Oh, by gosh, by jingo, let's all go to Santo Domingo (A New Era for an Old Island, Feb. 1)! After viewing your excellent picture coverage and particularly your cover girl, Tannia Rubiano, I can see no reason why this Caribbean island should be bypassed in favor of other tourist spots. Would that I could visit this Dominican paradise.
WILLIAM F. O'BRIEN
If the beaches of the Dominican Republic are so private, who needs a top or a bottom? Here was a perfect opportunity to take it all off and, despite your repeated efforts in this direction, you flubbed it!
SI is a good magazine; conservation articles have been excellent. Why, then, do you find it necessary to run these meat exhibits every so often?
St. Meinrad, Ind.
You ought to change your name to ALL ILLUSTRATED. Cancel my son's subscription.
February 15, 1971
"Paradise Regained"? "Hell Regained" would have been a more appropriate title.
MARY D. BRADY
The next time you use this type of a cover will you please remove it from my copy of the magazine before mailing it to me.
SISTER LEONARD MARIE
What's so sporting about naked kids and half-naked women running along the beach? Come on, SI, knock off that stuff and get back to business.
It was a splendid article, and the picture on page 37 of the kids and the model racing along the sand was beautifully symbolic of innocence not yet lost, of inhibition not yet gained. What a pity that in our "advanced" plastic-and-steel culture such pure and natural expression of fun should be frowned upon.
I congratulate you for publishing the fine account by Curt Flood (My Rebellion, Feb. 1). Your magazine once again has had the courage to report on the problems existing in sports in this country. It is significant that Flood, a black man, has had the courage to fight the inequity that other stars apparently have found so easy to forget about for a few extra dollars. Right on, Curt. Change that Grand Old Game.
LEONARD A. GLAZER
Coral Gables, Fla.
Sorry, but I'm shedding no tears for Curt Flood. The greatest thing that ever happened to him occurred in 1957 when the Cincinnati club, exercising its right under the much-maligned reserve clause, treated him as an IBM card and traded him to St. Louis, thereby opening the door to his $90,000-a-year peonage. Flood's silence at the time was deafening.
JOHN W. KEARNS
Curt Flood says, rather resentfully, concerning the evidence for the defense of the reserve clause, "What they meant was that the change might reduce their profits." What is wrong with profits? Baseball is a very competitive sport not only on the playing field but in the office, and tough-minded business methods must be used to make it a success. With no profits there would soon be no owners, and with no owners baseball would degenerate into amateur or semipro status and sandlot conditions. If there is any doubt on this point, take a look at what were once thriving minor leagues.
When a club makes a profit the players feel that they are the ones who have earned it (they may be partially right), and they want to get every cent of it. But this is a one-way street. I have yet to hear of a team voluntarily agreeing to take salary cuts to help a club that is operating at a deficit.
Finally, while they resent the profits made by the owners, the players are not averse to seeking profits as owners of their own outside enterprises. Why are profits right for them but wrong for their employers?
Thank you for your beautiful version of what the outcome will be of the Ali-Frazier match (It's Gonna Be the Champ and the Tramp, Feb. 1). The poetry on how Ali will win was excellent, and it is good to know that a black man will finally make it to the moon—or somewhere out in space.
Muhammad Ali may be a great fighter, but his logic certainly lacks something. Most of his prefight banter consists of comparing his and Frazier's performances against Oscar Bonavena and George Chuvalo. Ali seems intent on convincing someone (probably himself) that on the basis of these performances he should "whup" Joe. However, it seems to me that Frazier became the first man to stop Chuvalo, while poor Muhammad danced with George for 15 rounds.
Only the evening of March 8 will prove who's the champ and who's the tramp.
J. MARC ROSEN
Pacific Palisades, Calif.
The new stars of Love Story—SI and Muhammad Ali. C'mon, many of us are getting sick and tired of seeing the bum!
I would like to thank Writer Pat Putnam and Photographers Sheedy and Long for a wonderful article on Jim Ryun's return to competition (Back in the Running, Feb. 1). The pictures were great, especially the one of Ryun breaking the string.
BLACK IS BEST (CONT.)
On the basis of two decades of experience in treating track athletes, I would add two observations to your very fine article, An Assessment of "Black Is Best" (Jan. 18).
First, the black athlete is just as much under tension as his white counterpart. I have done blood-pressure studies and found the range prior to competition to be 140/80 to 160/80 in blacks as well as whites. After competition the blood-pressure range was 110/70 to 130/70 in all athletes.
The one great physical difference I have found is in the black athlete's Achilles' tendon. His tendon is very thin and the insertion is high on the heel, whereas in the white athlete it is relatively thick and inserted low on the bone. The black athlete has a greater motion on the ankle, which is advantageous in track.
EMERY SZANTO, M.D.
New York City
Mr. Kane's article would definitely have to be called a scientific fabrication. The transport of large numbers of blacks from West Africa to the Americas created a new isolated taxonomic group: the genetic constitution of the black population became mixed with that of the indigenous population (an average of 35% white gene admixture). Therefore, what genetic change has occurred may be due to gene flow rather than to other evolutionary effects resulting from natural selection.
While it is not in accordance with the facts to pretend that physical differences do not exist, neither is it correct to suppose that they mark off any population so distinctly that classification can be free from doubtful cases. "Caucasian" and "white" are unsatisfactory terms; this division of mankind includes people from the eastern Mediterranean and northern India who are markedly different in appearance from Scandinavians. The term "Mongolian" covers a wide range of physical types. "Negro" has at least two quite distinct meanings, being sometimes confined to the so-called "true" Negroes of the west coast of Africa and sometimes used much more widely to include the Bantu-speaking peoples of Central and South Africa, as well as Caribbean and American populations whose ancestry includes many who are not African.
The only points about which one can be dogmatic are negative ones. There is no "sure" race. There are no hard and fast lines of division without exceptions and borderline cases. Neither is there a smooth gradation permitting one to arrange populations in an ascending and descendíng scale in respect of racial characteristics; skin color would produce one scale, height another.
Mr. Kane's discussion of West African cultures is vague and fragmented, and I would strongly suggest his reviewing the civilizations of West Africa, e.g., those of 1) Ghana, 2) Mali and Mansa Musa, 3) Songhai and Timbuktu and 4) the Moors, before making further categorical statements concerning other civilizations about which he has not thoroughly briefed himself.
I found only two significant factors mentioned in the article which contribute to the success of the black athlete: environment and psychological motivation.
STANLEY B. JOHNSON
Public Health Student
New Haven, Conn.
I defy you to find a single creditable scientist to uphold the general thesis of your article—that blacks are physically superior to whites as a race. I defy you to get the article published in a journal of any repute in the social or biological sciences.
The major differences between the "races" are cultural and due to variations in life situations here and now. Having just completed a Ph.D. dissertation on the very topics covered in the article, I can say without reservation that not a single one of the causes hypothesized, postulated or stated has any scientific validity or credibility. For the most part they are pure hokum, grounded in ignorance and stereotyped racial thought, sports myths and folklore.
DR. HARRY EDWARDS
Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of California
Martin Kane attempts to build superficial opinion into fact. Blacks do not do well in distance events because traditional restraints prevail there, as they do in the pole vault. I offer isolated but clearly factual evidence to support my contention that blacks can do well in longer distances. Nelson County High School in rural Virginia is about 35% black, and its cross-country team won the state unclassified championship in 1970. The team's six best distance runners are black. This past year three of them finished first, second and fifth in the state meet. Another black athlete at the high school ran a 4:29 mile and a 9:46 two mile while only a freshman. Their coach neglected to tell these outstanding athletes that blacks should stick to the sprints.
Your article belongs with those that attempt to explain the preponderance of black singers and musicians. Willie Mays and Walt Frazier are successful athletes for the same reasons Tom Seaver and Bill Bradley are: they were given the opportunity and happened to have a hell of a lot of talent.
Kendall Park, N.J.
Enclosed you will find a copy of Swimming World. I have just finished reading the article on the black athlete and the part that stated no Negro has done really well in swimming. I think the article in Swimming World speaks for itself. He is black, he is a national prep school record holder and he is my son (smile).
Andrew Brown is now at Morehouse College, where about five or six weeks ago he broke the pool record.
DAVID A. BROWN, D.D.S.
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