Letters

March 25, 1991

Hank Gathers's Legacy
I read with sadness and dismay the article about Hank Gathers (A Bitter Legacy, March 4)—sadness over Gathers's unfortunate death and dismay over his mother's lack of respect for his memory. The mammoth lawsuit brought by Lucille Gathers against virtually everyone in sight is evidence of the primitive emotion that afflicts too many people these days who have lost their meal ticket—sue the nearest person or institution with deep pockets or a fat insurance policy.
THOMAS L. HERNANDEZ
Menlo Park, Calif.

Gathers and his family should have known the risks of his playing basketball with a heart condition. This sorry affair is a reflection of the litigious nature of our society and epitomizes the unwillingness of Americans to accept responsibility for their own actions.
GEORGE R. MOORE
Brentwood, Mo.

Three weeks after Gathers died, I was at the West Regional of the NCAA tournament at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with tears in my eyes. Gathers's dream to see Loyola Marymount as the Cinderella team in the Final Four was unfulfilled when Bo Kimble and the rest of the Lions lost to UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels' mascot, the Shark, danced in joy.

After reading Shelley Smith's article, I have tears in my eyes again. The new money sharks seem to be dancing on Gathers's grave. Let him rest in peace.
KEVIN M. TWOHY
Berkeley, Calif.

If Lucille Gathers wins her $32.5 million lawsuit, she should think about investing the money in a heart.
CRAIG RONCHETTI
Cedarburg, Wis.

The Rocket
Austin Murphy's article, Rocket Launch (Feb. 25), was an interesting analysis of the maneuvering that takes place when a highly touted amateur athlete decides to turn pro. What the story neglects to do, however, is raise any criticism of what is not only a bold but also a foolish move on Raghib Ismail's part—leaving school early. Murphy says that Ismail's representatives "intend to play up his 'studiousness.' " The irony of this statement is obvious, almost as obvious as the irony of Murphy's overly charitable account of Rocket's decision.
MARC HOLDEN AXELBAUM
Ithaca, N.Y.

You cite several factors in Ismail's decision to turn pro—life in a fishbowl, timing, restlessness—but the real reason is that he wants to make lots of money, plain and simple. There's nothing wrong with that. Let's just not cloud the issue as his brother tried to do when he said, "If he's proved everything at one level, it's natural for him to want to move on."
JOHN J. LYNCH
Chesterfield, Mo.

The true college football heroes are all the juniors who decide to remain in school to fulfill their four-year commitments and who, in the process, show their loyalty to their teammates, coaches and schools.
SALVATORE C. SCUDERI
Notre Dame '53
Marco Island, Fla.

Swimsuit Mail
Every year I look forward to many things from SI, two of which are the swimsuit issue and, two or three weeks later, the ridiculous letters you receive about it from subscribers (LETTERS, March 4). I'm amused that some people actually believe that swimsuit photos "contribute to a cultural sickness that views women primarily as sex objects." Keep up the entertaining and lighthearted work.
JOSEPH SPARACINO
Chicago

I'm ambivalent about the swimsuit issue, but I'm bored by the predictable collection of letters that follow it: five or six from guys who will be unable to survive the winter without seeing more of some body; the standard two from women who wish to see bikini-clad males; one or two from those who think the issue is sexist; and the obligatory one from the parent of a 14-year-old boy who compares the issue with Playboy (obviously these parents haven't seen Playboy lately). At least this year, you spared us the letter from the librarian who threatens to cancel the school's subscription. Thanks for that, but next year consider eliminating all the rest.
LEE J. SUTTNER
Bloomington, Ind.

Controversial Pose
"Rocket" Raghib Ismail's trajectory maybe carrying him toward monetary heaven, but his crucifixion pose in front of Touchdown Jesus {Rocket Launch, Feb. 25) struck me as a bit pretentious. Did your photographer notice the same raised arms of the mosaic Christ on the sunlit facade behind Ismail, or was that just celestial shot selection?
DEAN A. PACKHAM
Blackfoot, Idaho

•This picture was taken in December in anticipation of a story on Ismail's winning the Heisman Trophy, which, of course, he did not. SI suggested to photographer Gwendolen Cates that she shoot Ismail against Touchdown Jesus, a Notre Dame landmark. Cates says that Ismail was simply doing free-form posing and that both she and Ismail were unaware of the similarity of his pose to that of the figure in the mosaic.—ED.

PHOTOGWENDOLEN CATES

Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.

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