The Department of the Navy's decision to let Ensign Napoleon McCallum play this season for the Los Angeles Raiders (page 43) may have been partly motivated by a desire to give Navy recruiting a boost. After all, McCallum's visibility as an NFL player figures to make him what amounts to a hard-running "I Want You" poster. But McCallum is by no means the only athlete used for such purposes by the armed services. Since 1983 the Army has featured footage of Larry Bird, Joe Theismann, Walter Payton, Moses Malone and 70 other pro football and basketball players as part of its "Be All That You Can Be" TV recruiting campaign. And now it turns out that the Army never bothered to get any of those athletes' permission to use the footage.
An article in the August issue of the magazine The Progressive reports that the film is provided gratis by the NFL and NBA film departments to N.W. Ayer, the New York ad agency that handles the Army campaign. "That's an implied endorsement," Lee Fentress, Malone's agent, told The Progressive. "They may be taking advantage of Moses. His name's being used without permission."
Ayer disagrees. "I don't see how it can be looked on as an endorsement," Dave Clark, an account executive at Ayer, told SI last week. "The athletes don't talk about the Army at all." For their part, the leagues say they are promoting sport, not the armed services, by providing the film. Standard player contracts in the pro leagues allow an athlete's image to be used in promoting a league when such use doesn't, as the NFL contract has it, "constitute a promotion of a commercial product."
August 31, 1986
In addition to the pro athletes, last year two Notre Dame football players, tailback Allen Pinkett and defensive tackle Greg Dingens, appeared in a "Be All That You Can Be" commercial. Notre Dame cooperated in the filming, and now the NCAA is looking into the possibility that the school might have violated NCAA rules prohibiting college athletes from promoting commercial ventures. "If the Army thinks that putting a famous football player on the screen isn't a promotion of the Army, they're crazy," said an NCAA official who asked to remain anonymous. "If it's a violation, the NCAA isn't going to turn its head just because this is the Army."
BET YOU CAN'T DO THAT AGAIN
They called Bob Tway's hole-out from the bunker on the last hole in the PGA championship a once-in-a-lifetime shot. They were probably right.
Tway himself proved how difficult that shot was when he returned to the Inverness course in Toledo last week and tried to duplicate it. Golf Digest magazine had its cameras trained on Tway, ready to record the reenactment to show readers how it's done. Tway's first try came cleanly out of the sand and stopped a mere eight inches from the pin: Clearly he was a master of this particular shot and would have no trouble putting the next one in. However, that next effort landed farther away, and the next one farther still, and farther and farther.... "It started going pretty badly, although he came close a couple of times," says Dave Lancer of the PGA Tour. "After 20 shots they just said. The hell with it.' "
So Tway's shot remains a feat that has not been duplicated, which is just as it should be.
TOO MUCH HEAT IN VANCOUVER
Everything was totally hot—or rad, if you prefer, or ripping or blazing—at the Transworld Skateboard Championships last week at Vancouver's Expo '86. Tony Hawk showed rad moves that were hot as could be as he won the vertical competition. He dazzled an overflow crowd of 4,500 with aerial flips, twists and toe-taps on his board. "I skated completely my best," he said. And freestyle champ Rodney Mullen, an introspective engineering student from Gainesville, Fla., was so totally hot that the five judges gave him the sport's first-ever perfect score. All 147 competitors from 17 countries—with their Jams, earrings, tattoos and two-toned hair—they were all hot. And the mood itself, the mood was totally hot.
It was made hotter by the debate that boils at the center of this resurgent pastime: Is skateboarding a serious sport, or is it kidstuff? "The street scene is part of it, we don't deny that," said Frank Hawk, Tony's father and the president of the four-year-old National Skateboard Association. "But we see it more like surfing. We're trying to show it as a sport." Skateboard equipment manufacturer Fausto Vitello argued, "They want to make it like Little League, but skateboarders are anticompetition."
Punked-out Steve Caballero, who finished third in vertical, certainly wasn't anticompetition. In fact, he took the competition so seriously that he created the totally hottest incident of the tournament. After finishing his performance, he was so pumped up he smashed his board onto the asphalt. The young punk groupies scrambled for the souvenir, and a fight broke out that escalated into a mob scene on the hill outside the stadium. "It was heavy, bro," said one competitor. NSA board member Jack Smith stared at the near riot and said, "This sport doesn't have maturity." No, but it's got heat.
BIG PURSE FOR POOCH
Staff writer Demmie Stathoplos reports from Seabrook, N.H.:
The dog days of August at Seabrook Greyhound Park came to a close Saturday when Ben G Speedboat, a 9-to-1 long shot, won the $250,000 Great Greyhound Race of Champions, the richest event in the history of the sport. But the race itself was almost an anticlimax after a month of festivity and frivolity.
In early August, 71 greyhounds from 24 tracks arrived on the New Hampshire coast to begin trials for the eight-dog final. There followed not only the eliminations but also a myriad of formal and not-so-formal affairs. The track staged a canine cuisine contest, with the dogs as judges. There was a four-legged fashion show. And as a salute to the state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a specially named seven-dog field staged a runoff: Cuomo easily beat Reagan, Kennedy, Bush and others on the ticket.
The light touches obscured the fact that dog racing has become a serious, lucrative business. It is now the sixth most popular spectator sport in the country; attendance at dog tracks last year exceeded 23 million. As it has risen in popularity, the sport has tried to shuck the low reputation that plagued it for years. For example, six years ago, old or broken-down racers were routinely destroyed. Now there is REGAP (Retired Greyhounds As Pets), which functions as an adoption agency for over-the-hill hounds. The most elegant of the several Seabrook fetes was a fundraising dinner for REGAP.
The main event on Saturday night drew a capacity crowd of 5,106, and when the Styrofoam bone that serves as a lure went zipping by the starting boxes, Ben G Speedboat went zipping right after it, breaking to the lead early and holding it to become the top dog in the land. As a blanket of yellow chrysanthemums was laid on the quivering body of the winner, his trainer, Steve Pfluger of Portland, Ore., said, "I can't believe it. I couldn't dream of winning $125,000. I can't believe it." Ben, who was panting as hard as Pfluger, comforted his master with a lick on the nose.
THE GALLOPING GHOSTS OF URI
Digging a trench recently to install wiring for a new scoreboard at the University of Rhode Island's Meade Stadium, workers discovered two thigh bones and a fragment of a pelvic bone. Further excavation turned up teeth, jawbones and coffin nails, which were said to be evidence of a 19th-century family burial plot. They say when you walk into Notre Dame Stadium you can sense the ghosts of past gridiron heroes. Walking into Meade Stadium may produce a similarly disquieting sensation—perhaps for a better reason.
AN ARMS IMBALANCE WITH HAVANA
Latin ballplayers: They're sprightly singles hitters, right? Not according to a U.S. college all-star team that just lost four straight to the Cuban national team during a swing through Tennessee, North Carolina and West Virginia. It was the first time the Cuban team had toured in the U.S. since 1960, so the Americans didn't know quite what to expect. But they certainly didn't expect all that power.
The Cubans hit 16 home runs in the four games. "You make a mistake against them," said Barry Manuel, a relief pitcher from LSU, "and it's a homer." Manuel had just been shelled in the second game of the series, which Cuba won 13-8 on the strength of five dingers. In the first game Cuba had hit four in winning 10-9. They hit three more in the third game and won 8-3. In the getaway game in Charleston, W.Va., the U.S. held a 6-1 lead in the second. But Omar Linares' second homer of the night tied it 6-6 in the seventh, and Pedro Medina and Antonio Mu‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬±oz each hit a solo shot in the eighth as Cuba won again, 8-7. "They're unreal," said Florida State catcher Ed Fulton. "To me, they're a major league team."
Indeed, at each game there were major league scouts drooling over the Cubans. But drooling was all they could do. The Cuban players aren't allowed to emigrate, and national coach Pedro Chavez was careful to keep his players from getting too cozy with the scouts.
THEY SAID IT
•Peter Bavasi, Cleveland Indians president, on the American League team he fears most: "Our own."
•Jack Arute, ESPN commentator, when driver Jimmy Means lost a wheel near the end of a NASCAR race in Brooklyn, Mich.: "You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel."