I have just finished reading William Johnson's five-part article on television and sport (Dec. 22 et seq.). I think that most people will tell you that network television has done more bad than good. First of all, television has helped inflation with its high rates for commercials. Two hundred thousand dollars for a one-minute Super Bowl commercial? Ridiculous! Luckily the networks have not yet affected basketball and hockey too much, and let's hope they don't or we may really see sponsors' prices take their toll in the stores.
Jersey City, N.J.
I would like to make a comment on WFIL-TV Producer Leonard Levin's letter (19TH HOLE, Jan. 26). He asks you to compare the 12½% of total TV football game time spent on commercials with the percentage of advertising copy in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. He seems not to realize that a reader can turn the page and proceed immediately to the next article if he so desires.
CHARLES L. LERMAN
William Johnson's account of NBC's foul-up in the Heidi affair leaves out an interesting sidelight. During the showing of Heidi, which I sat and watched in something of a state of shock, NBC ran occasional banners across the screen informing viewers of the outcome of the Raider-Jet game (not during any commercials, of course). One of these occurred at the climactic moment when the little girl steps out of her wheelchair and walks. So NBC not only loused up the football game but effectively ruined the climax of Heidi as well!
MICHAEL A. NORELL
Bob Cousy was unquestionably one of basketball's most outstanding players, but is his coaching skill really that commendable (Cousy Makes the Royals Run, Jan. 26)? His various fines and his team-unity doctrine are certainly steps in the right direction. But what about that all-important cynosure of any pro team, the won-lost record? No one can ignore the fact that this year's record is still below last season's mediocre .500 mark. Royal supporters place considerable blame on injuries, but teams with better records have had the same problem. Indeed, future years may bring Royal fortune, but let's tell the success stories after they've been lived.
February 9, 1970
William Leggett's article on the revamped Cincinnati Royals was interesting to be sure. I wonder, though, if upheaval for upheaval's sake, without evident positive results, merits cover-story reporting in lieu of more vibrant tales lurking within the pro basketball lair. Royal-style ball still produces fewer wins than losses, still draws pathetic "crowds" and has hardly stirred the blood of enthusiasts around the circuit.
One more thing. If, as Leggett suggests, Cousy stepped out onto Wisconsin Avenue from the Milwaukee Arena's rear door, I cannot appreciate that erstwhile coach's respect for Lew Alcindor. Any man capable of gobbling up three city blocks with a single step couldn't possibly stand in awe of a mere 7-footer. That "heavy rear door" is on State Street!
•Bob Cousy, take one giant step.—ED.
It thrilled me to read an unbiased account of the Brigham Young University situation (The Other Side of "The Y," Jan. 26). And so very fair of you to interview in depth only non-Mormons! Remember that terrible old "joke" about the Southern colonel who said, "Suh, I'm agin' only three things: ignorance, prejudice and Neeegroes"? The new version has a clench-fisted black say, "Man, I put down just three things: ignorance, prejudice and honkie Mormons."
Either way, it's not funny. Or are ignorance and prejudice kosher now—just as long as they are only directed toward certain groups?
L. C. MILNE
Sierra Madre, Calif.
William F. Reed states that "the doctrine that men with black skin are not qualified to enter the church's priesthood was incorporated in the writings of Prophet-Founder Joseph Smith." He further states that "polygamy was once a pillar of Joseph Smith's theological structure." It should be noted that the revelation on polygamy was not presented to the Mormon Church until 1852, eight years after the death of Joseph Smith. Anyone who has studied the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can plainly see that such doctrine was not consistent with the beliefs and practices of Joseph Smith or the church during his lifetime.
I am a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which was formed in 1852 by Joseph Smith's son and members of the early church who did not choose to move West with Brigham Young. Since 1860 the RLDS Church, as it is known, has been led by the sons and now by the grandson of Joseph Smith. The doctrines that the Mormons give Joseph Smith credit for are ideas brought forth by people who spent too much time in the hot sun! The RLDS Church has never practiced the doctrine of polygamy, and I am proud to say that within our church there are men of the Negro, Oriental and Indian race who belong to the priesthood.
I think that what the Mormons are doing is an injustice to the Negro race. I also consider the improper reporting of the facts surrounding the case in point an injustice to all the people who have been associated with Joseph Smith and the doctrine of his church. The situation at BYU will undoubtedly continue to receive attention, as it should. I sincerely hope that the facts will be properly represented.
W. M. BARNHARD
As far as my thoughts on your article The Other Side of "The Y" go, all I can say is: amen, SI, amen.
Your magazine often irritates, because it carries so much of the New York coverage it gets a little thick. The 10 pages on Hawaii in the bowl issue with one line on the Pasadena game was a real boo-boo. The purpose of this letter, however, is to congratulate you on your series on Bill Shoemaker (Out of the Oven and into the Winner's Circle, Feb. 2 et seq.). This is long overdue.
Recently, for my own amusement, I rated all athletes since World War II against some common measurements. These included the requirements that the athlete be consistently at the top of the national standings, win the big money events, perform throughout the country against the best competition, have the highest percentage of winning seasons and establish records that will stand the test of time. After all the statistics were compiled Shoemaker stood head and shoulders above all participants, with Bill Russell second and Koufax and Unitas third and fourth, respectively. Shoemaker's $41 million in purses, five national championships, 5,855 winners and his incredible 24% lifetime average is astonishing when measured against any jockey who ever rode.
EDWARD T. JORDAN
Arlington Heights, Ill.
Perhaps the Minnesota Vikings could have used this admonition found in an excerpt from our game preparation plans for the 1932 Southern Cal-Notre Dame football game: "Watch for Ray Sparling on the end around on big yardage situations. Play the weak-side end straight on, and work over his outside shoulder." Even though these battle plans were drawn (by Head Coach Hunk Anderson) during the archaeological age of football, they might have saved the extreme embarrassment suffered by the Vikes in the Super Bowl debacle, especially during those three carefree vacation trips Frank Pitts took into Minnesota's land of the sky-blue waters.
As a beardless sophomore, I was never juked three times in one game on the same sucker play. The Vikes have beards (I hope) and are paid (I hope) to react to the unusual.
1932 Notre Dame football team
Congratulations on your excellent article on cold-weather camping (Hot Tips for Cold Days, Jan. 26). I was introduced to polyurethane by Steve Perin of the Ocaté Company after a winter expedition to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. Now after having used the polyurethane bag I am anxiously awaiting the revolution in camping equipment.
One point that your article failed to mention was that polyurethane functions when wet. Several times this has been a lifesaver for me.
ALAN W. KELSO
More power to James Phillips, a man "with a little adventure left in his soul." But his wilderness etiquette could stand some improvement. The practice of cutting branches and boughs to make a forest bed is definitely out. There are far too many Americans and there is far too little wilderness. The thing to do, as the saying goes, is "take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints."
BRADLEY J. SNYDER
South Hadley, Mass.
Congratulations on your fine black-and-white action shot of the great sport of bridge (Sky-High Stakes on London Bridge, Jan. 26). You should, however, devote greater attention to the training, coordination and split-second timing required to shuffle, deal and hold those elusive playing cards and emphasize the physical skills necessary to sit in a chair while grasping or manipulating cocktail glasses, cigarettes, scorecards and pencils. I am looking forward to similar features on other often-neglected sports, e.g., hopscotch, jacks, canasta and fifty-two pick-up.
When Victor Mollo said, "That the great should err and be seen erring is forever a comfort for lesser mortals," he implied that Jeremy Flint erred when, after dropping Omar Sharif's queen, he returned to his hand and finessed dummy's 10. According to the Rule of Restricted Choice, Mr. Flint's play was not an error but eminently correct. In fact, the odds in his favor were slightly less than 2 to l. In this case the operation was a success but the patient died.
CHARLES C. DODD
Parkersburg, W. Va.
I wish to commend you for criticism of the action of the NCAA in its suspension of Yale and San Jose State as well as Gary Freeman (SCORECARD, Jan. 26). How sadly ironic that an organization founded in order to protect athletes should be an instrument in the destruction of athletic competition.
The concept of amateur collegiate athletics demands that college sports programs exist for the benefit of college students and not for the egocentric pleasure of a small group of feebleminded men. The time has come to ban the NCAA from all collegiate sports.
PHILIP L. ANDERSON
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