MILITANT IN PHILADELPHIA
It was almost too much to read the so-called review of the Army-Navy game (It's the Biggest Draw in Philadelphia, Dec. 8), by your answer to W.C. Fields, Pat Putnam.
I was rather amused by his reference to Kennedy Stadium as a stadium "shipped in from ancient Rome and donated to the city by William Penn." Kennedy Stadium is one of Philadelphia's great legacies from the U.S. Sesquicentennial of 1926. Of course, Putnam's reference was one more futile attempt to be clever, but we of Philadelphia need only look at "Flushed Meadows" to see the legacies left from New York's most recent attempt to provide something of lasting value.
I am not a native Philadelphia. If I were I would find Putnam's article deplorable. As a transplanted Midwesterner well-acquainted with New York's vain efforts to be the center of all sophisticated humor, I find his weak attempt laughable.
JIM M. MILLIGAN
I thank you and congratulate Pat Putnam on the heartwarming article. His third paragraph sums up the whole value of service academy athletics.
COLONEL RED REEDER
December 22, 1969
Upon hearing of President Nixon's decision to award Texas or Arkansas a plaque representing national collegiate football supremacy, I became convinced that the country will any time now be caught in the clutches of subjective reporting. It appears that the Administration's scathing attack on the fourth estate has overlooked the field of sport, where an effete corps of impudent sportswriters has kept Penn State neatly tucked away.
What is to become of our nation if even such vehement and colorful figures as Vice-President Agnew fail to recognize how a small minority of snobbish reporters can influence the whole nation and convince even Ohio State, perhaps, that the game on Dec. 6 was indeed the game of the year. Are the sportsmen of America to be molded to believe that Penn State's schedule is any easier than those of Arkansas and Texas? Is America to ignore the fact that, despite the pomp surrounding the "big game," one of the two major polls puts the Nittany Lions in front of the Hogs? Can America think for itself?
Despite Penn State's decision to go to the Orange Bowl, I feel certain that justice will emerge triumphant. I can foresee the silent majority, that dubious entity, led by Joe Paterno and Notre Dame on New Year's Day destroying all subversive thoughts, along with Missouri and Texas, and victoriously beginning a new decade of sport that will prove helpful to the continuation of the glorious American Way of Life. Penn State—last year and this year—No. 1!
Every year millions of dollars are fed into that cancer of American society, the Mafia, Syndicate, or whatever you want to call it, through betting on college and pro football games. What does SI do about this? We get a glorified story of how "Chad" made $2,970 after paying the vigorish (You Can't Top a Good Loser, Dec. 8). Even Mark Mulvoy won his bet. Gee, what sport.
Mark Mulvoy's article on winners being losers was one of the best I have ever read in SI. But let's not forget that a team is out to win, not lose.
Howard Beach, N.Y.
The Nov. 24 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED carried a story, The Brooklyn Delicatessen Caper, by one Edwin Shrake. Just who is Edwin Shrake? We already know that he carries the title of associate editor, but this does not really tell us anything about him as an individual; therefore, we must look to the article itself to determine the nature of the being who penned it.
Certainly a cursory reading of the article would indicate he is not accurate, he is not humorous and he is not a reporter in the true sense of the word, for he is factually wrong, he misquotes and he is misleading. Mr. Shrake is incorrect about the amount of money stolen, the amount of money left behind, the union rules, the company's policies, the various quotations of Messrs. Relay, Gribbon and Gleason. His humor is decidedly sick if he treats a matter of this grave import so lightly—this criminal act is no more humorous than are any of the crimes which arc undermining our country today.
Finally, he is not a reporter when he belabors the point that one of the victims ordered "a Braunschweiger and cheese on rye with mayonnaise" while misrepresenting Wells Fargo's security measures. He offers peccadilloes to suggest authenticity; however he has presented a misconception of the general subject. The very comparison of Wells Fargo to Dale Robertson's exploits indicates the research sources and mental reference points of Mr. Shrake. Here we have a perfect example of the type of reporting Vice-President Agnew bemoans, and I regret that such a piece of journalism is permitted to damage the image of the entire armored car industry. Obviously, Mr. Shrake, in his diligent mispursuit of facts, neglected to learn of the many robberies which are thwarted regularly in this field.
Is Mr. Shrake sufficiently expert to be able to state as a fact that it is "really not much harder to steal $1.3 million from an armored truck than it is to take $85 from a liquor store owner"?
JAMES R. LEIDGEN
Wells Fargo Armored
•SI is confident of the facts as stated by Edwin Shrake.—ED.
If Steve Owens of Oklahoma set a "national" mark by carrying the ball 55 times in one game (FOOTBALL'S WEEK, Dec. 8), how could Mark Perkins of Hobart College have carried the ball 61 times in the 1968 game with my alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute? At RPI they taught us that 61 was more than 55, but that was small college math.
NORMAN E. COLTEN
Long Beach, N.J.
•Small college math it was, and an NCAA college division record for Perkins. Owens' mark is an NCAA major college record.—ED.
Grouping West Virginia U. with the Eastern teams during the football season scored a direct hit with our mountain people. That's where we belong—that's where we want to be.
But now the basketball experts on your outstanding staff have relegated us to the South, which is not where we belong—it is not where we want to be. Geographically, we don't really belong anywhere, yet we can be placed everywhere.
But it is the East that is more accurate for West Virginia U. inasmuch as its traditional rivals—Pitt, Penn State and Syracuse—are Eastern teams.
Here's hoping you help WVU get away from that old Southern stigma, which it has been trying so desperately to dump for the past few years.
Charleston, W. Va.
Lew Alcindor (My Story, Oct. 27 el seq.) claimed that students at UCLA are too busy having fun to concern themselves with society's multifarious problems. Dan Jenkins subsequently discerned that students at UCLA are too fanatically preoccupied with just such matters of social significance to cherish the exploits of Bruin athletes.
Both of these pretentious analysts—and all the others of their ilk who share the identical provincial, archaic, simpleminded, superficial tunnel vision that they display—have presumptuously concluded that recreational fervor and an active social concern are mutually exclusive traits of today's student generation. Surprising though it may seem, the two are as compatible as Mike Warren and Lucius Allen, and I invite anyone who thinks otherwise to visit UCLA and bear witness to the remarkable ease with which two sides fit onto one coin.
Sick with revulsion after reading of the atrocity at My Lai and stunned by the awful flaws it revealed in our morality as a people, I came across the article (PEOPLE, Dec. 1) telling of the apprehension of Messrs. Pauley, Petersen, Hilton and Nomellini.
These were not scared youngsters told they were going into major combat for the first time. These were prominent citizens, the friends of Presidents, multimillionaires, pillars of society; individuals, who have enjoyed every advantage our country has to offer to an extent only few experience, engaged in sport.
That they should feel themselves above the law, that it was all right for them to shoot more than twice the legal limit of ducks is to me another indication of the moral sickness abroad in our land.
The $250 fine each of them paid will never be missed. I hope your article will help to bring to them a sense of the opprobrium they have earned.
REAR ADM. E.H. BATCHELLER
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