THE 49ERS' NEHEMIAH
Wonderful! First, my all-star but ill-fated Rams finish below par in 1981 and the dreaded 49ers go on to win Super Bowl XVI. Now, San Francisco gets Renaldo (Skeets) Nehemiah, a world-record-setting hurdler, to help its cause ("...But Can He Take a Hit?" April 26). I can well imagine NFL defenders attempting to cover him on his lightning-quick pass routes. If Nehemiah gets behind the defense, it will be 88 and out the gate!
I have spent many hours watching in awe as Nehemiah breezed to victories in the hurdles at the University of Maryland. If he does only half as well in pro football, I have but two words for the "Anaheim" Rams and the rest of the league: Good luck!
As a track fan, I thoroughly enjoyed your article on Renaldo Nehemiah's switch to pro football. But one thing bothers me: Why do the experts seem to think he can't take a hit? It can't be because they feel he's not up to it physically; we're talking about a world-class sprinter with the strength of a tight end and the flexibility of a gymnast. Aren't strength and flexibility among the primary traits a player needs to reduce the risk of injury? Maybe the pros are worried about his mental toughness. But again, we're talking about a man who was at the top of his field for four years. The training he endured and the competition he engaged in were of an intensity that few athletes ever experience. He's as mentally tough as they come.
LEE V.WILLIAMS III
One is tempted to admire Renaldo Nehemiah for his disdain of false modesty. One is also tempted to wonder how long it will take him to learn true humility from the secondaries of those teams whose administrators he characterizes as buffoons. My bet is that he becomes modest before he becomes the world's greatest wide receiver.
R.J. BOXWELL JR.
San Leandro, Calif.
May 9, 1982
PATRIOTS: NEW AND OLD
Thank you for Jack McCallum's fine article on Kenneth Sims (It's Sims, or So It Seems, April 26). As a Texas fan, I have made the trip from Houston to Austin many times, I have seen some of the greats walk out on the field at Memorial Stadium and have watched Sims as a starter for two years. My only regret is that Houston didn't have the first pick in the NFL draft instead of New England.
Like all athletes, I enjoy seeing my name in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. However, I didn't appreciate the context in which my name was used in Jack McCallum's article on Ken Sims and the New England Patriots. McCallum's remark about my being "too small" indicates that he has very limited knowledge of what it takes to be an athlete. If I were too small, I'm sure I wouldn't have lasted the past nine years with the Patriots. Before the 1981 season, I had started 110 consecutive games and played in 117 out of 118 games. Are these the statistics of a person who is too small? If so, all athletes should be too small.
As far as being finished at nose tackle, please don't retire me prematurely. When I'm finished, I will be the first person to say so.
CONSIDERING A STRIKE
Having only one year's experience in the NFL, as an offensive guard for the Green Bay Packers, I haven't yet been exposed to all the treacheries and indignities we players are supposed to be suffering at the hands of the owners. Therefore, I feel that it's up to Ed Garvey and my fellow players to convince me that I should put my young career on the line by participating in a strike. Besides having to consider the vague plan of attack proposed by Garvey and the Players' Executive Committee, those of us who are still wrestling with the issues must now ponder the flippant remark about "the apathetic 1,000 who didn't come to the convention" made by Gary Fencik in your April 5 SCORECARD. His comment shows a lack of sensitivity to those of us who couldn't attend the players' convention in New Mexico because of a lack of funds or previous business or family commitments.
Instead of exhibiting contempt for the absent members, Fencik should have been more tolerant and flexible. After all, if we don't receive such civilities within our own ranks, how can we expect the same from the owners, which is what we want in the first place?
Considering that boxing is a sport in which the biggest names—not necessarily the best fighters—receive most of the media coverage, Clive Gammon's article on Alexis Arguello (Home Is Where the Heart Is, April 26) is perceptive in revealing what many observers have overlooked: Arguello is today's best boxer. Moreover, Arguello's place in history as an alltime great hasn't been won in the ring alone. As described in the article, his conduct—as a sportsman and as a man—has won him the respect of millions. His contribution to boxing is important, because he brings professionalism and dignity to a sport badly in need of both.
With WBC and WBA championships in every division and the addition of junior categories to certain weight classes, it would be difficult for a contemporary fighter to avoid winning a title of some kind. Therefore, to equate Alexis Arguello's achievement with the truly remarkable accomplishment of Henry Armstrong is absurd. It's easier to be a champion today than it was to be a contender during Armstrong's era.
ThanK you for your article on Alexis Arguello. I'm not an avid boxing fan, but because I've met Arguello, his career is one I have followed. I had the pleasure of spending 10 days with Dr. Eduardo Ramon and his family in Managua in June of 1978. While I was there, Alexis took me water skiing and even participated with me in an exhibition swimming race at the Central American Age Group Championships. He's a person who loves life and sharing it with others. I wish him and his family all the success there is.
DEBBIE MEYER REYES
Citrus Heights, Calif.
NOLES & CO.
Trying to deliberately hit a batter in the head has no place in baseball, just as hitting an opponent over the head with a stick has no place in hockey, but when SI singles out one pitcher, the Cubs' Dickie Notes (SCORECARD, April 19), as the main culprit in major league baseball, it is in error.
It seems that the old double standard is being applied. That is, it's all right to criticize an average player, but stay away from the stars. When sportswriters, baseball fans, announcers and former players talk about the great pitchers, they speak in laudatory terms. Yet some of those pitchers struck fear in the hearts of batters. Names like Maglie, Drysdale, Marichal and Gibson are greeted with plaudits, while names like Noles, Kison, Duren and Farrell are greeted with the old Bronx cheer.
Chin music is deplorable, but if you must castigate, don't just take a shot at the journeyman musicians. Remember that there have been—and still are—the virtuosos.
VANCE C. BOLAN
Camp Hill, Pa.
I have never written to any publication, but I had to write about Richard Rogin's PERSPECTIVE (April 12). Any parent who hasn't felt the "intimate, privileged sharing of effort and acclaim" when his or her children participate in sports is missing what life is all about. Thanks for a wonderful article.
How blessed are Richard Rogin and his children—he to have children who compete successfully in a wide range of physical activities and they to have a dad who not only appreciates their efforts but also travels to watch and support them and then write beautiful essays about them.
As a coach who has worked on both the high school and college levels, I have always encouraged the parents of my athletes to come out and watch their offspring compete. There is no greater thrill than watching your own flesh and blood participate to the limits of their physical abilities, unless it's watching your child get to the finish line first. Thanks to Richard Rogin on behalf of all parent-spectator-cheerleaders for saying it so well.
College of William and Mary
MIKE MARSHALL'S AUTOGRAPH
Regarding Robert W Creamer's article Hey, Mister, Can We Have Your Autograph? (April 12), as Creamer simplistically stated, although with a quote I deny having ever uttered, I believe the Autograph Syndrome damages the seeker and the seekee. To explain the psychological complexities requires a doctoral dissertation. However, I assure all with whom I declined the autograph dance, I neither anticipate nor want any financial gain that might derive from the scarcity of my signature. I trust all SI readers join me in saying, "Who cares?"
MICHAEL G. MARSHALL, PH.D.
•Marshall, ever true to his beliefs, didn't sign his letter.—ED.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.