In my 20 years of reading SI, no article has so upset me as Rick Reilly's Miami Vice Twice (Oct. 6). Instead of lauding the team for one of the finest performances in recent college football history, Reilly instead chose to dwell on the off-the-field brushes with the law of some of the Miami players.
I found your story compelling. The "University of San Quentin," as Oklahoma's Brian Bosworth referred to Miami in your story, is as smooth an operation as can be between the white lines. Outside those boundaries, it is a sad statement for college athletics.
On Saturday the 27th, the Boz gained me as a fan.
While one cannot dismiss all of the trouble certain Miami players have gotten into, I think that most of the so-called infractions have been minor and blown out of proportion by an overzealous press seeking a story.
October 19, 1986
If one is to be fair, one should also note the positive things members of the team do for their community. Many of the players are actively involved with such charities as the Special Olympics, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Leukemia Society of America, the "Just Say No" anti-drug abuse campaign and others here in Dade County.
Last year I received a phone call from a friend who works at a local hospital. A small child was dying of sickle-cell anemia and his last wish was to meet some Miami Hurricanes. I made one phone call to the school, a note was posted on the players' bulletin board, and by that afternoon 10 players had taken their own time to go visit the child. He died two days later.
On Saturday, Sept. 27, after their victory over Oklahoma, several players found the time to stop by a United Way fund-raiser to help kick off a local campaign to raise money from a younger segment of our community.
If Rick Reilly is worried about the next generation, he need not be. These are only two examples of the many deeds Miami players do for our community.
JOHN A. JOFFRE, D.D.S.
God bless Atlanta's Jeff Van Note (An Old Bird You Beard At Your Peril, Oct. 6). What an inspiration to us average guys who still work in the backyard on improving our athletic skills for love of the game. Van Note lives our dreams. He battles the young, the strong and Father Time, and always finds a way to triumph. A Super Bowl ring would fit nicely on Jeff's crooked ring finger, but it will not be a necessity. For 18 years he has proved he is a champion in every sense of the word.
TRUE TO FORM
As a Nolan Ryan fan for many years, I was extremely touched by Ron Fimrite's article on him (A Great Hand With The Old Cowhide, Sept. 29). Here is a man who seemingly has everything yet hasn't forgotten where he came from or who he is. How refreshing to find an athlete, whom I had previously known only by his performance and the box scores, to be exactly the kind of person I had always hoped he was.
Are there any more Nolan Ryans left in the world? Is there any more magic left in his arm? I surely hope so. There is no one more deserving of such a remarkable gift.
Fimrite's piece was as masterful as a Ryan one-hitter.
KING OF THE HOT RODDERS
I have been a fan of Don Garlits (The Man Who Would Be Greyhound, Sept. 29) since 1963, when he raced at the Indianapolis Nationals. During the past 23 years I have seen him race down drag strips many times. In these three decades there has not been a better sportsman, competitor or all-around nice guy than Garlits. In the heat of competition he always has time to sign an autograph, acknowledge a well-wisher or just smile and wave to the crowd from his push truck. My 10-year-old son Jason has had the pleasure of watching Don race. Like me and millions of other fans, Jason knows that there is only one Big Daddy. Thanks to Sam Moses for the great article on this living legend.
DAVID L. BAUER
Fort Wayne, Ind.
"Good show" to Hank Hersch for his excellent sidebar "The View From The Chinaberry Tree" on Mississippi football and the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Sept. 29). We're very proud of Southern's football program, though national publicity has heretofore been scarce. I hope the nation will come to realize that the Golden Eagles play a good brand of football and deserve their share of recognition.
Please add to ROSTERS, NFL (besides Louis Lipps, Sammy Winder and Reggie Collier) the Raiders' Ray Guy, the Dolphins' Bud Brown, the Browns' Hanford Dixon and the Oilers' Richard Byrd—all former University of Southern Mississippi greats.
Regarding Hersch's sidebar, there is more to the story. The next weekend Mississippi State's senior quarterback, Don Smith, passed Archie Manning (Ole Miss) and Walter Lewis (Alabama) in the Southeastern Conference record books. Against the favored Florida Gators and their outstanding quarterback, Kerwin Bell, Smith passed for 158 yards and ran for an additional 104. During the same game Bell passed for 100 yards and rushed for minus 18.
There is no doubt that Bell is an outstanding quarterback, but Florida coach Galen Hall has called Smith "the best athlete in the SEC." Smith's total offense record has already exceeded those of SEC Heisman winners Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker and Steve Spurrier. The record of another SEC Heisman winner, Pat Sullivan, could be broken within the next four games. Moreover, if Smith continues his 260-yards-per-game average (as of Oct. 6) he will surpass alltime SEC offense leader John Reaves of Florida and still have one game remaining. It should be mentioned that these statistics are being compiled with a team that had a total of only nine victories over the '84 and '85 seasons.
In Austin Murphy's story about the Baltimore Colts Marching Band (SIDELINE, Sept. 29), John Ziemann asked, "What did we ever do to the people of Indiana?" I'd like to ask, "What did we ever do to the people of Baltimore?" We made an offer, Bob Irsay accepted it. He did not have to accept it. We did not force him to sign on the dotted line. If you want to blame someone, blame Irsay. Don't blame the people of Indiana.
To the Baltimore Colts Marching Band: Please do Indiana a big favor and take your Colts, the Irsays and coach Rod Dowhower back. They were fun for two years, but the novelty has worn off and our love affair with the Colts is over. Hoosiers don't like losers.
O.K. WITH THE NCAA
Your SCORECARD item "Military Maneuvers" (Sept. 1) stated that the NCAA was looking into the possibility that Notre Dame "might have violated NCAA rules prohibiting college athletes from promoting commercial ventures" because of the appearance of two of our football players in the Army's "Be All That You Can Be" television spots. In fact, our athletes' appearance in those spots had been approved in advance by the NCAA.
JOHN E. HEISLER
Associate Sports Information Director
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Ind.
•Heisler is right. SI relied on an NCAA source who said that NCAA investigators were looking into Notre Dame's involvement in the filming of the spots. But that investigation was subsequently scrapped when it was discovered that the school had indeed received advance clearance from the appropriate NCAA officials.—ED.
Allow me to nominate for SI's 1986 Sports-person of the Year golfer Pat Bradley (Now They Call Her Payday Pat, Sept. 29). What an outstanding year she has had!
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