For years I've heard of the dread SI cover jinx: An athlete or team pictured on your cover supposedly loses or suffers some misfortune the following week. The week of the NFC Championship Game between the Rams and the 49ers, your Jan. 15 cover featured Jerry Rice of San Francisco. I figured the game would be close, so I wondered if the jinx might be the deciding factor, tipping the scales in the Rams' favor. Well, I wonder no more, because when it counted the most, the SI cover jinx failed miserably. Thanks for nothing!
BILL D. CONSOLI
Computer Systems Manager
Los Angeles Rams
KNIGHT VS. FUNDERBURKE
I would like to clarify something in Curry Kirk Patrick's story on the departure of Lawrence Funderburke from the Indiana basketball program (Funderburke vs. Knight, Jan. 22). Kirkpatrick states that "Funderburke is not the first Indiana player to find life in Bloomington unbearable." He lists Larry Bird and Mike Giomi, among others, as players who have left the program, implying that they did so because of problems with coach Bob Knight.
Bird, who is from the very rural southern Indiana town of French Lick, left Indiana because he felt overwhelmed by the large campus. He praises coach Knight in his recent autobiography, Drive: The Story of My Life. As for Giomi, he was dismissed from the team for skipping classes.
I believe Indiana is better off without Funderburke. He comes across as terribly immature, and the fact that he was dismissed from his high school team in his senior season speaks volumes.
JON D. KRAMER
Rye Brook, N.Y.
February 19, 1990
Funderburke was right when he recognized his need for discipline before enrolling at Indiana. It's too bad he didn't have the guts to stick it out there. Knight is no saint, but Funderburke seems to be yet another example of the pampered, egocentric, multitalented athlete who believes rules are for the other guy.
There is no question of Funderburke's talent, regardless of which uniform he wears during his collegiate career. The important question is whether he will ever grow up.
MCENROE GETS THE HEAVE-HO
I read with delight Craig Neff's story about John McEnroe (Booted Out Down Under, Jan. 29). I used to follow professional tennis but became disgusted with the infantile behavior of some players, primarily McEnroe and Jimmy Conners.
In no way can McEnroe's abusive behavior be justified, and I was encouraged to see that at least one tournament, the Australian Open, decided that it could not be tolerated.
Tennis is a great sport. It need not be tainted by the antics of a spoiled brat.
WILLIAM G. ANDERSON
Hurrah for Ken Farrar, the man who called for McEnroe's disqualification. It's about time someone had the courage to stand up for sportsmanship instead of buckling under to the almighty dollar. Let's hope the trend continues, and tennis and other sports return to being sports instead of brawls—verbal and otherwise.
It is sad that McEnroe has never had the class to go with his ability. I should be able to watch a tennis match with my two daughters without having them exposed to McEnroe's repertoire of four-letter words and temper tantrums. With all the prize money comes accountability as a role model for our youth, and, in that, McEnroe has failed miserably. Tennis would be better off without him.
FORD LEAVES CLEMSON
To get an idea of the major ills plaguing big-time college athletics, one need look no further than Clemson and its former coach Danny Ford (SCORECARD, Jan. 29). Were I an alumnus of Clemson, I would be embarrassed by a coach-educator who lobbied against the construction of a learning center for student athletes, especially when that coach's administration had already been found guilty in 1982 of numerous NCAA rules violations.
Perhaps the most unsettling thing about Ford's forced resignation is that he was rewarded with a settlement that could reach one million dollars.
DOUGLAS M. MILLER
Rapid City, S.Dak.
Ron Fimrite's POINT AFTER about Billy Martin and his upbringing in West Berkeley, Calif. (Jan. 15), reminded us of a cartoon in the 1946 edition of the Berkeley High yearbook. As you can see from the drawing, even as a teenager Martin was no friend of umpires. Also, the player lighting the dynamite is Ruben de Alba, who is mentioned in Fimrite's piece.
Berkeley High, '91
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