UNESCO and the International Council for Sport and Physical Education—which is mouthful enough—issued recently a working paper prepared jointly and entitled Mass Media, Sport and International Understanding that is all but unswallowable. The fear is, in this world of burgeoning bureaucracies and consensus thinking, it will not be seen as that.
The report is crammed with words like duty, responsibility and promotion. It is also crammed with blatant nonsense. For example, the press has "a responsibility for the future and for the safeguarding of sport"—which is not at all the responsibility of the press. Also, "It becomes...a duty for the media to give...information about all technical aspects of sport...." and "Mass media should make the social objectives of sport understandable to everybody regardless of the level of education...."
There is a lot more. One can visualize a reporter being barred from the press box because he had been weak on "the socialization of sport through the propagation of accepted values..." (the report's phrase), or persisted in using words of more than one syllable.
September 29, 1974
This is not as farfetched as it may seem. The one area where the organization committee for the Montreal Olympics will stint is in accommodations for the press. There were places for 4,000 or so newsmen at Munich. The number in Montreal will be 2,000, and some criteria will have to be set to winnow the acceptable from the unacceptable. Hopefully, the Montreal planners will arrive at sensible, valid standards and will give the UNESCO report the big brush-off. The report's writers, incidentally, invite suggestions. For starters, shred it.
In a sense he and not Dr. James Naismith was the inventor of basketball. At the University of Kansas, while Naismith spent most of his time in a corner of Robinson Gymnasium teaching fencing and wrestling and keeping tabs on the physical measurements of generations of college students, Dr. Forrest C. (Phog) Allen was exploring ways to develop the game into the national pastime he never doubted it would become.
"Forrest," Naismith had told his protégé earlier, "you don't coach basketball, you just play it." Phog Allen coached basketball as none had. When he retired after 46 years at the mandatory age of 70 in 1956, he was the winningest coach of all time with a record of 771-233. He was a sound fundamentalist, but an innovator and propagandist, too, who never let the game pass him by. He died last week at the age of 88. Adolph Rupp of Kentucky, his disciple who had played as a substitute for Allen at Kansas in the early '20s and, as a rival coach, eventually eclipsed his winning record, said it simplest at a funeral service in Lawrence: "He will go down in history as the greatest basketball coach of all time."
THEY'D RATHER BE REICH
Frank B. Fuhrer, president of the Pittsburgh Triangles, has been elected president of World Team Tennis. His predecessor? Jordon Kaiser.
Professional football now has its first eight-mile man. He is George Reed, the 34-year-old running back for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (SI, Aug. 13, 1973). With 101 yards in a game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week, his sixth over 100 in 11 games this season and the 54th of his 12-year career, he exceeded 14,100 yards in rushing.
Reed passed Jim Brown's career rushing mark, which fell eight yards short of seven miles, at the start of last season. Now he is within 56 yards of his 10th 1,000-yard season. Brown had seven. With five more 100-yard games Reed will top Brown's record of 58.
Running is not George Reed's only distinction. He is also the president of the Canadian Football League Players Association. It struck and picketed the CFL this summer and won substantial concessions from team owners in a new contract. In marked contrast to the NFL's disparagement of its player union leaders—to date 11 player representatives or union officers and two alternate representatives from the 26 teams have left their teams—the CFL is boasting of Reed's accomplishments. He remains the most respected man in Canadian football.
To finance construction of its new field house, the University of Nebraska received from the state 5¢ on each package of cigarettes sold. There will be no smoking in the arena.
A VOTRE SANTÉ!
There are signs that some people are carrying conservation too far. Unwilling to toss away the pull-tab on their soda or beer can or put it in their pockets, they drop it through the slot before drinking. Dandy idea, except deep drafters tend to suck the tab up and, oolugh, it gets lodged in the esophagus, polluting, so to speak, the alimentary canal. The accident happens often enough that doctors at a recent X-ray forum listed "pull-tab ingestion" among athletic injuries.
STOP THAT PRINTOUT
Computation has its own hazards. What, Rice Football Coach Al Conover asked the university's computer before his team's opening game against Houston, were Cougar tendencies on third down close to their own goal? Never, said the electronic wizard, do they pitch out.
So on third and two Houston pitched out and went 91 yards for its first of three touchdowns against scoreless Rice.
"You just can't trust those things," said Conover. "We're going over there to the computer center and beat hell out of that machine."
Deane Beman, who succeeded Joe Dey as commissioner of the Tournament Players Division of the Professional Golf Association, still had not made up his mind last week about the behavior of Tom Weiskopf several days earlier in the World Open. It would be another week or 10 days before he did, he said. "We don't want to make a decision until we have all the facts. We're still investigating."
The facts seem clear enough. Weiskopf, who has not been playing well, merely swatted at his putts on three late holes in the third round of the World Open, double-bogeyed the last two and refused to sign his card. This occurred shortly after it was revealed that Beman had fined both Weiskopf and Johnny Miller $1,000 apiece for playing desultory golf in earlier tournaments, each hitting a couple of backhand putts on 16th holes during second rounds and walking off the courses and out of the tournaments. For his action, Beman received high marks among those who had feared he would not prove strong in dealing with recalcitrant pros.
"He's got to be suspended," said Jack Nicklaus of his friend Weiskopf. Pointing out that Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player always finish whatever they start, no matter how badly things have been going, Lionel Hebert said, "I've turned in some pretty bad scores. I don't think there's anything more bush-league than picking up." Asked Gibby Gilbert, "This is the same Tom Weiskopf who grew up last year?"
Whether it is or not, it should be the same Deane Beman who grew tough a few weeks ago. Pros, like all of us, are entitled to their little tempers. But the people who pay good money to watch them are entitled to something, too, such as the pros' best, skilled efforts. Even when they are at their worst, they make shots the majority of us would give a week's salary to duplicate. The time has come to nip an unseemly practice before it becomes epidemic.
By coming in one-two in last week's Little Brown Jug (page 70), Armbro Omaha and Boyden Hanover offered further evidence that the keystone to winning harness races is to have a Pennsylvania father. Both were sired by Pennsylvania studs, as were eight others among the 17 starters in the pacing classic. Last year the sport's top three sires, measured by the earnings of their get, were Pennsylvanians: Bye Bye Byrd of Hempt Farms, Mechanicsburg ($2,030,128); Star's Pride ($1,919,873) and Tar Heel ($1,879,557) of Hanover Shoe Farms, Hanover. Bye Bye Byrd was only the third stallion in history whose sons and daughters earned more than $2 million in one year. The first two: Star's Pride and Tar Heel, in 1972.
WISH YOU WERE HERE?
Even as you read this there may be a lost band of U.S. sportswriters, columnists and photographers wandering through Germany's lush Moselle Valley, drinking the wine and looking dazed. They started out for Za√Øre and the Great Telstar Title Fight and ended up in a shopping-mall hotel outside the tiny town of Trier. It seems safe to say that their bosses—and especially their expense-account auditors—will never buy the story.
The odyssey started as a special charter tour of working newsmen: for $784 per person they would be flown from New York to Kinshasa and delivered to ringside. Then the price escalated to $1,263 a head, and the promised charter turned out to be an affinity-group booking on Icelandic Airlines to Luxembourg. President Mobutu's personal Air Za√Øre plane would pick up the 120 or so journalists there and wing them on to Africa. Not immediately. For the night they all were tour-bussed across the German border to a hotel in Trier. It was there that they first heard about the cut that cost a fortune.
In the pandemonium that followed, everybody tried to call his office from the hotel's one lobby phone. Answering editors said, "I thought for one fleeting moment you said you were in Germany. You mean Africa, dummy. Where's my story?"
It got worse. Rumor piled upon rumor. Would there be a fight? Would it be postponed? If so, how long? The Air Za√Øre official shrugged. If the sportswriters would only get on the plane, he said, they would find out everything in Africa.
A few, 10 or so, got on the plane (see page 36). The others balked, unable to face a month or so in Kinshasa while the rest of life—like the World Series—passed them by. They watched the plane take off, then discovered that Icelandic's next homebound flight was fully booked—and there were no hotel rooms left in town. When last seen, they were playing to see who would buy the next round of drinks. The contest: pitching malaria pills against the wall.
It was only a friendly quip, but it put thoroughbred racing people on their high horses. At the end of a fine eulogy to television news editor John Merriman, who was killed in an airline crash at Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 12, ABC Newscaster Harry Reasoner said, "He had only one fault, in my view—a strange fondness for horse racing. But nobody's perfect."
The New York Racing Association, never noted for its sense of humor, requested and received a transcript of that part of Reasoner's show, and some of ABC's racing-minded listeners immediately phoned or wrote ABC. Incensed, they claimed that Reasoner's remarks demeaned the sport that had given Merriman so much pleasure.
Ironically, ABC had only recently discovered horse racing. The network wheeled and dealed last spring to win the sport's most lucrative event, the Kentucky Derby, away from Merriman's old stand, CBS.
Well, as Reasoner said, nobody's perfect.
THEY SAID IT
•Leonard Gray, Seattle SuperSonic rookie, evaluating the talents of 7-foot fellow rookie Tom Burleson: "Well, when everybody else is tired, he's still going to be tall."
•Ken Aspromonte, Cleveland Indian manager, giving his phone number to Baltimore newsmen: "Don't call me if I'm fired. Let me hear about it on the radio or get it from a newspaper."
•Lefty Driesell, University of Maryland basketball coach, after the Terps had returned from winning the Eighth Intercontinental Cup Games in Mexico City: "I liked the officials. They couldn't understand a word I was saying."