The lesson to be found in the deaths of Len Bias and Don Rogers is
clear. We have deified our superathletes to the extent that they
believe they are above the law. And so it comes as a surprise to
them, and to many of the rest of us, to discover that they are not
above nature's immutable and inexorable laws.
No one is above them -- not even an All-America.
Your recent coverage of the Len Bias and Don Rogers tragedies was
a disservice to all young athletes. To give cover and editorial space
to these incidents helps perpetuate the myth that ''drugs are an
acceptable and inevitable part of sports.'' Please return to
reporting on true accomplishments in sports.
TERRANCE G. STULKEN
Colman High School,
Just after I read your piece on the death of Len Bias, NFL
commissioner Pete Rozelle announced the new drug-testing policy for
pro football. The NFL Players Association quickly objected and
critics from the civil liberties movement voiced their dissent.
Perhaps my observations, as an attorney in the United States Air
Force, will highlight the propriety of the commissioner's ruling. All
Air Force members are subject to random, short-notice urine testing
for the presence of drugs. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is fair
game, from new recruits to four-star generals, from pilots to
accountants to mechanics to clergy. The effect of the testing, from
my perspective, has been to sharply curtail drug use. I am satisfied
that the testing is proper and legally sound.
The NFL and the athletes should not complain that their privacy
will be invaded. Our military members have the same sensitivities as
do the athletes, yet our program achieves its goal without unduly
inconveniencing our people.
Pro athletes, by choice, step into the public limelight. They
absolutely owe a duty to this nation's young because they do serve as
role models for the children. By implementing this drug-testing
program, the commissioner will save the lives of some professional
football players and, perhaps, the lives of some of our children.
CAPTAIN BRUCE T. SMITH
United States Air Force
Table of Contents
July 21, 1986
DRUGS VS. ATHLETES