30th home run. Fortunately, he did hit it.
MAJOR DAVID J. PHILLIPS
West Point, N.Y.
Having just read Confessions, I have my own to make. My hang-up is the 1957 Milwaukee Braves. My game was to bounce a baseball against a sloping street curb which had a concrete steam pipe enclosure for a backstop. (Aaron and Mathews each had around 150 homers, but I played 162 games.) My Typhoid Marys were two tremendous guys who recreated games over an Anchorage, Alaska radio station, and whom we sent to the World Series with the help of listener donations.
But the sad thing is that, with the Braves gone from Milwaukee, I no longer get the same kick out of baseball. It has its advantages over football and basketball. Games are played every day, and thus the sports section has more news to report. But that first team to jilt a city has jilted me, and the owner of the nearest professional team, the Washington Senators, has said he might leave if he doesn't make money. No wonder my cry has become "Spahn and Burdette and two days of wet."
ROBERT C. STOREY JR.
I must congratulate you on the best overall issue of SI (June 9) I have read during my four years as a subscriber. Since becoming a car-racing fan after my trip to N√ºrburgring on June 1, Kim Chapin's write-up and Jerry Cooke's photography of Andretti, Granatelli and Indy made my heart beat a little faster. I enjoyed Don Moss' U.S. Open artwork and have gained some understanding of John Carlos from Skip Myslenski's searching article. But what best distinguished the June 9 issue is Bob Ottum's hilarious account of his Great Transatlantic Air Race which was adventure in its truest form. Thanks for a superbly entertaining issue.
CAPT. STEVEN SAELZLER
APO New York
Address editorial mail to TIME & LIFE Bldg., Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.