I was deeply moved by Clive Gammon's article (A Day Of Horror And Shame, June 10). I was at the game in Belgium. I was in the section where the wall and fence collapsed. I'm a Liverpool fan, and I know that except for the 200 animals who started the riot, the other 18,800 Liverpool supporters there would like to apologize to the world for what happened.
San Mateo, Calif.
What a shame that such a terrific matchup—Juventus against Liverpool in the European Cup final—had to turn into such a senseless tragedy.
What is also sad is that the only time soccer gets national media coverage in this country is when a tragedy like this occurs. The riot in Brussels was another black mark against the sport of soccer and its development in the United States.
Clive Gammon repeatedly refers to the Liverpudlians responsible for the soccer disaster as animals. This is demeaning to animals. Savages or monsters, yes, but please, not animals.
MATTHEW C. CAMPBELL
Longboat Key, Fla.
June 23, 1985
As part of your coverage of the soccer riot in Brussels, Craig Neff answered the question, "Can It Happen In The U.S.?" I commend Neff on his reply. As a sports fan, I am faced with the reality that the U.S. has all of the violent characteristics needed to put the country in danger of a riot or some similar occurrence. Neff has informed people about the consequences of mixing sports and alcohol, and for this I, for one, would like to congratulate him.
In 1932 Dr. Charles Gray Shaw, professor of philosophy at New York University, wrote, "The Briton is at heart a gentleman, hence he cannot admit that man is naturally brutal and selfish." It's time that he did.
Those who want in-depth psychological analyses of the British soccer fans who assaulted the Italians in Brussels should take time for a careful and close reading of Alan Sillitoe's The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange. These authors have been warning us that this kind of thing was coming for the past 25 to 30 years.
DONALD C. STEWART
Professor of English
Kansas State University
How quickly even SI forgets. In your excellent report on the Brussels soccer riot, you rightfully deplore the horrid, senseless violence. Then in the very next article, on the NBA Championship Series (The "Movie Stars" Changed Their Act), you practically glorify it, with lots of references to bullies, longshoremen vs. movie stars, and good old fisticuffs, complete with Alexander Wolff's colorful commentary, "Sock!" "Biff!" "Pow!"
HERBERT W. ZIMMERMAN
Michel Platini, who is featured as the Juventus player in the photograph on page 28 of your June 10 issue, does not appear in the photograph on page 29, contrary to your caption.
I am Platini's brother-in-law, and I am returning today to France after my annual four-week vacation in the U.S. with my Oakland-born wife, Ginnie. Platini thought it was an outrage to play the game after 38 people had died. He did not take part in any postgame celebrations, deeming it obscene in view of the preceding tragedy. And 48 hours after the Heysel Stadium disaster, he spent six hours visiting survivors in six Brussels hospitals before leaving on a three-week vacation in his native France. Michel, I am sure, would like SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to correct the impression that he was able to muster a "triumphant smile" after his penalty kick won the game for Juventus. He wasn't. No thinking human being would be.
•SI erred. The Juventus players shown in the picture on page 29 of the June 10 issue are (left to right) Antonio Cabrini, Gaetano Scirea and Massimo Briaschi.—ED.
It's great seeing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar back in the spotlight again. He sure looks good on the cover (June 10 and 17).
Nearly 20 years ago when, as Lew Alcindor, he was making national headlines as a UCLA freshman, his Laker teammate Byron Scott was four years old, and Larry Bird was nine. Nowadays, Abdul-Jabbar's skyhook is still as graceful and unstoppable as ever. His long, brilliant career speaks for itself. Hooray for Kareem!
New York City
So much for the fabled jinxes—your cover's and Boston's.
Kareem is great at 38, but what about the other Great One? Didn't Wayne Gretzky and his Oilers deserve a cover?
In the June 10 issue a reader wrote: "Ugh. A football cover on Memorial Day weekend. Down with the USFL." I say: "Ugh. A basketball cover in June. Down with the NBA."
DICK AND TOMMY
Finally someone else sees CBS's presentation of the NBA finals the way I do (TV/RADIO, June 10). Dick Stockton is so incredibly nice he makes Mr. Rogers seem like Hulk Hogan. He is, though, a welcome change from the likes of Hubie Brown, who was so anti-Celtic that it was unbelievable.
As for Tommy Heinsohn, it is beyond me how anyone with that little knowledge of the English language can get through life, let alone get a job as an announcer with one of the three major networks.
So William Taaffe thinks that Tommy Heinsohn is in danger of fouling out? Not as far as this viewer is concerned! When I want good grammar, I turn to Edwin Newman. When I want to relax and enjoy, I turn on the NBA playoffs.
Sure, Heinsohn may not always look that good "going to the hoop," to borrow an expression from Taaffe. But like the good old Celtic that he is, he certainly gets the job done. In fact, he and Dick Stockton make a great team. And in Game 2 of the finals, when Tommy burst out with "This series is gonna be a ton of fun!" he hit the nail on the head!
New Haven, Conn.
My compliments to Jill Lieber on the excellent article about the Tampa Bay Bandits (Rebels With A Good Cause, June 3). It's a shame that many of the owners in the USFL did not adhere to the league concept John Bassett discussed. Things might have turned out better. As a believer since 1983, I can only pray that Bassett makes a full recovery and that Tampa will have Bandit Ball for many springs to come.
Guys like Donald J. Trump, John Bassett and all the other USFL owners make me see red. They are classic examples of men with too much money and time on their hands and not enough sense to refrain from throwing it all away on one massive ego trip.
In spring football, they are giving us a product that nobody wants, if one is to believe attendance and TV figures. They have rigged an artificial game, with only one or two pro-caliber players per team, by paying huge salaries that they cannot afford. They are not only bankrupting their own league but the game as a whole. I can't wait until the USFL folds and the talent flocks back to the NFL. Until then, please spare me from having to read about the Bogus Football League.
Coconut Grove, Fla.
There are, of course, many examples of fathers and sons who have played in the major leagues. However, I wonder if my fellow SI readers can cite a World Series whose participants fathered as many major-leaguers as members of the 1960 Pirates and Yankees did. Of the Pirates, Vernon Law's son Vance is with the Expos, Ducky Schofield's boy Dick is with the Angels and Bob Skinner's offspring Joel, now with the Triple A Buffalo Bisons, played in 43 games for the White Sox last year. And Dale Berra, Yogi's son, is following in his father's Yankee footsteps. I believe these three 1960 Pirates and one Yank may have produced a baby boom.
I am an avid fan of ice hockey and watch the game as much as I possibly can. I've noticed that Wayne Gretzky always keeps the right side of his jersey tucked in behind his hip pad. I would greatly appreciate it if you could find out why The Great One does this. Is it simply a superstition or is there some logical reason for it?
•Gretzky began the practice when he was very small and his hockey jerseys were too big. Now, it's a matter of superstition. Gretzky even fastens the jersey under his right hip pad to be sure that it stays tucked in there.—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.