A Brave Move
An Oregon newspaper will not use Indian team names
On Sunday the readers of the sports section in the Portland newspaper The Oregonian found out that Deion Sanders was leaning toward a full-time career with "the baseball team" in Atlanta. That would be the Braves, of course, but the paper did not mention them by nickname. From now on The Oregonian will not use such team names as Braves, Chiefs, Indians, Redmen or Redskins.
In an editorial on Sunday, managing editor Peter Thompson explained that the paper would not be a passive participant in the furthering of racial and cultural stereotypes, and he quoted publisher Tim Giago of the Lakota Times, a weekly Native American newspaper in South Dakota: "The sham rituals, such as the wearing of feathers, smoking of so-called peace pipes, beating of tomtoms, fake dances, horrendous attempts at singing Indian songs, the so-called war whoops, and the painted faces, address more than the issues of racism. They are direct attacks upon the spirituality of the Indian people.... Stop insulting the spirituality and the traditional beliefs of the Indian people by making us mascots for athletic teams. Is that asking so much of America?"
It may indeed be asking too much for all the teams that rely on the Native American image to do the politically correct thing overnight. But it's not too much to ask fans to stop their silly masquerading as Native Americans. Nor is it too much to ask the Cleveland Indians to waive Chief Wahoo, the ridiculous caricature who appears on their paraphernalia. After all, major league teams change their logos all the time; the Baltimore Oriole is now at least ornithologically correct.
February 24, 1992
The Oregonian's new policy is bold, but it is the tail wagging the dog; it's really up to teams using Indian symbols to change their names. Fans in Atlanta, Kansas City, Cleveland and Washington, D.C., may scream about tradition, but history tells us that the Braves were once the Boston Beaneaters, that the Chiefs were born as the Dallas Texans, that the first professional football team in Washington was called the Senators and that Cleveland baseball teams have also been known as the Spiders, Blues, Bronchos and Naps.
Is Cleveland really afraid the Indians won't be as successful if their name is changed?
Like Father, like Son
Another Allison, Davey this time, wins the Daytona 500
The first time a driver wins the Daytona 500, he usually says that it is the happiest day of his racing career. Yet on Sunday, after he won this year's 500, 30-year-old Davey Allison said that it was not his happiest day in racing. That had come in 1988, after another Daytona 500, when he finished second to his father, Bobby. "That was such a special day that I don't think anything could ever replace it," Davey said. "But as far as wins go, this is the best one I've ever had."
Sunday's race was not exactly a spine-tingler. Five favorites—Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin and Mark Martin—fell out of contention because of a 14-car pileup just before the halfway point of the race. "The wreck took out all the people who had a shot at winning, except Davey Allison," Martin said. Still, Allison had as much opportunity to succumb to that crash as anyone else. Coming out of Turn 2 on Lap 92 of the 200-lap race, Allison was right behind defending Daytona champion Irvan when Irvan dropped toward the apron, putting himself abreast of Elliott and Marlin. "I followed Ernie until he made it three wide," Allison said. "Then I said, 'Whoa! This is enough for me. I'm backing off.' I saw it coming. They just ran out of room, and they all got together. I moved to the outside, stood on the gas, looked in the mirror and saw all hell broke loose right behind me."
After deftly avoiding the melee, Allison cruised his Thunderbird to victory with barely enough challenge from second-place Morgan Shepherd, also in a Thunderbird, to keep the 140,000 at Daytona International Speedway from yawning through the final laps.
Before Sunday, Richard Petty and his father, Lee, were the only father and son to win the Daytona 500 (Lee won the race in 1959 and Richard has won it seven times). And much of this year's crowd had come to Daytona to see if 54-year-old Richard, who has announced that he will retire after this season, could win it one more time. In this, his 32nd start in the Daytona 500, King Richard ran well all day, but he finished 16th.
Seeing an Allison in Victory Lane conjured up memories of the '88 race in which father and son staged an exciting duel over the last few laps, with Bobby beating Davey by two car lengths to win Daytona for the third time. It was the 84th victory of Bobby's career, and his last. Four months later he was in a crash at Pocono in which his left leg was shattered and he suffered a severe concussion. Bobby's leg has healed, and he may even return to racing, but some of his memory is still missing—including any recollection of the '88 Daytona race. "I've had some good times here myself. I remember all but one of them," Bobby, now 54, said after Davey's triumph. "I guess I'll just have to guess what that felt like." Now his son can help him remember.
Nowhere to Run
Sprinter Katrin Krabbe is suspended for cheating
Time and again German sprinter Katrin Krabbe (SI, Oct. 21) has greeted inquiries about whether she had used performance-enhancing drugs with her characteristic haughtiness. "I simply do not understand why I'm being asked these questions," Krabbe, the world champion in the 100 and 200 meters, recently told the Hamburg-based monthly Sports.
Last Saturday, suddenly, the questions had an answer. The German Track and Field Federation suspended Krabbe and two other stars from the former East Germany, ex—100-meter world champion Silke M‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√áller and Grit Breuer, who won a silver medal in the 400 meters at the World Championships last summer, for four years. Their coach, Thomas Springstein, was also suspended. All four are expected to appeal.
The federation cited urine samples taken from the three athletes on Jan. 24 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where they had been training. Though the samples turned out to be clean, tests determined that they had all come from the same person, and according to the rules of the federation, tampering with a drug test brings the same penalty that a positive test does. "There is no doubt that the athletes manipulated their urine samples," the German federation said, "especially since this was not the first time."
Evidently it wasn't. According to newspaper articles published last week, samples submitted by Krabbe and Breuer last July 20 while the two were training at the Baltic seaport town of Zinnowitz turned up traces of the same type of birth-control pill—although Krabbe and Breuer use different kinds.
Krabbe stands to lose millions of dollars in endorsement fees and other business ventures during her suspension. But then, if the allegations are true, cheaters never prosper.
On the Ropes
The heavyweight division is reeling without Mike Tyson
Last week was a sad one for former heavyweight champions. Mike Tyson was found guilty of rape, John Tate was charged with aggravated robbery (of $14) in Knoxville, Tenn., and Buster Douglas was arrested for drunken driving in Westerville, Ohio.
With these ex-champs in trouble, it was refreshing to learn that straight arrow Evander Holyfield, the current boss of boxing's big men, was expected to designate Larry Holmes, the respectable 42-year-old grandfather and yet another former champ, as winner of this month's multimillion-dollar title-bout sweepstakes. This latest spin of the fight game's big wheel could put as much as $7 million under Holmes's mattress if he and Holyfield square off in May at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
The prospect of a Holyfield-Holmes match does not please George Foreman and Riddick Bowe. Holmes passed them in the race to fight Holyfield when he upset Ray Mercer on Feb. 7 in Atlantic City. Foreman, who is scheduled to meet Alex Stewart on April 11 in Las Vegas, had appeared to be the next designated hitter—or hittee—but he lost his place in line when he refused to give up a $5 million payday against the fading Stewart.
Bowe, a relative child at 24, is less well known than Holmes or Foreman, but he has a 28-0 record. Says Rock Newman, Bowe's manager, "Holyfield's people made us an offer [$6 million] they thought I would refuse, and I did. But Riddick said, Take the fight. When I called back, they told me they thought Holmes would be next."
Still, as of Sunday, Bowe had not been ruled out as Holyfield's next opponent. Not only would he come cheaper than Holmes, but there also is concern in the Holyfield camp that taking on another boxing elder so soon after Holyfield's victory over Foreman last April would put a nick in the champion's stature.
Although Tyson may be out of the picture, his patron, Don King, is not. Last Saturday night in Las Vegas, Razor Ruddock, the King-promoted fighter who was beaten twice by Tyson last year, scored a dismal eighth-round TKO against Greg Page, another former champion, whose chief crime is wasting his talent. So don't be surprised if the King-controlled World Boxing Council strips Holyfield of his title on some contrived charge, leaving Ruddock to fight Tommy Tomatocan for the vacant crown. The King isn't dead yet.
When I was growing up on the streets of America, I wanted to be a sports star. So like the other kids in the neighborhood, I would spend endless autumn afternoons at the biathlon rec center or at the bobsled playground, dreaming of perhaps becoming the next Klaus-Uschi Duesylmacher. But, alas, my athletic skills pointed me toward a rather undistinguished career in insurance underwriting, and today, like the rest of you, I mostly sit at home watching TV while using the commercial breaks to figure out if I can write off installation of my remote garage-door opener as a business-related entertainment expense.
Let's cut to the chase (if only the Winter Olympics had one): Every four years or so I wake up and everyone on television is figure skating.
The Winter Olympics are back, AND THEY WON'T GO AWAY.
"Share a moment with the world," CBS gently tells us. A moment? A moment? Hey, a moment is how long I listen to Paul E. Tsongas speak before I start humming Taps. The Olympics are not a moment, they are a miniseries. At least Rich Man, Poor Man was over in 12 hours.
So how is it that these wacky and wondrous Winter Games—a.k.a. Many Nations, Many Peoples, Many Cultures and Absolutely, Positively No Sports to Speak Of—axe piling up in our living rooms like so much dirty laundry?
Did I mention that of its 116 hours of coverage, CBS is doing 115½ hours of figure skating? This is wonderful for ratings, but let me point out—and I know I'm on thin ice here with many of you—that figure skating is not a sport. It is dinner theater. Athletes do not dress in sequined costumes with skulls on them. And what about those gnomes of many colors who give the skaters flowers after each performance? It seems to me that the gang over at ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY should cover the skating. This is SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, for goodness' sakes; if I don't see at least 15 pages on the Professional Spring Football League in this issue, I'll be disappointed. I don't give a damn if the league is folding, I WANT TO SEE PSFL TRAINING CAMP ROSTERS!
Every night CBS insists on telling us that we—as in the U.S.A—have a chance. We don't have a chance. We never have a chance. Why? We don't have to ski in this country; we have automobiles and good roads. Now if the Winter Games were to include the 3,000-mile-oil-change-and-front-wheel-realignment-while-listening-to-ZZ-Top-at-airport-runway-decibel-level as a medal sport, then Team Jiffy Lube would bring home the gold for us.
This was supposed to be Brent's Olympics. Instead we got Paula Zahn and Tim McCarver. (I am disqualifying myself from assessing McCarver. CBS sees a likable, genial prime-time presence. I see a guy crouching in a catcher's mask, talking about the sweep tag. This is how it works in TV: McCarver goes from baseball player to baseball analyst; meanwhile ABC sends him to the Calgary Games in '88 to do features on pin collecting, then CBS decides he has such depth of knowledge and hit-and-pun wit, he ought to cohost an Olympics. Next thing you know, he'll be eyeing the anchor chair for the NBC Nightly News.)
For prime time it's McCarver; for slime time it's Pat O'Brien. The late-night anchor is so slick, I can't believe he doesn't slide off his late-night anchor chair. O'Brien is beyond cool; he's cryogenic.
Idle inquiry: Why is it that every time I see Katarina Witt, all made up with nowhere to go, I think of painting by numbers?
And now a word about our good friends at TNT: No!!!!!!!!!!
With its 45 hours of cable coverage, TNT is giving us all the events and analysts no one wants to see. It's like the remainders table at a bookstore. Let me quote TNT's Svein Romstad at the start of the women's luge: "Va ooh speeeden foueurrr da güüüüüüdderthal m‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√Ñ¢‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√Ñ¢‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√Ñ¢gen Visa card sp‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√Ñ¢nk‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√Ñ¢ vüünderfüüüüül!"
I will give TNT this: Anchors Fred Hickman and Nick Charles, with a wintry backdrop on their set, are in Atlanta but look as if they're in Albertville, while Zahn and McCarver are in Albertville but look as if they're in Manhattan.
I would like to continue, but mogul skiing calls.
[Thumb Up]To Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboy quarterback, for pledging up to $20,000 to build a health and fitness center for youths in his hometown of Henryetta, Okla.
[Thumb Down]To Mississippi College in Clinton, for not renewing scholarships for eight football players. Parents of some of the students say the college told them that it had given out more scholarships than NCAA rules allow.
[Thumb Down]To Bobby May, athletic director at Rice University, who—after a university report found that the school was lowering its academic standards and losing millions of dollars in its effort to compete in the Southwest Conference—said, "I think it's a positive report that points out we're doing exactly what we need to be doing athletically, academically and financially."
THEY SAID IT
George Foreman, after taping an appearance on Home Improvement, an ABC sitcom about the host of a household repair TV show: "They asked me what I build. I told them, 'Sandwiches.' "
Ian Baker-Finch, 1991 British Open champion, on long-hitting 1991 PGA champion John Daly: "His drilling is unbelievable. I don't go that far on my holidays."
Too Much Sun
Randy Stoklos recently became the first pro beach volleyball player to amass $1 million in career earnings. Said Stoklos, "People are going to look back at this milestone, and it will be talked about forever."
Replay: 25 Years Ago in Sports Illustrated
Jean-Claude Killy, who helped bring the 1992 Winter Olympics to the Savoie, was on our March 27, 1967, cover. Dan Jenkins described him as "the biggest thing in France since Bardot's bikini." In BASKETBALL'S WEEK we pictured two guards from small colleges: Walt Frazier of Southern Illinois and Earl Monroe of Winston-Salem (N.C.). Clyde and the Pearl would eventually be reunited in the backcourt of the NBA champion New York Knicks.