Richard Hoffer's article about George Foreman (Still Hungry After All These Years, July 17) left me with a good feeling about man's ability to overcome and succeed. Foreman's sincerity should not be challenged, and his dedication to doing what's right is refreshing. Win or lose against Mike Tyson, Foreman will still be a champion in my book.
Sierra Madre, Calif.
Thanks for the excellent piece on Foreman. In an era of baseball players carrying guns, football players on dope and hoopsters playing as Bad Boys, it's nice to read about him. Emanuel Steward's comments, though, were inappropriate. When he said, "Never in the history of boxing have there been so many hand-picked bums," he could just as well have been referring to his own fighters, such as junior middleweight champion Duane Thomas, who feasted on opposition worse than Foreman's.
RAY WHEBBE JR.
Foreman is the only undisputed heavyweight champion since James J. Braddock retired in 1938 (after beating Tommy Farr) who has not had the opportunity to regain the title he lost in the ring. For that reason alone, he deserves a shot at Tyson.
ROBERT T. GOFF
Who put liniment in Rick Reilly's shorts? What else could have caused him to give senior sports such a slam (POINT AFTER, July 17)? It's refreshing to see seniors compete, even if the courses are easier and the fastballs the equivalent of major league changeups. Plenty of us enjoy with equal relish seeing past stars and present stars.
Overland Park, Kans.
August 13, 1989
Reilly suggests that older athletes—who he seems to assume are all male—should be allowed to compete only on the fringe, disturbing none of us younger and thinner folks. What about sportswriters? Maybe it's time for Reilly to retire and let a younger writer have his or her 15 minutes in the spotlight.
SUZANNE F. SHEDD
Juniors play in separate leagues because they do not yet have advanced skills. Why not let seniors, with their diminished skills, have their own circuits as well?
Apple Valley, Calif.
Why anyone would want to deny the old-timers and their many fans their pleasure is beyond me. There is a measure of grace in being able to retire when one's time is up, but what does Reilly find so offensive in the fact that these former stars want to continue competing, even if on a different level? There will always be new stars to replace the old ones, but isn't there room for nostalgia in today's world?
I'll wager that in 30 years Reilly will be dragging his grandchildren to old-timers' games to see Hall of Famers like Wade Boggs and Don Mattingly and to Senior PGA tournaments to watch geriatric golfers like Curtis Strange and Nick Faldo. He'll probably tell them, "Kids of today can't hold a candle to these legends you're seeing now."
BEN JOHNSON (CONT.)
Most people in Canada's sports community would agree with Merrell Noden's POINT AFTER (June 26) that Ben Johnson shouldn't be treated differently just because he is Ben Johnson. But Noden's interpretation of sports minister Jean Charest's "ban" of Johnson is a little off the mark. Our government does not run our sports programs. It does, however, contribute heavily to their financing, and that gives it significant clout. With regard to Johnson, Charest has applied the federal government's policy, which states that any athlete found to have used steroids will be ineligible for government funding for life. Johnson, like others, has the right to appeal that ruling.
Neither Charest nor any of his ministry's officials have the authority to decide who will represent Canada at the Olympic and Pan American Games. Our Olympic teams are named by the Canadian Olympic Association, which makes its selections from among athletes nominated by the governing bodies of the various sports.
Unfortunately, Charest has been quoted as saying that if the Canadian Track and Field Association nominates Johnson, its funding from the feds may be cut off. It is clear that Charest does not have the authority to decide who represents Canada on the playing field. It is equally clear that he does have the power.
Director of Communication
Canadian Olympic Association
Johnson acknowledges having taken steroids before he set the world record in the 100 meters at the 1987 World Championships in Rome. His use of these drugs tells me that he didn't think he was capable of that kind of time without them. Moreover, the drugs did not have to be in his system on the day of the event to have influenced his performance. Imagine if he had admitted tampering with the wind meter to remove any possibility that his performance was wind-aided. Would that not justify disqualifying the record?
•Naber won four gold medals and a silver in swimming at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.—ED.
Noden raises an interesting point: what to do with Johnson's world record. Johnson got caught—but not until seven years after he had begun using steroids. It is ridiculous to think that all other 100-meter competitors in Rome and Seoul were clean just because no one else was caught. Johnson is getting the going-over, but his record should not be stripped until a serious and conscientious international crackdown takes place to rid the sport of drugs.
Ron Fimrite's "Growing Up with Trux" (POINT AFTER, July 3) touched my heartstrings. It kindled loving memories of my dad and our mutual infatuation with major league baseball as well as memories of my son and how at ages 40 and 67 we, too, have found our way back to where we belong.
RAY E. HALE
The sense of loss described by Fimrite is as true and sad as his tribute to Trux is beautiful. Sadder still is the fact that this feeling of loss never really goes away. My dad died one brutal day in June 1972. I was 13, but the hole it left in my life remains.
MATTHEW T. CARTER
I agree with Rick Telander's views (POINT AFTER, June 5) regarding drug czar William Bennett's recruitment of pro athletes to fight drugs. Athletes are human. Having the ability to excel in a sport does not provide some magical deterrent to drug abuse or any other human frailty. I also agree with Telander that parents may well be eluding some of their responsibilities as role models by using athletes in that capacity. Responsibility begins in the home.
QUILL N. GILES
I dispute Telander's contention that athletes should not be held to a higher standard than other citizens. Athletes are popular, and among the rewards and burdens of popularity is social and civic responsibility. National Drug Control Policy Director William Bennett knows that if kids flock to buy Michael Jordan sneakers, maybe they'll buy Jordan's advice, too.
JAMES L. O'NEILL
In your photo essay about the Hall of Fame (Safe at Home, June 12), you ran a photograph of the pitching rubber from Allie Reynolds's 1951 no-hit game against the Boston Red Sox. The rubber was signed by both Yankee and Red Sox players, but I cannot find Ted Williams's signature. I find that interesting because he was such an important part of the drama.
I was at Yankee Stadium that day and vividly recall that Williams was the 27th out. Baseball's best hitter lifted a high pop foul in front of the Yankee dugout—Yogi Berra dropped it, and Reynolds, lunging for it, missed it, too. The crowd in the stadium groaned. On the next pitch, Williams hit another foul pop, and this time Yogi caught it and got a bear hug from Reynolds. It doesn't seem right that Williams's signature should be absent.
•Williams's signature is barely visible, on the lower right corner of the rubber, just below where Dom DiMaggio's signature appears.—ED.
Merrell Noden's article about the Bislett track meet (Big Show in Oslo, July 10) was interesting, but I searched fruitlessly for a picture of Yobes Ondieki, the winner of the 5,000 meters. Did the cameras miss him?
PAUL A. HAYS
•No, the cameras caught Ondieki at Bislett (above) as he raced to his victory in 13:04.24.—ED.
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