The good news for former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is that a court finally ruled in his favor. The bad news is that the court was in Rhode Island, not Indiana, where Tyson is appealing his conviction on charges of having raped Desiree Washington in July 1991.
On June 25, three days after Washington had filed a civil suit in Indiana against Tyson, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that a contract between Washington and Providence attorney Ed Gerstein be made available to the judge who presided over Tyson's trial. Gerstein had brought the contract to the Rhode Island court's attention, and the ruling was prompted by an apparent inconsistency between Washington's trial testimony and the contract.
Gerstein says that shortly after the rape Washington hired him to represent her in the prospective civil suit. (He was discharged in mid-February.) However, in response to questions from Tyson's lawyers, who were attempting to show that she had accused Tyson of rape because she wanted to make money through a civil suit, Washington testified that Gerstein had simply said "he would help us with the media."
David Dreyer, chief counsel to the Marion (Ind.) County prosecutor's office, which must defend Tyson's conviction on appeal, dismissed the controversy as "much ado about nothing." But Alan Dershowitz, Tyson's lawyer, declared that the new information was "the smoking gun of perjury." Dershowitz shamelessly seized the moment by calling Washington "a money-grubbing gold-digger who is a liar to boot."
The Indiana courts probably won't be as troubled by the news as Dershowitz hopes, because in his opening statement to the criminal trial jury, Tyson's lawyer, Vincent Fuller, announced that Washington had hired a civil attorney. He pointed to Gerstein and told the jurors, "If Mr. Tyson is convicted, [Gerstein] could bring a lawsuit on behalf of Desiree Washington that stands to make her a very wealthy woman."
In other words, Tyson's own trial counsel loaded Dershowitz's "smoking gun" with blanks.
When it was invited to replace newly banned Yugoslavia in the European soccer championships in Sweden, Denmark figured to do no more than fill out the field for the eight-team, quadrennial event. After all, the Danes, who were informed that they had a berth on May 31, assembled their team only nine days before their opening match. And, predictably, they stood last in their division going into their final preliminary-round game. But they upset France 2-1 to reach the semifinals and then beat the defending champion Netherlands 5-4 on penalty kicks.
Awaiting the Danes in the final was reigning World Cup champion Germany. Denmark was loose. "Seventy-eight million Germans exert more pressure than five million Danes," said Danish coach Richard Moeller Nielsen. Besides, Danish fans—a lighthearted, beer-drinking group of supporters known as roligans—are a forgiving lot. "If we lose, we'll be second-best. That's great too," said one roligan before his country's first appearance in the final of a major soccer tournament.
In the 18th minute of play last Friday in G‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√áteborg, Danish midfielder John Jensen fired a shot into the upper right corner of the net. The Danes protected their lead by falling back on defense, allowing Germany to dominate play at midfield. Denmark would then retaliate with fast breaks. As the increasingly desperate Germans shifted into full-on attack, the Danes were bolstered by repeated heroics from their goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel. In the 79th minute midfielder Kim Vilfort slipped by two defenders to give Denmark a stunning 2-0 victory.
In a stadium awash in red-and-white roliganism, the elated Vilfort proclaimed, "We are Number One in the world. We beat the world champion."
Profit and Loss
The Barcelona Olympic Organizing Committee announced on June 19 that it expects to make a $3 million profit from the Summer Games. By contrast, three days earlier it was reported that the Winter Games in Albertville had lost at least $38 million. But compared with Montreal's debt from the 1976 Summer Olympics, $38 million is peanuts. Sixteen years later, Montreal and the province of Quebec are still trying to pay off a $1 billion Olympic debt. Cost overruns included $58 million for the velodrome and $506 million for shabbily constructed Olympic Stadium.
A few days after Albertville's $38 million loss was reported, the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles announced it was contributing almost $500,000 to youth sports programs in L.A. this year. Over the last eight years the foundation has donated more than $46 million to such programs. Where did the foundation get the money? From a trust created out of the $250 million surplus from the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
On March 16, Matt Keough was a 36-year-old pitcher attempting a comeback with the California Angels. He was sitting in the visitors' dugout at Scottsdale Stadium outside Phoenix when he was hit in the right temple by a foul ball off the bat of the San Francisco Giants' John Patterson. The blow caused a life-threatening blood clot, which required surgery.
On June 14, Keough, now a minor league scout for the Angels, made his first trip back to Scottsdale Stadium. He was sitting in the stands when Patterson, now of the Giants' Triple A team in Phoenix, fouled another screamer into the visitors' dugout. Although Chris Nichting, a pitcher for the Albuquerque Dukes, was struck on the head, he was able to pitch two days later. Says Keough, "It was virtually the same. The odds of getting hit by lightning have to be better."
The foul balls that hit Keough and Nichting were among several that have injured players and spectators since Scottsdale Stadium opened in February. The dugouts and stands there are closer to home plate than they are in most stadiums. Keough said, "I sat with a bunch of scouts in the stands for four days, and they said that someone gets hit practically every day."
Players have asked that screens be erected in front of the dugouts, but Al Rosen, general manager of the San Francisco Giants, who lease the stadium from the city of Scottsdale, has declined to do so, saying that these incidents "could have happened anywhere." Says Keough, "Maybe they'll change it when someone gets hurt worse than I did, but there's only one level worse than what happened to me."
Caught in the Draft
Here are some random impressions from the NBA draft on June 24:
•In drafting Todd Day and acquiring Lee Mayberry and Blue Edwards from the Utah Jazz, the Milwaukee Bucks changed themselves from a boring team that was going nowhere into a potentially exciting team that might go somewhere, someday. Day and Mayberry, who both played at Arkansas last season, give the Bucks an instant backcourt, and Edwards, a small forward, was a starter on a team that almost reached the NBA Finals.
•The Jazz did well to get veterans Jay Humphries and Larry Krystkowiak from Milwaukee, but it could still use a center because the middle remains clogged by land-locked seven-footer Mark Eaton. As one Jazzman says, "We ain't going nowhere till we get rid of Mark."
•Los Angeles Laker general manager Jerry West is right when he says of his first-round pick, Anthony Peeler, a guard from Missouri who has been beset by off-court difficulties, "We think we got a lottery player at number 15."
•Meanwhile, the crosstown Clippers may have picked up a sleeper in guard Randy Woods from La Salle. On the other hand, their draft-day acquisition of center William Bedford from the Detroit Pistons prompted someone close to the Piston organization to say, "Why anyone would want William Bedford is beyond me."
•As evidenced by their selection of guard Jon Barry, the Boston Celtics are worried about their three-point shooting. They are well aware that they need a big man, but they didn't like any of the ones still available (i.e., Oliver Miller and Elmore Spencer) when they chose Barry at number 21.
•Four years ago the Washington Bullets made a five-year, $5 million offer to Mark Price. It seemed outrageous at the time, but it would have been a bargain. Now Washington has drafted his brother Brent, a point guard from Oklahoma. The Bullets finally got their Price.
They Said It
Buddy Groom, Detroit Tiger rookie pitcher who was 0-2 at week's end, when told that the record for rookie futility is held by the Washington Senators' Robert Groom, who began the 1909 season 0-19: "I guess he didn't get off to such a good start."