The Seles Verdict
The question remains as to how much Monica Seles hurt her own case by refusing to cooperate with German authorities in the much-publicized trial that resulted in her attacker walking away with a two-year suspended sentence last week. Seles has a strange, Garboesque penchant for secrecy (witness her appearances in various wigs and disguises after her mysterious withdrawal from Wimbledon in 1991) and according to German authorities did not allow her U.S. doctors to release information about the knife wound inflicted by Günter Parche, a 39-year-old unemployed lathe operator. The authorities wanted that information to strengthen the charge against Parche, a loner whose obsession with seeing Steffi Graf regain the No. 1 ranking apparently prompted the attack.
As it was, Parche went to trial charged with "causing grievous bodily harm" and not with a more serious charge such as attempted manslaughter. And while Judge Elke Bosse's sentence could have been harsher—a maximum of five years—the suspended sentence was in line with the charge.
Seles's lawyer, Gerhard Strate, claims that a German doctor who examined Seles did give evidence. But even Strate allows that Seles's permission to release the records "arrived somewhat late." That is an understatement, according to the prosecution, which wanted the information months before the trial and got it only the day before.
Neither did Seles appear in court to testify. Her presence might have swayed the judge, who, according to German press reports, showed a disturbing sympathy toward Parche and his orgiastic fantasies about Graf.
Given that the authorities apparently believed his claim that he just wanted to hurt Seles, not kill her, Parche may have been charged only with the lesser count, even with Seles's cooperation. That the sentence reflected the charge does not mean that justice was served. Perhaps that will happen in the appeal process, which has already begun.
Long, Strange Trips
It's bad enough just being a Washington Bullet: You haven't had a winning record in six seasons, you haven't had a trip to the playoffs since 1988, and you will soon be listening to superfan Robin Ficker, the chowderhead who rants and raves at opposing teams from his courtside seat at the Capital Centre.
But try being a Washington Bullet during the preseason. The Bullets' all-on-the-road exhibition express includes stops at Illinois State's Redbird Arena (a 109-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Oct. 15); the University of Louisville (against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 20); the Mark in Moline, Ill. (against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Oct. 21); the Mobile (Ala.) Civic Center (against the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 24); the Charleston (W.Va.) Civic Center (against the L.A. Lakers on Oct. 26); North Carolina State's Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh (against the Bucks on Oct. 28); and the Pyramid Arena in Memphis (against the Bulls on Oct. 30).
The 76ers, the Seattle SuperSonics and the New Jersey Nets do not play a single home exhibition game, either, simply because they cannot entice the home fans to come out, that task being difficult enough during the regular season. Better to accept a guarantee (something like $50,000) from an outside promoter than to take a bath on a home game. The outfits that stage these odd preseason matchups obviously try to make them as attractive as possible. For example, Washington's coach, Wes Unseld, and its center, Pervis Ellison, have Louisville ties, and the Oct. 28 Raleigh stop is a "Tom Gugliotta game" in honor of the Bullet forward who's an NC State product. But most of the time Washington is the "designated opponent," like in Charleston, where West Virginia legend Jerry West, the Lakers' general manager, will receive the key to the city.
Then again, that's pretty much what the Bullets are during the regular season, too.
Last week, in one of the most mind-boggling upsets ever in international golf, no-names Raul Fretes and Carlos Franco of Paraguay humbled Scottish Ryder Cup veterans Colin Montgomerie and Sam Torrance in the Scots' own backyard. It happened at the Royal and Ancient Golf Course of St. Andrews in the first round of the Dunhill Cup, a 16-nation competition won on Sunday by the U.S.
Perhaps aware that Paraguay has only three golf courses—two fewer than the town of St. Andrews—and fewer than 500 golfers to play on them, Montgomerie had confidently assessed his team's prospects against the South Americans before tee time: "If we lose to them we should really pack up and go home."
Well, it was a short trip anyway.
The Third Man
Last Saturday marked the 25th anniversary of the raising of gloved fists by 200-meter gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos on the victory stand at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. That single, forceful gesture, intended to underscore the inequities faced by blacks in American society, and its aftermath—the suspension of the two sprinters from the team and their immediate expulsion from the Olympic Village—touched off a minor revolution in sports.
The forgotten man in the drama was silver medalist Peter Norman of Australia. Minutes before the ceremony Norman, who is white, learned what Smith and Carlos planned to do and asked them if he could participate in some way. "I felt it was a cause worth backing," says Norman, 51, from his home in Williamstown, a middle-class suburb of Melbourne. Smith and Carlos gave him a badge supporting the Olympic Project for Human Rights, and he pinned it to his tracksuit. Norman was mildly reprimanded by Aussie Olympic officials, and he heard a few nasty comments when he got home, but nothing like the fire storm in the U.S.
Things haven't gone well for Norman. In 1985 he suffered serious complications after surgery to repair an Achilles tendon he tore in an exhibition track meet in Melbourne. He spent three months in bed, left the hospital in a wheelchair and subsequently had a nervous breakdown brought on by depression. Norman still spends most of his time in a wheelchair, and his career as a physical education teacher is over. These days he drives a truck and gives motivational talks to "make a dollar where I can."
Norman has kept in touch with Smith and even stayed with him in July when an Australian TV station flew Norman to Los Angeles for a commemorative on the '68 Games. He is proud of his small role in history but despairing of its lasting effect. "There is still a lot of hatred of people who are different because of their color or religion," says Norman. "What we did appears to have been to little avail."
The Crying Game
Big girls don't cry, according to the Four Seasons, but big coaches and managers sure do. Especially Marty Schottenheimer (above), current coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and former boss man of the Cleveland Browns. Leaving out obvious platforms for tears, such as retirements, resignations, visits to children's homes and funerals, here is a sample of the tracts of their tears.
Tom Watson, '93 Ryder Cup
Had to leave good buddy Lanny Wadkins out of a key match.
Lou Piniella, Seattle Mariners, after White Sox clinched AL West by heating his team on Sept. 27
Had a vision of the future. "I love you guys. I want you to know this could be you next season."
Jimmy Johnson, Dallas Cowboys, September press conference
Overcome by strain of continuously talking about Emmitt Smith, who was holding out at the time.
Bill McCartney, University of Colorado football
"I cry in church all the time. If I see somebody go forward in church to be saved, I usually weep."
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke basketball, after loss to Cal in '93 NCAA regionals
Saddened by the thought of never again coaching Bobby Hurley and Thomas Hill.
Marty Schottenheimer, Browns, January '88
Choked up by sympathy for Earnest Byner, who had a costly fumble in a 38-33 playoff loss to Denver.
Marty Schottenheimer, Browns, August '88
Choked up by having to make final roster cuts.
Marty Schottenheimer, Browns, December '88
Choked up by team's stirring comeback in 24-23 playoff loss to Houston Oilers.
Marty Schottenheimer, Chiefs, January '91
Choked up by K.C.'s tough 17-16 playoff loss to Miami Dolphins.
When the six finalists for Spanish River (Fla.) High homecoming queen gathered on the field before last Thursday's big game, five were decked out in their best dresses, heels and makeup. The sixth was wearing shoulder pads and cleats and toting a helmet. "I didn't have time to get dressed up," said Sally Phipps (above, with her king, Larry Sparks) after receiving her crown. "I had to play." Sally, a 17-year-old senior, is a placekicker for the Sharks. All-State in girls' soccer, she was invited to try out for the football team last year after the coach saw her kick at a pep rally. Sally was two for two on extra points this season until Thursday, when, perhaps overwhelmed by her coronation, she missed her only attempt in Spanish River's win over Atlantic High.
Sally kicked up her heels in more queenly garb at Saturday's homecoming dance. "It was fun," she says. "I got to wear my little tiara around all night—and a short red dress with sequins." Eat your heart out, Nick Lowery.
This Week's Sign That the Apocalypse Is Upon Us
While hundreds of schoolchildren get detention every day for chewing gum in class, NBC football broadcaster Mike Ditka (left) chomps away on the air in front of millions.
They Said It
•The Reverend Hansford Vann, mentor of ordained minister and University of Colorado linebacker Daryl Price, after Price was photographed kicking a Miami player during an on-field brawl last month: "In the heat of battle, you do a lot of things that might not be kosher."