AFTER RICKEY AND ROBINSON
Thank you for Frank Deford's excellent essay (POINT AFTER, Dec. 22-29) concerning our nation's most disgusting problem: racism. How long will Americans continue to deny friendship and opportunity to their fellow human beings because of a difference in color?
JOHN K. HELLERMANN
Deford pulled up my socks better than any minister of the gospel.
MARTHA O. MYERS
Deford has concisely and effectively reminded us that our work is not yet done, work that must be accomplished jointly by front office management, players and fans. We fans share the responsibility and must use our voices.
Does Frank Deford honestly believe that individuals have made so little progress in everyday racial relationships in the 40 years since Jackie Robinson was signed by Branch Rickey? No, we are not together in warm embraces, as he says, and yes, there are still too many "inconveniences." We have a long way to go. But compared with 1946, things are tremendously better regarding racial relations. Give us average Americans credit. We try, and we do a pretty decent job—enough so that we can remain optimistic that similar progress will be achieved in the next 40 years.
It's obvious why Rick Reilly erred in his Fiesta Bowl prediction (The Battle For No. 1, Dec. 22-29). While he remembered to tally points—under "Most Famous Alumnus" for Penn State screenwriter Julius Epstein and Miami screenwriter Sly Stallone, he neglected to mention Penn State writer David Morrell, author of First Blood and creator of Stallone's Rambo character. A recount would show Reilly he meant to favor the Nittany Lions all along.
In his excellent piece on the woes of Columbia football (The Lions Go Out Like Lambs, Dec. 1), Rick Telander mentioned that the star football-playing sons of controversial ex-Lion coach Jim Garrett transferred en masse from Columbia to Princeton following their father's resignation in December 1985. Jason, Judd and John Garrett are all expected to start for the Tigers next season.
Telander did not point out that Columbia's fourth game of 1987, the one that could break the record of 34 consecutive losses—held by Rick's alma mater, Northwestern—is scheduled against Princeton, with the personally motivated young Garretts most likely playing at quarterback, tailback and wide receiver.
Columbia Daily Spectator
New York City
A point in your Jan. 5 article Bosworth Faces The Music should be clarified. Tony Fitton has never been a strength coach at Auburn. He was employed by the Auburn University physical-education department as a faculty member in its National Strength Research Institute, which specialized in powerlifting.
He has never been a strength coach at Auburn and has never been associated with the Auburn Athletic Department in any way.
Sports Information Director
In the introduction to the article on Jerry Tarkanian (Rebel With A Cause, Dec. 8) you say, "Two [Long Beach State] basketball players, Roscoe Pondexter and Glenn McDonald, were found to have fraudulent test scores."
That statement does not tell the full truth of the matter. I took my own test at Long Beach, and when confronted with the NCAA's claim, both Roscoe and I took steps to prove that the NCAA was wrong. The case was taken to court, where a federal judge remanded it to a state administrative tribunal. A California hearing officer presided at the presentation of evidence concerning the charges. David Berst was the primary representative for the NCAA. It was ruled, in separate hearings, that we were cleared of the charges and that it could not be "inferred from the circumstantial evidence" of the NCAA that we did not take the test.
Interestingly, one of the reasons given by the NCAA for its charge was that I did not have the potential to graduate from college. Wrong again. I did graduate from Long Beach State (in 1986), with a bachelor's degree (I majored in sociology), and I am now an assistant basketball coach there.
Since the appearance of your article, however, I have been continuously questioned by the young men with whom I work and by my seven-year-old son. The situation has been very difficult for me, and I ask you in the name of fairness and justice to please print the full truth of what occurred.
Long Beach, Calif.
•SI did not mean to imply that either Pondexter or McDonald was responsible for any fraudulent test score.—ED.
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