QUESTIONS OF CONSCIENCE
By announcing Chip Oliver's departure from the world of reality (Wow, Like Let's Really Try to Win, Oct. 12) to a world of hollow-eyed, aimless existence, you have betrayed many of us concerned parents. Athletics and especially football have taught us all at least some of the meanings of team spirit, a desire to win and an ability to lose, and yet they are now reviled by many of our misdirected youths. As, hopefully, one of the last strongholds for athletics, SI should report Oliver's sad downfall for what it is. You should not accept it in every detail but, rather, decry the fact that the times that are upon us would allow a young man with so much potential to be content with slinging imitation hamburgers for a livelihood.
JAY G. SELLE, M.D.
I thank SI for being progressive enough to print such a controversial antifootball article, and I'd like to personally thank Chip Oliver for being a beautiful person. It takes a lot of guts to turn down all the money he was making for the difficult communal life he converted to. It's very reassuring to see that there are still people in this world who value such lofty ideals as happiness and helping others over materialistic gain. Chip Oliver has not only proven himself to be a fine football player but, more importantly, a fine human being. I only wish there were more people like him. Reading the article gave me an emotional lift.
J. ANTHONY TUHUS
St. Petersburg, Fla.
I am a pro-Agnew fanatic, but I am not so bigoted as to completely regard Chip Oliver's feelings as some radical nonsense. In fact, I have to admit that Mr. Oliver is a very unselfish gentleman. He realizes that materialism is what is hurting many people in this country, and he has rejected this way of life even though he can afford it. But I cannot see why he quit football. Just think what he could do with his $25,000 a year! His commune may not need it, but what about the United Fund or the American Cancer Society or pollution control? No doubt these interests would welcome Oliver's $25,000, and I am pretty sure that any organization that saves lives is acceptable to any political view. Chip should be reminded that his salary at Oakland is now being used on new cars, $200 wardrobes and $70,000 houses.
Oliver could help both his cause and other people if he came back to football. Publicity is assured him because he is a performer in one of the most publicized sports ever. He would be using a good game for a great purpose. And football needs real people: actual individuals. Not just football players.
Blaine Newnham's article on Chip Oliver clearly indicates that the former Oakland Raider linebacker really doesn't know what life and football are all about. "I'm no quitter," Oliver says, but what do you call a man considered one of the finest young prospects in pro football who quits the game in the prime of his career? Oliver also claims that the professional game "isn't as tough as the game we played in college." Yet, everyone knows that only the meanest and toughest of college performers have a chance in pro ball, and only a small minority of these players cut the mustard in the big time.
Finally, Oliver comments that the blow that convinced him to quit football was a forearm he received in the middle of his back during a Raider practice session. We are all so sorry, Chip, that you got hit while you weren't looking. What a pity! That is what football is all about, hitting and getting hit. Only the toughest survive, and it is obvious that Chip Oliver did not survive.
I must congratulate SI for listening to Chip Oliver even though his views do not coincide with the views of the majority of athletes or, for that matter, the majority of people in this country. Thoreau once said, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer." Maybe we all should try to listen a little more carefully. We could start by facing each other rather than the television set on Sunday afternoons.
JEFFREY A. GLINER
Bowling Green, Ohio
I have been waiting since Armageddon for a Pennant Race (Aug. 5, 1968) for another Mark Kram baseball story, and finally you have printed one—about Baltimore (Discord Defied and Deified, Oct. 5). It was beautiful. Thank you.
Aside from Frank and Brooks of the Orioles, another couple that should be inseparable is Mark Kram and Baltimore. In his Oct. 5 story on the Robinsons we recognize again the familiar milieu ("Only the ordinary go the distance in Baltimore") that we first met in Kram's Oct. 10, 1966 masterpiece, A Wink at a Homely Girl.
Baltimore may be a singles hitter's town, but Kram certainly hits a ton in Maryland.
GEORGE A. SHEEHAN, M.D.
Red Bank, N.J.
Jackie Stewart's cogent editorial on racing safety ("We Drivers Shouldn't Have to Die," Oct. 12) comes at a time when, despite the big hullabaloo the subject has raised this year among the racing fraternity, little is yet being done. It has been a sad year for followers of the sport. Promoters, track owners and sanctioning organizations should give serious consideration to Stewart's ideas, especially concerning medical preparedness.
I also found Stewart's description of racing's most frightening corners very interesting, but Bob Peak's illustrations were fantastic!
ROBERT ENTRIKEN JR.
I commend SI for its recognition of an urgent situation in motor racing. Why, however, must bloodbaths like Europe saw in 1970, Indianapolis in 1964 and Le Mans in 1955 be the motivating forces behind the public criticism that will inevitably lead to better safety measures? Unfortunately, all of the trees that may now be removed, the barriers that may be improved and the facilities that may be updated are going to leave Sachs, Clark, Bandini and Rindt just as dead.
It is worth noting that the United States Auto Club, which has generally been considered by the European contingent to be run in an archaic and conservative manner, has had no fatalities and few serious crashes in its championship division in nearly three years—more than 56 races. Yet in the midst of this welcome hiatus, USAC became even more safety conscious this past summer and simply refused to sanction races on several tracks that it deemed unsafe for competition.
Perhaps the international sanctioning body will consider doing something now that there are several conspicuous absences in the driver ranks; but what a price the sport has paid for its procrastination!
RARE, MEDIUM OR WELL?
Congratulations to the masked critic, Gael Greene, for her article A Guide to All-Star Indigestion (Oct. 12). It left me in a state of good old American nausea, but I'm afraid that as long as there are superstars, there will be superstar restaurants. So move over, Mom's apple pie, here comes the All-Star burger.
Murray Hill, N.J.
Too bad your sporty gourmet did not get to St. Louis. The food at Stan Musial Biggie's is definitely digestible.
You overlooked Ken Harrelson's Boston 1800 restaurant. Miss Greene should try this one for baked stuffed lobster. No "rubber chickens" served there! It rates five trophies.
Johnny Unitas' Golden Arm restaurant is at least a four-trophy place, one of the best around. The people are nice, the food's great and the prices aren't bad either. Please tell Mr. Unitas you're sorry.
Despite the dumping your connoisseur of "junk food" gave Broadway Joe's, there seem to be quite a number of cars parked outside Joe's place. By the way, when is Miss Greene going to open her idea of a perfect hamburger joint?
Gael Greene is to be complimented on her gastronomical reviews of professional athletes' eateries. However, I would like to offer some additions and corrections. While Gino Marchetti and Alan Ameche are in fact active in managing Gino's, Inc. and are owners, they are joined by some 5,998 other owners. Gino's, Inc., with 4,749,921 shares of common stock outstanding, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. All this did not come about "in less than a year"; Gino's, Inc. began in 1960 with eight restaurants in the Baltimore area.
RICHARD W. WEST
Bay Village, Ohio
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