Hats off to Paul Zimmerman for his much needed study of injuries, the most disturbing issue in pro football (The Agony Must End, Nov. 10). I hope Bo Jackson's critics read it and realize why he chose to play major league baseball over football.
As for anabolic steroids, as evil a drug as cocaine, I would add the following penalty system to Dr. Z's suggestion for testing: a one-year suspension for a first-time offense, with a lifetime ban from the NFL for the second time steroids are discovered in a urine sample. Why mess around?
My compliments for yet another responsible piece of sports journalism.
As a sports medicine professional I agree with Dr. Z that the carpet belongs in the playroom, not on the playing field. On the subject of steroids, genetic engineering belongs in the labs, not in the locker rooms.
Former Pitt Student Trainer ('83)
November 24, 1986
Hooray for Gordie Lockbaum and the coaching staff at Holy Cross (A Wonderful Throwback, Nov. 10). Who said properly conditioned football players can't go both ways? Go, Gordo, go!
How does he do it? That is the question I keep asking after reading Rick Reilly's article on Lockbaum. Lockbaum prepares at offensive and defensive positions, learns special-teams strategies and all the while maintains a 3.1 average as an economics major.
I love sports, but recently I have become very disheartened by all the negative occurrences. Reading about Lockbaum brightened my outlook, as I'm sure it has done the same for many others. Thank you, Gordo!
Last year SPORTS ILLUSTRATED voted for Joe Dudek for the Heisman Trophy (What The Heck, Why Not Dudek? Dec. 2). This year why not Lockbaum? What other player has matched his feats? He makes his presence felt on both sides of the line—and in the classroom as well.
This is what college athletics needs! The Heisman award should be refocused on the best athlete who also embodies the best qualities of a student. If we cannot find such a candidate in Division I-A, then why not look to Division I-AA and a player like Lockbaum?
FRANK R. MORAN JR.
New York City
Reading about Gordie Lockbaum and, in SCORECARD (Nov. 10), about those triple threats from Ohio brought back memories of my early years as the band director at a small high school in Moravia, N.Y.
The game was six-man football, and in 1949 half of our drum section was on the team as quarterback and center. Both played defense as well. At halftime these players took part in the band's show. The cooperation between coach and band director proved fruitful to both.
Some years later we had a student who was all-county center, all-county catcher (baseball), all-state baritone horn player and pianist for the school dance band. Upon graduation he went to MIT. Wow!
Your Nov. 10 issue contained two stories—on Holy Cross's Lockbaum and on the late Len Bias and Maryland (One Shock Wave After Another)—that demonstrate the enormous impact a coach's guidance can have on a college athletics program. By failing to recognize, or perhaps choosing to ignore, the drug problem involving some members of the Maryland basketball team, coach Lefty Driesell left the Terps' program vulnerable to the kind of tragedy that befell Bias. And by paying only lip service to his players' academic responsibilities, Driesell was apparently more concerned with his team's record than with its welfare. By contrast, Holy Cross football coach Mark Duffner's respectful handling of previous coach Rick Carter's suicide showed how much he genuinely cares about everyone involved with the Holy Cross team.
Last spring I had the privilege of hearing Coach Duffner speak at two separate high school awards banquets. His inspirational messages and the sincere, unpretentious way in which he delivered them impressed all who were in attendance. He is a credit to college athletics.
JOSEPH M. SAWYER
Len Bias died because he made a mistake and took cocaine. It was his mistake, not Lefty Driesell's. Not the University of Maryland's.
I'm tired of hearing universities and colleges accused of "using" athletes for profit and not providing them with an education. They provide these athletes with an opportunity to get, for free, an education that is worth some $10,000 a year. It is the athlete who decides whether or not to take full advantage of his scholarship and use it for an education. It was Driesell's responsibility to coach the basketball team the best way he knew how. It was Bias's responsibility to attend his classes and use his educational opportunity at college to its fullest.
Los Alamitos, Calif.
The futility of drug abuse is most dramatically illustrated by your photograph of Bias's grave. Its starkness could make it a centerpiece for the antidrug campaign.
ARTHUR F. MEYER
Let this be a lesson. No more drugs—please!
PENN STATE STYLE
Now that critics of Penn State's "easy schedule" have been silenced by the Nittany Lions' decisive 23-3 victory over Alabama on Oct. 25, it appears as if, lacking anything else to criticize, they'll now turn to picking on our team's uniforms (COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Nov. 10). It is interesting to note, however, that many of our opponents tend to wear our colors the day after they play us—white all over (from shock), with liberal amounts of black and blue scattered throughout.
CHRISTIAN S. BARLOW
The magazine that publishes the annual swimsuit issue should realize that it's what goes into any uniform that makes the difference, not whether or not the uniform has stripes.
Incidentally, the current Nittany Lion uniform is positively gaudy compared with the one worn by Penn State players in the Bob Higgins years (1930-48). The all-white uniform in those days included a white leather helmet with no stripe and white, long-sleeved jerseys with no stripes and only blue numbers front and back. The pants were unstriped, the socks were solid white, and the shoes were black. It couldn't have been simpler.
After all, does anyone put racing stripes on a Rolls-Royce?
JAMES F. BLOXHAM
Peter Gammons made my day with his terrific story on Bill Buckner (The Hub Hails Its Hobbling Hero, Nov. 10). I have seen many great players, though none more courageous than Buck.
As for the boos, Buckner will never hear one from me or other true Sox fans. You only boo somebody you think isn't giving all he can, and no one can say Buck doesn't give it his all. I expect three more great years from a healthy Buck in a Sox uniform.
Where does courage end and stupidity begin? It's when you play a man who can barely walk in the most critical parts of the World Series! Why wasn't Don Baylor in there to pinch-hit for Buckner when it became obvious Buckner wasn't getting the job done? When a man isn't hitting and becomes a defensive liability, it's hardly the basis for inspiration! Not when the World Series is on the line.
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