Search

LETTERS

June 09, 1997
June 09, 1997

Table of Contents
June 9, 1997

Faces In The Crowd
Circus [bonus Piece]

LETTERS

If the Jets had had a few more Wayne Chrebets on their roster
and one less Keyshawn Johnson, they wouldn't have finished 1-15.
SCOTT REID, Brooklyn

This is an article from the June 9, 1997 issue Original Layout

WAYNE CHREBET

Wayne Chrebet is my new favorite wide receiver (Blue Plate
Special, May 12). He's a future All-Pro who handles himself with
a humility that most of today's pro athletes can't begin to
recognize. Keyshawn Johnson should spend more time learning how
to play with heart and less time asking Jesse Jackson or Al
Sharpton why he's standing on the sideline when it's
third-and-eight.
MARK RUTH, Lexington, Ky.

No, he's not Jerry Rice, and he doesn't have Troy Aikman, Drew
Bledsoe or Brett Favre throwing to him, but I will say this:
Chrebet will be one of my three starting receivers this fall on
my fantasy football team, and hell will freeze over before I
pick Keyshawn Johnson.
MIKE ROBINSON, Greenfield, Mass.

I enjoyed the article on Chrebet. It reminded me of my football
hero when I was growing up. Although drafted in the ninth round
by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he failed to become their
third-string quarterback and was released before the start of
the season. He tried again the next year with the Baltimore
Colts and made the team. He went on to have an 18-season career.
He was later one of four quarterbacks chosen for the NFL's 75th
Anniversary All-Time Team. That hero was, of course, Johnny
Unitas. Unitas and Chrebet show that despite all the scouting
reports, it's what's in a man's heart, as well as his talent,
that determines success in the NFL.
JOSEPH T. HINES, Parsippany, N.J.

Whenever a great white hope comes along, SI is the first to
crank up the old bandwagon. Anybody can be a star on a subpar
team. Chrebet says racism doesn't exist on the field. I guess
that's why there are so many black quarterbacks and coaches in
the NFL.
MYRON D. WEATHERS, Detroit

JACKIE ROBINSON

Your story on Jackie Robinson's 14-game hitting streak in early
May 1947 was insightful (The Breakthrough, May 5). To better
understand Robinson's greatness, we need this type of story
about specific events in Jackie's career. To my mind, the two
key aspects of Jackie were the following. 1) He was a
world-class athlete. He was not only UCLA's first four-sport
letterman but also the Bruins' only four-sport letterman. His
remarkable baserunning abilities were based on a combination of
his lightning-fast reflexes, honed from football and basketball,
and his leaping prowess, an extension of his record-breaking
broad jumping. 2) His athletic and civil rights leadership not
only improved opportunities for blacks but were also catalysts
for equal opportunity for all minorities.
JOHN PAYNE, Lebanon, Ohio

On the last day of the 1951 season the Brooklyn Dodgers were
playing the Phillies in Philadelphia, and the Dodgers had to win
in order to tie the New York Giants for the National League
lead. My stepdad took me to that game. In the bottom of the
12th, with the score tied 8-8, the Phillies had runners in
scoring position when Eddie Waitkus hit a line drive over second
base that looked like the game-winning hit. Jackie Robinson ran
hard to his right and dived. It looked as if he were at least
four feet off the ground when he backhanded the ball. In the top
of the 14th inning with two outs, Jackie homered into the
leftfield stands, not far from where we were sitting. It was the
most thrilling moment imaginable to a 12-year-old boy. My
favorite player had won the game, with both his bat and his
glove, for my favorite team, and I was with my favorite person,
my stepdad.
JERRY NEIMER, Hewitt, Texas

Jackie Robinson is admired by everyone for his athletic skill
and for his determination to overcome the racism that continues
to ruin this country. But a "pioneer" he was not. Hundreds of
Negro leaguers yearned for the opportunity to be "Jackie
Robinson." The pioneer, the nonconformist, the hero was Branch
Rickey. He's the one who changed baseball.
DANNY HERNS, San Jose

TITLE IX

It's ironic that the Jackie Robinson piece and Maureen Mahoney's
analysis of Title IX (POINT AFTER, May 5) appeared in the same
issue. The exclusion of players by race was not a tragedy
because black people were barred. It was a tragedy because
people who were capable of playing the game were barred. Race
was the bigots' excuse. Ability was the real issue. The reality
today is that the percentage of male students who have the
ability and the desire to compete in sports at the college level
is higher than the percentage of like female students.

As tradition-rich programs such as wrestling at Syracuse fall to
the Title IX ax, dedicated and capable athletes are excluded in
the name of false equality. It shouldn't matter that the
excluded athletes happen to be male. It shouldn't matter--but it
does.
JEFF MALLABER, Caledonia, N.Y.

As the lawyers who successfully sued Brown for discriminating
against women in its intercollegiate athletic program, we take
issue with a number of the points made by Maureen Mahoney,
Brown's lawyer. Brown is not "fighting to ensure Title IX
benefits all students," as your subhead says. It is fighting
because it wants to eliminate women's gymnastics and doesn't
want to upgrade other active women's teams to fully funded
varsity status.

Brown can comply with Title IX by doing any of the following:
1) providing participation opportunities "substantially
proportionate" to undergraduate enrollment of men and women, 2)
expanding its program in a manner "demonstrably responsive" to
the developing interests and abilities of the underrepresented
gender or 3) "fully and effectively" accommodating the interests
and abilities of the underrepresented gender with its present
program. Brown has done none of these things.

Mahoney says that Title IX shouldn't prohibit athletic programs
that are 60% male because the law doesn't prohibit dance
programs that are 90% female. But Title IX doesn't bar schools
from having 60% male athletic programs, as long as they meet one
of the three above tests. Moreover, there's a crucial difference
between athletics and dance programs: Athletic programs are
segregated by sex, dance programs are not.

Mahoney wrote that it may be that one day "women, given the
opportunity, will participate in athletics in numbers equal to
men" but questions whether that is true now. But if they aren't
given the opportunity, how will we know? And unless we know
women really don't have the interest or ability, how can we
possibly justify offering them less? After 25 years Brown should
stop making excuses and comply with the law.
LYNETTE LABINGER ARTHUR H. BRYANT Trial Lawyers for Public
Justice
Washington, D.C.

No wonder Brown has lost another round in its court battle
against Title IX. Mahoney's laughable position that colleges
should rely on the good-faith decisions of equality-minded
athletic directors to equalize opportunities for women athletes
leads to one question: How did she get through law school
without studying U.S. history?
JAMES J. HORAN, Dixmont, Maine

Brown has made two huge mistakes since 1991. The first was
deciding to drop four teams (two of which were female). Instead
it could have calculated the amount it needed to cut from its
athletic budget and appropriately reduced each team's budget and
avoided a Title IX case. The second was in paying an exorbitant
amount in legal fees (not to mention a huge public-relations
cost) to justify its first mistake.
DICK QUINN Sports Information Director
Williams College
Williamstown, Mass.

B/W PHOTO Football was only one of four sports in which Robinson lettered for the Bruins. [Jackie Robinson playing football]