THE SYDNEY MAREE STORY
Over the years SI's voice has developed into a force for social justice. You've taken courageous stands, which often prompt letters beginning "Cancel my subscription...." For me, part of the reason I await the arrival of each issue is the quality of your writing coupled with this commonsense social awareness. That combination is epitomized in your July 18 issue in an extremely powerful piece of writing by Gary Smith about Sydney Maree and South Africa (He Ran, but Knew Not Why). The article is a home run, a knockout, a no-hitter, a touchdown—a pure 10 from start to finish.
Thank you for an insightful and sensitive story on Sydney Maree. We who have always known liberty and privilege often do not fully understand our great fortune, let alone appreciate it. I am proud to welcome a man of Maree's character as a fellow American.
Apple Valley, Minn.
I am a voracious reader of literature and have often had feelings awakened by the words I have read. But the story on Sydney Maree by Gary Smith stirred a unique feeling, one not often aroused these days, namely, an awareness that America is still a ray of hope for many people around the world. May we never forget our importance to the lives and dreams of so many suppressed human beings—not blacks, whites, yellows or reds, but just plain human beings all over the world.
MICHAEL W. DUSWALT
As I was reading Gary Smith's story, I felt I could share the anger that pushed Maree to show he was as good as the next person, if not better. Prejudice is a damaging trait in the human race and I am happy to see Maree succeed in spite of it. He has shown great determination and courage.
July 31, 1983
Your feature on Sydney Maree is an excellent rebuttal to those who argue, hypocritically, that you shouldn't mix sports with politics. The blatant attempt by the South African government to put a humane face on an unspeakably evil system by exploiting a young Maree clearly points this out. South African officials are so blind they cannot see that their efforts at "openness" in sport instead reveal to the world the true barbarity of apartheid. They also fail to comprehend that their duplicitous approach affronts, rather than attracts, moral human beings.
State College, Pa.
The Sydney Maree story attests to the courage and dignity of a young man struggling against one of mankind's greatest evils: racial oppression. I applaud Gary Smith's frankness and directness in reporting. Implicit in the latter half of the story, however, is a serious misconception. From the fact that Maree can buy cars and stereos in America, one may conclude that his problems with racial prejudice are over. To be sure, things are better here than they are in South Africa, or than they were in this country 20 years ago, but because Maree or any other talented black athlete can buy a car and a stereo and can live well does not mean that America has proved itself to be the land of opportunity for all blacks and other minority peoples. America has a long way to go before it fulfills its creed, before it realizes the dream shared by great Americans like Martin Luther King and the Founding Fathers.
It's ironic that in the front (SCORECARD) of your July 18 issue you talk of the long struggle to regain Jim Thorpe's Olympic medals, which were withheld because he received pay for playing baseball, while in the back is a story about a new American Olympic hopeful, Sydney Maree. We are told that his fellow trackmen don't understand why Maree demands to be paid so much to compete, that he has made enough to have a split-level home, two BMWs, expensive electronic gadgets, etc. There is nary a suggestion that all this might, or even should, compromise his amateur status in the coming Olympics. Burn on, Olympic flame! The U.S.S.R. subsidizes its athletes, and we buy ours on the foreign market. What a farce.
I was disgusted and revolted by the graphic article you did on Sydney Maree. What little joy we obtain from sports competition is surely not enhanced by a picture of some grinning men slicing up some terrified, innocent animal. Shame on you.
San Marcos, Calif.
I applaud Steve Rogers' gutsy [and, now, successful] effort to raise the racial consciousness of the Atlantic Coast Conference (SCORECARD, July 4 and 25). I observed a similar situation in 1971 while I was a visiting professor at North Carolina A&T State University. At a professional conference I mentioned to a representative of South Carolina State that there was an article in the morning paper about a golf tournament that included ACC teams at a country club in his hometown of Orangeburg, S.C. I knew he was a golfer so I inquired about the course. He replied that he couldn't tell me much because, as a black, he was not welcome to play there. I noted that there was another story in the same sports section about the accomplishments of a black basketball player at an ACC university, and we wondered how long it would take ACC, and other, schools to see the inconsistency of relying on black players in some sports and playing at segregated facilities in other sports. In the case of the ACC, apparently it has taken more than a decade.
Your readers may be interested to know that Rogers was a fine offensive tackle at Williams College for four years on some very good Division III football teams. I'm gratified that a former Williams athlete was the one who called for an end to the practice of official athletic complicity with racial injustice.
ROBERT R. PECK
THOSE CANADIAN CLUBS
Reading Steve Wulf's article on Toronto and Montreal (A Tale of Two Cities, July 18) was most enjoyable. Toronto having been the doormat of the American League East for so many years, it was great to see the Blue Jays get some well-deserved attention. That organization is a prime example of what hard work and dedication can bring.
I applaud Steve Wulf for his article on the Canadian clubs. No, I am not a fan of either team, but I do appreciate superb writing. In fact it was Wulf's third brilliant piece in as many weeks.
Your staff seems to be able to produce outstanding articles at will. Steve Wulf's report on Canada's two top-ranking baseball teams was no exception. However, this subscriber detected a slight error. Steve Rogers the best pitcher in the National League? No way, José; es Mario Soto!
How can you write a story about the Montreal Expos and not say anything about Al Oliver? He has been one of baseball's most feared hitters for years but doesn't get nearly enough recognition from the media. If pitchers were journalists you would hear his name often.
Come on, SI. You're supposed to have some of the best sportswriters in the world, but what do they come up with? The same old stereotypes of Canadians being uneducated morons who destroy the English and French languages while guzzling beer every night. What's next, Polish jokes? What you should realize is that such humor should be attempted only by native Canadians.
GARY B. SAVANYU
G'day. Thanks fer dat beautyful story on dose Blue Jays and Expos. So, O.K., but, like, one problem. You hoseheads mixed up Jim Clancy and Jim Gott in yer picture caption. Have another Labatt's, and then get it right in de World Series, eh?
Why make such a big deal of Montreal and Toronto contending for divisional titles? Their players are just as U.S. American—and Latin American—as those of the Atlanta Braves, the team that will eliminate the Expos in the National League championship series and then the Blue Jays in the World Series.
BILL KLING JR.
Canadian clubs! Who cares? What about that Texas club, and I don't mean the Astros. Let's get those amazing Rangers on the cover. They're for real.
I am employed by the Bethlehem area chapter of the American National Red Cross as director of summer safety services. I feel the item entitled "Football Hero" in SCORECARD (July 11) accurately applauded Joe Delaney for his bravery, because only courage could drive a "poor swimmer" to act so heroically. However, I find myself greatly pained. Delaney's death exemplifies why the Red Cross, with the devoted assistance of Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow, developed a water-safety program in 1914. The aim, of course, was to eliminate the horrendous waste of life that occurs each year as a result of drowning. Had Delaney taken any Red Cross water-safety or swimming course, he would very probably still be alive, and perhaps he would have been able to save the two boys' lives as well. Perhaps, too, I would have had the opportunity to read a tribute to Joe Delaney, the hero, instead of a tribute to his heroic death.
LACHLAN G. PEEKE
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