As a charter subscriber to SI and a red-hot Hoosier basketball fan, I was shocked at your hatchet job on this great team and coach (Shining in the Shadow of Knight, Feb. 3). Granted, Bobby Knight may be controversial, unpredictable, demanding and rather free with his expletives, but he is also one bleeping good coach, a fact you never did get around to mentioning. How super it must make this fine group of dedicated, team-oriented athletes feel to be referred to as "faceless wonders." Any one of the starting seven would stand out individually on most of the country's best teams. They have been molded together by a superb coaching staff. I hope the time comes when you can depict the situation at Indiana as it really is. You don't miss the boat very often, but you sure did this time.
KARL W. GLANDER, D.D.S.
The article by that bleep Curry Kirkpatrick simply won't wash. The thing I wonder about is how he can represent Indiana players as being so level-headed, and rightly so, yet fail to realize they reflect Coach Knight's teaching and philosophy. For example, no Indiana player under Knight has ever been whistled for a technical. I am not going into Knight's virtues because you do not have the space to list them all. Someone owes an apology.
Louis S. COVER
I think your article on Coach Bobby Knight and the Hoosiers was horrendous. Obviously, Knight's present record of 84-19 shows that his basketball teaching abilities far outweigh the temperament you dwelt on. You say that he doesn't like people, and yet his house is always filled with guests and former players. But then, with all of Indiana in love with him, who needs SI?
North Vernon, Ind.
Nobody cusses that bleeping much.
February 17, 1975
I thoroughly enjoyed Curry Kirkpatrick's article. The Hoosiers are truly No. 1 this year, and I believe the no-name gym rats are going to be around for a while. As for a "new, mellower Knight," I must have been at different games. I love Bobby Knight's temper, brashness and style, and I hope he will never change his ways. Knight is half the ticket.
Whitney Tower's article Sad End of an Empire (Feb. 3) is a blunt, straightforward piece of fine reporting. Having been commissioned by the Daily Racing Form to paint a portrait of Swaps as the 1956 Horse of the Year, I visited Rex Ellsworth's ranch at Chino, Calif. Even then, in its heyday, I was appalled at the dusty wire-enclosed paddocks that contained the horses. I was amazed that such a place could produce a horse of the caliber of Swaps.
RICHARD STONE REEVES
Congratulations on your investigative reporting. SI, in its journalistic role, does its readership a valuable service by filling in the background on such examples of cruelty, be it man-to-man or man-to-animal. Your weekly features are great entertainment, but sometimes we readers appreciate your role as watchdog even more.
JOHNNY, JACK AND GENE
Your perspective is pathetic, perplexing and preposterous! Although I enjoyed Dan Jenkins' article A Game of Jack or Better (Feb. 3), which so aptly described the rivalry between Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller in the Crosby, I feel Gene Littler's marvelous victory after a remarkable and courageous comeback from a serious bout with cancer in 1972 was tragically overlooked and underwritten.
Littler deserves more than one paragraph and a picture caption, not only because of his gutty struggle but because of his gentlemanly character and humble attitude, which personify the ancient and wonderful game of golf. It might be interesting to some to know where Nicklaus spent Monday night or that Miller isn't trying to be a millionaire, but for the majority of us ordinary people, to whom life itself is a constant struggle. Littler's comeback is an example from which we can all take heart. I take my hat off to Gene.
JOHN C. FOWLER
Dan Jenkins wrote about a duel, not a golf tournament. The Crosby is always a spectacular event, but why report on two players who finished tied for sixth? Gene Littler deserved the credit.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Not since you published the story Young Man on the Run (Aug. 12) by Jim Dunn have I enjoyed an article as much as I did So Much Depends upon a Red Tent (Feb. 3) by Grace Butcher. I was not inspired to go out and buy a motorcycle and set out on a similar adventure of my own; however, I was very much touched by the sensitive yet enlightened way Mrs. Butcher finds meaning in what she does. She has given me the inspiration to look for new meaning in the things I enjoy in life.
I cut Jim Dunn's story out of your magazine after it appeared last summer so that I could save it and enjoy it again and again. I have done the same with Grace Butcher's article.
Please convey my congratulations to Grace Butcher for a beautifully woven tale, and my thanks to you for presenting such a classic combination of artwork and literature. I absolutely love the opening illustration by Robert Heindel. This was one of the very finest stories you've ever published, and I go way back.
Congratulations to Mark Mulvoy for a mature analysis of the problem of physical violence in the NHL (Hockey Is Courting Disaster, Jan. 27). It is time that hockey purged itself of so-called players whose only talent is to fight, and the solution is really quite simple. Whenever an incident such as the one involving Dave Forbes and Henry Boucha occurs, the offending player should be suspended for as long as his victim is out of action. It might also be wise to require that the offender's paycheck be turned over to the victim. A player would think twice about losing a substantial part of his pay and perhaps his career over one vengeful act.
Some measure of violence is part of all team sports, even baseball; the nature of the competition demands it. Hockey would lose much of its interest if bodily contact and even occasional fights were banned. However, it is essential that acts such as Forbes' incur a penalty equal to the infraction. Punishment must be at the hands of league officials, not civil authorities.
ROBERT M. THORNDIKE
The Boston Bruins' Harry Sinden seems to equate late hits in football or slashing spikes in baseball with headhunting with hockey sticks. The first two represent violence unbecoming professional sports, the latter, if not dealt with sternly, will someday become murder.
To me and many other observers, the specter of the hockey stick swung at another player's head is the ugliest in professional sports today. Boys will be boys? If Clarence Campbell cannot see fit to deal with offenders, I hope jurors, such as those in Hennepin County, Minn., will.
Having witnessed Dave Forbes' assault on Henry Boucha, I feel that Clarence Campbell's 10-game suspension is only token punishment for what Campbell himself calls "one of the most vicious incidents that I have ever been called upon to deal with." A one-year suspension would have been too lenient.
WILLIAM F. DECESARE, M.D.
Iowa City, Iowa
I hope the Forbes-Boucha incident will bring about a very necessary reformation in the National Hockey League. The sport is degenerating to a point where a heavyweight contender is as vital to the team as an excellent goalie. I love hockey, but if the violent trend continues I'm afraid it will become more important to win fights than to score goals. League officials need the guts to adopt a rule giving game misconducts to all combatants and to see that it is strictly enforced.
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