MORE HOLLOW THAN HALLOWED
In refusing to move or postpone the 1980 Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee consistently argued that such actions would violate its charter. Yet in hopes of defusing the boycott movement, the IOC extended its May 24 entry deadline and is now mulling over limitations on the use of national flags and anthems in official ceremonies, both of which would also be in apparent violation of its charter. It is in like spirit that the IOC, faced with a paucity of rival bidders to host the 1984 Summer Olympics, overstepped its charter by allowing a private corporation rather than the city of Los Angeles alone to assume financial liability for the Games. And in hopes of rounding up more bidders for the 1988 Olympics, it may delay selection of a site for that event until 1982, a year later than the charter recommends.
The inescapable conclusion is that, pieties aside, the IOC adheres to its charter only when it's convenient to do so. In consequence, that supposedly hallowed document, like the Olympic Games themselves, has become seriously devalued.
Former University of New Mexico Basketball Coach Norm Ellenberger was acquitted last week in Roswell, N. Mex. on all seven counts of a federal indictment relating to a grade-transcript scandal at the University (SI, Dec. 10, 1979 et seq.). Five counts were for mail fraud, one was for wire fraud and one for interstate travel in aid of racketeering. The prosecution's key witness, former Assistant Coach Manny Goldstein, told the court that on Nov. 4, 1978 he had discussed with Ellenberger the faking of credits from Mercer County Community College in Trenton, N.J. for former player Andre Logan. Ellenberger denied that he discussed the forgery at that time. He told the jury he knew that Logan's transcript was being changed, but that he did not have a hand in it. Ellenberger said he knew that NCAA rules were being broken, but that he did not intend to defraud anyone or commit a crime. Faking Logan's transcript, he said, was a "stopgap measure" to allow Logan to play in an exhibition game because a new and legitimate transcript for Logan was expected to arrive in one or two weeks. The six-man, six-woman jury also listened to a tape recording in which Goldstein told Ellenberger how he planned to make a recruit, Craig Gilbert, eligible last season by faking 16 credits from Mercer through Gilbert's school, Oxnard Junior College in California. After deliberating for two hours and 45 minutes, the jury delivered its verdict. When the court clerk finished the announcement of the jurors' findings, the courtroom audience began to cheer and Ellenberger shook hands with nearly everyone in the courtroom. Ellenberger still faces a 22-count indictment, relating mostly to allegations of fraudulent travel vouchers, handed down by a state grand jury last month.
June 29, 1980
TACKLING A ROLE
The envelope, please. The winner in the best actor category at the 21st annual Clio Awards is...Joe Greene of the Pittsburgh Steelers for his mean performance as Joe Greene for Coca-Cola. You know the commercial, the one in which he tosses his jersey to the kid who gave him the Coke. Greene wasn't in New York last week to accept this Clio, the Oscar of advertising, but when apprised of his award, he exclaimed, "What, me an actor? I'm thrilled. It's like making five straight tackles on the one-yard line to win a football game." Greene has no immediate plans for an acting career, although he will serve as a Coca-Cola spokesman. As his attorney, Les Zittrain of Pittsburgh, said, "After the commercial, what could Joe do for an encore?"
It's still not too late for New Yorkers to get a jump on frog-hunting season, which opened June 16 and closes Sept. 30. Ronald Robert, a state environmental officer stationed in Warrensburg and an occasional frog hunter, reports that along the Hudson River just below Fort Edward, "They're filling buckets with 'em. Big ones, too. Nice, big bullfrogs, although the smaller ones up here in the Adirondacks might be a little sweeter."
Before Kermit the Frog fans out there start croaking, they should know that hunting keeps the frog population in check, while providing French restaurants with cuisses de grenouilles and biology classes with subjects. Sportsmen need either a fishing license if they use hand, spear, club, hook or long bow, or a hunting license if they feel they need a firearm in case an enraged frog should turn on them. The most popular method of catching a frog is to tie a piece of bright red felt or flannel to a hook and swing it over the unsuspecting prey, who almost always jumps for the bait. Netting is illegal under the regulation that reads "No person shall use any device which prevents the frog from having free access to the water." Sounds fair enough.
It is also illegal to hunt frogs between sunset and sunrise. Instances of frog poaching, however, are rare. "In 20 years I don't think I've had but three frog cases," says Robert. "People don't say, 'Well, I'm gonna go out and poach a frog,' but they might say, 'Well, I'm gonna go out and get a bucket of frogs for the old lady because she likes 'em,' and those people might not be completely legal in doing it." Although some fishermen use the smaller frogs as bait for bass, pike and perch, most frog hunters keep or sell them for food: good frog legs can fetch more than $3 a pound on the open market. "You catch 15 or 20 of'em and dress 'em up," says Robert, his mouth fairly watering. "I can see why people down in the city in fancy restaurants pay $15 or $20 for them."
Well, at least for one more year, Al Davis and his Raiders will be bunking down in Oakland. Davis, beset by legal entanglements, last week abandoned his immediate plans to move to Los Angeles and said that for now the team would stay by the Bay. "We had to provide stability for our players and our coaches," Davis said, "and we had to take an affirmative, positive step."
Needless to say, Davis is not being welcomed back to Oakland with open arms. As Jay Bedsworth, manager of an East Bay golf club and a Raider fan, or rather, an ex-Raider fan, said, "If Davis wants to move that badly, let him go. We'll get an expansion team." The Port of Oakland, which previously rented the Alameda training facility to the Raiders for $1, will be charging them $30,000 this year. Davis still does not have a rental agreement with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and Coliseum President Jack Maltester says, "Mr. Davis is something. How can he say he's leaving in 1981 and ask for a sweetheart deal in 1980?" In the past the Raiders paid a basic 10% of the gate as a rental fee, while not being charged for two exhibition games. Now Maltester says, "Let him pay for every game." Davis says, "I'll probably have to take what they offer us, but it will become part of our damage suit against [Commissioner Pete] Rozelle and the rest of the conspirators." Davis' antitrust suit against the NFL is to begin Nov. 18 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. For you football fans, that's the day after the Raiders' Monday night game with Seattle.
THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE
There are some oversights and overstuffs, but, by and large, baseball fans are showing uncharacteristic wisdom in voting for the All-Star teams this year. In the American League, the plebiscite is slipping up only at shortstop, where Bucky Dent of the Yankees is getting votes rightfully belonging to Milwaukee's Robin Yount and Detroit's Alan Trammell, and in the outfield, where Fred Lynn and Jim Rice, off to slow starts with the Red Sox, are one-two and Don Baylor of the Angels is fourth. Baylor might seem particularly undeserving since he was hitting only .250 with no home runs when he went on the disabled list in May, but winning the MVP last year must have counted for something. Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with California's Rod Carew at first base, Paul Molitor of the Brewers at second, George Brett of Kansas City at third, the Yankees' Reggie Jackson in the outfield and Boston's Carlton Fisk behind the plate. The AL might even be able to win the game for a change.
In the National League, there are a few curiosities. Dave Parker, having an off year for the Pirates, is the leading vote-getter in the outfield, while the more worthy George Hendrick of St. Louis is eighth and the Astros' Jose Cruz, who's batting .321 with 41 RBIs, doesn't even get a call. The Cardinals' Keith Hernandez might be a better choice at first base than Steve Garvey of Los Angeles, but then Garvey is up among the RBI leaders. Davey Lopes, hitting .240, is overwhelming a weak field at second base; the Phillie fans, who are usually very good at stuffing ballots, have only managed to place Manny Trillo, a .308 hitter, fifth. But every other position seems in order: Garry Templeton of the Cards at short, Mike Schmidt of the Phillies at third, L.A.'s Reggie Smith and Philadelphia's Greg Luzinski in the outfield, and Ted Simmons of St. Louis catching. The inescapable conclusion of the results to date is that the voters are punching the right holes. Which punches holes in the theory that the fans don't know what's good for them.
GOOD HIT, GOOD FIELD, BETTER LOOKS
The Bellevue, Wash. Journal-American conducted a slightly different baseball poll last week, asking the wives of Seattle Mariners to vote for the handsomest players in the game. The winner was no surprise: underwear model Jim Palmer of the Baltimore Orioles. He was followed by the Mariners' own Rick Honeycutt, then Jim Rice, Bucky Dent, George Brett, Joe Simpson of Seattle, Paul Molitor, Bill Russell of the Dodgers, Dwight Evans of the Red Sox and Ken Singleton of the Orioles. Debbie Honeycutt, wife of the runner-up, said the poll was confusing, though. "We weren't sure if they wanted it from the neck up or from the neck down or both."
Willie Naulls, who played in the NBA for 10 years, wrote the following letter to the Los Angeles Times after the Lakers won the league championship: "Tears were running down my 6-year-old son's cheeks as he kept repeating, 'Magic Johnson did this to me, Daddy. Is it O.K. to cry when you are real happy for someone? Magic Johnson is wonderful.' As a member of three Boston Celtic NBA world championship teams, I can tell you he brought tears to my eyes, too. Magic Johnson is wonderful!"
A little of the magic went out of pro basketball last week when Dave Zinkoff, the 70-year-old P.A. announcer for the Philadelphia 76ers, announced his retirement. Zinkoff's voice—a voice only the Audubon Society could love—rang in the ears of sports fans for 47 years. In the '50s, every time Tom Gola scored, it was a "Gola goal," and in the '60s, it was "That counts" for two points by Mel Counts. His most famous call was the "Dipper Dunk" for Wilt Chamberlain. Zinkoff's retirement seemed almost inevitable when his constant friend, NBA patriarch Eddie Gottlieb, died last December. Just as Gottlieb would bestow his giant Hershey bars on friends, Zinkoff would give away kosher salamis. Tom Meschery, a former NBA player and assistant coach and now a poetry teacher in Nevada, recalls, "Whenever I came back to Philadelphia, the Zink would come up to me before the game and say, as if he and I were sharing a great secret, 'I've got a little something for you.' After the game I'd always find a salami stuffed in my gym bag. The Zink was that good old-fashioned kind of show biz, and his retiring will take that away from the game. I would think he'll be missed very much."
THEY SAID IT
•Minnesota Manager Gene Mauch on why he let starting Pitcher Pete Redfern struggle for more than four innings before yanking him: "I was afraid I might strangle him if I had him in the dugout."
•George MacIntyre, Vanderbilt football coach, recalling a recruiting trip last fall after his Commodores had been routed 66-3 by Alabama: "I told the recruits they had a chance to play for us right away, but I had a funny feeling they already knew that."