When NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle announced the suspension last week of Washington Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley for violating the league's substance abuse policy, he sent a message that Manley—and, unfortunately, probably a lot of other players—must have heard loud and clear. Manley, who in 1987 spent a month at the Hazelden Foundation, a substance abuse treatment center in Minnesota, was suspended for 30 days.
The effect of Rozelle's ruling will be to keep Manley out of almost all of the Skins' training camp but allow him to return in time to play in Washington's opening game Sept. 5 against the New York Giants. Moreover, by not missing any regular-season games, Manley will collect his entire $405,000 base salary, losing only about $500 a week in per diem money he would have gotten for training camp. Manley pronounced himself "happy" with the decision, as well he might have been. "That's like giving him a vacation," said Giants center Bart Oates. "He probably laughed all the way home." Or as Redskins offensive guard R.C. Thielemann put it, "Thirty days off during training camp? Not a bad deal, is it?" Only for the NFL.
SETTLING THE SCORE
There was at least one administrator last week who wasn't afraid to take a stand, even though the position he took was a potentially unpopular one. When Temple University president Peter Liacouras learned of the recent admission by Paul Palmer—the all-time leading rusher in Owls history and now a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs—that Palmer had accepted money from sleazemeister agent Norby Walters during his senior season, Liacouras announced that the school would voluntarily forfeit the six games it won in 1986 when Palmer was in violation of NCAA rules. What is more, Liacouras had Palmer's senior-year yardage, records and awards all expunged from the Temple books—and he demanded that Palmer repay the scholarship money he had received his senior year. "Here's a star who should not have been playing," Liacouras said. "What we preach is fair play and integrity. And what we're saying is, as an institution, we don't have integrity if we don't follow through on what we preach."
August 7, 1988
SI's Bruce Anderson, on assignment in Seoul, recently went for a jog past the Olympic Stadium, where concern for security during the upcoming Games is high. He filed this hair-raising report:
A scramble through the Olympic Stadium parking lot on a Sunday afternoon is certain to make your life flash before your eyes. The south end of the parking lot—which is below the stadium and bisected by a stream called the Tanchon (just before it empties into the larger Han River)—is used for driving examinations during the week. On Sunday, when there are no exams, everybody and his cousin come down to practice driving—and Korean drivers do need practice. The lot becomes a treacherous knot of slow-moving cars making unexpected turns, backing up and chugging forward.
There is a big rush in Seoul to get licenses now, because next year the exam will become tougher (travelers' advisory: officials plan to introduce a road test). The test that is given in the parking lot during the week bears a striking resemblance to figure skating's compulsories: Each driver attempts to complete a standard routine involving three patterns, then takes the circuit test to demonstrate his ability to work the blinker, stop for pedestrians (alarmingly, not many Koreans do), handle a traffic light, and so on. It's hardly the Baja 500, but it can get hairy.
Two weeks ago, when the Tanchon was swollen by monsoon rains, a woman taking the exam apparently hit the accelerator instead of the brake and drove into the water. While some 200 people watched helplessly, she drowned. There are no adequate safety guards at the edge of the stream, and so housewife Shin In Ja became the first—and one hopes the last—Olympic Stadium parking lot tragedy.
Another story to keep an eye on during the Summer Games is the love match between Jiao Zhimin, of the Chinese Olympic table tennis team, and Ahn Jae Hyung, a rising table tennis star from South Korea who will be playing doubles for the home team this year. It is a tale as old as Romeo and Juliet, about love thwarted by circumstances of birth, with the governments of South Korea and China playing the roles of the Montagues and Capulets.
Ahn and Jiao met four years ago at the seventh Asian Table Tennis Championships, in Islamabad, Pakistan, and fell in love. Jiao is the No. 4 women's player in the world, a possible Olympic medalist in both singles and doubles. The two have exchanged love letters, one of which was even printed in a Seoul newspaper. "Let us endure brief parting for the sake of achieving the wishes of ourselves and our two families," Jiao wrote to Ahn. "So long as we have a clear belief our efforts thus far will not have been in vain...." The Korean press speculates now that the two will marry after the Olympics if their governments will allow it. All of that is highly problematic, however, because China and South Korea don't have diplomatic relations.
Some Koreans see this romance as scandalous, not only because Jiao is from China, but also because she is one year older than the 24-year-old Ahn. The story has fueled so much gossip in the Korean press that last November, Ahn pleaded that the couple be left alone.
With the South Korean media awash in news of the romance, Ahn felt compelled to deny that he and Jiao were ever really involved, claiming instead that she was (sigh) just someone he had met a few times. But the story may have a happy ending after all. In the true spirit of the Games, International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch has offered to intervene diplomatically with the Chinese government on the couple's behalf. Perhaps the Olympic rings won't be the only ones flying this September in Seoul.
HOW 'BOUT THEM DOGS?
When Georgia Tech basketball coach Bobby Cremins learned recently that the supplier who caters his summer camp hadn't shown up with food for 450 hungry campers, he sent camp director Frank Beall to The Varsity, a popular off-campus drive-in. Beall strolled casually up to the counter and ordered 450 dogs and fries. To go.
One of the things that make habituès of The Varsity feel as if they have entered someplace slightly foreign is that a different language is spoken in the eatery. The unflappable countermen never merely call out for a plain hot dog to go; they order a "nekkid dog walkin'," and a local delicacy called a frosted orange is simply an F.O. But when Tech's coach needed 450 dogs walkin', the counterman was aghast, but then he said, "For Bobby Cremins, we'll do it."
When Cremins arrived 20 minutes later to speed things up, he jumped behind the counter and started loading his arms with dogs and fries to deliver them to the campers. And though his career as a delivery boy was brief, it was distinguished. The campers went to bed that night feeling as if they had made The Varsity.
THE CURTAIN FALLS ON RISEN STAR
Louie Roussel III, the Coowner and trainer of Risen Star, announced two weeks ago that the splendid colt was through as a racehorse. Roussel said Risen Star was retired because a suspensory ligament he injured during a routine workout in late May was healing too slowly to make it safe to race the horse any further. Others suspect the real reason is the ailment that all too commonly afflicts owners of fast thoroughbreds: that is, an overwhelming desire to take the money and run. Or in this case, not run at all. Ever again.
Risen Star won eight of 11 career starts and seemed to improve with every race. In a spectacular performance in the Belmont Stakes on June 11, he won by 14¾ lengths in 2:26⅖ a time surpassed only by that of his sire, Secretariat. The Belmont came after Risen Star had suffered his injury, which curiously didn't seem to bother him either during or immediately after the race. In fact, the colt's owners spoke of running him in Saratoga's Travers Stakes on Aug. 20 and the Breeders' Cup races at Churchill Downs in November.
Shortly thereafter, a 50% share of Risen Star was sold for $7.4 million to Walmac International farm of Lexington, Ky. When that decision was made, the horse's owners suddenly deemed it more prudent to send Risen Star to the breeding shed rather than back to the racetrack, where he risked mishap or loss of reputation. So he has joined the ranks of Devil's Bag, Conquistador Cielo and Spend A Buck—all of whom were retired before the end of their 3-year-old seasons—instead of the ranks of the great thoroughbreds.
The real losers, of course, are the fans who support horse racing and won't get to see Risen Star run again. In the exuberance that followed the Belmont, Risen Star's other owner. Ron Lamarque, proclaimed, "You haven't seen the best of this horse yet." And now, sadly, we never will.
THEY SAID IT
•Pittsburgh broadcaster Steve Blass, explaining why Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, while attending a Pirates-Dodgers game in Los Angeles, remained seated during a Wave: "It was going to the right."