TO: DON LOGAN
Chairman and CEO, Time Inc.
This is an article from the Feb. 22, 1999 issue
Dear Mr. Logan,
Not to get personal, but do you realize who you're sleeping
with? You're in the sack with IOC president Juan Antonio
SamaRat, the Marquis de Graft, who stands accused of running one
of the most corrupt sports organizations in history, and you
need to get out.
Eat the tens of millions that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Time Inc.,
which owns SI, paid the IOC to be a TOP Sponsor of the Sydney
Summer Games. Don't sign any checks for Salt Lake City. Take the
Olympic rings off the company duffel bags and ski coats and
souvenir boomerangs. Cancel the cruise boat and the hotel space,
and send back the truckloads of tickets. If you care about the
Olympics--and you should--make like Michael Johnson and sprint,
don't walk, away from this weasel.
And not just you. All the other 500-pound-gorilla sponsors ought
to walk away, too, until SamaRat is run out of Switzerland on a
mountain goat. Tell Coke to put a cap on it. Get UPS to stop
delivery. Have Kodak choose another moment. Same with
McDonald's, Samsung, Panasonic, Visa, IBM. Copy Xerox on this,
will you? Enough is enough.
John Hancock COO David D'Alessandro is already taking a stand;
why aren't you? D'Alessandro has stopped negotiations with NBC
on ads worth $20 million, about twice the amount he spent with
the network during the Atlanta Games. As a sponsor, D'Alessandro
has the right to buy as much as $60 million worth of ads, but
John Hancock isn't signing for a dime.
How can we be in business with a guy we're ripping weekly in our
magazines? Or do you somehow think this whole cash/fur
coats/geishas/jewelry/sweetheart land deals/under-the-table
scholarships/bribes-for-votes scandal was just dreamed up by
This tells you how much SamaRat wants it all cleaned up: Just as
the mierda was hitting the fan, just as our own journalists were
revealing that IOC members have a funny habit of accepting
first-class plane trips from Patagonia to Salt Lake City with 20
days' worth of layovers in Paris, SamaRat decides he's going to
order an "independent investigation" into the whole mess. Guess
who's on the panel? All IOC members!
Independent IOC investigator: Prince Abdullah, am I quite right
in assuming you purchased this handsome new cherry-red
convertible Corvette by liquidating your Christmas Club account?
Prince Abdullah: No. I also used S&H Green stamps.
You don't think SamaRat knew? You don't think a guy who
appointed 90 of the 111 IOC members knew? You don't think a man
who insists on presidential suites and likes people to call him
Your Excellency sets the tone for what is and isn't acceptable?
(Rule of thumb: If it fits in an airplane hangar, accept it.)
This can't wait. This is only going to get greasier. Twenty-four
IOC members have been paint-balled by this scandal already, and
there are three big reports to come. I know you may have to
write off millions to get out of this deal, but the right thing
rarely comes cheap. Our parent company, Time Warner, is a
multibillion-dollar corporation. So sell the company Concorde.
Ask Madonna for a loan. If you take a stand, I'll do my part:
There'll be no Spectravision on my expense account for a month.
It's not like SamaRat's going to quit. Are you kidding? He
learned from Generalissimo Franco. Dictators don't quit. They
get carried out either in solid-gold coffins or on the ends of
bayonets. The Olympics can't get clean until he's out. Same for
all his cronies. Start over. Bill Bradley would be a nice IOC
president. He's as clean as Rush Limbaugh's fork, and he's a
former Olympic athlete. Remember athletes?
Look, SI doesn't sell waffle irons or condos or three-woods. All
we have to trade on is our integrity. Every day we help fund
this corruption, we lose a little more.
In conclusion I'd like to say something from the heart, as
someone who cares about the future of this company and his place
in it, whether you agree with my opinion and especially if you
do not, and that is: Please don't have me fired.
Logan issued the following statement concerning the IOC:
"As an Olympic sponsor, Time Inc. continues to be deeply
concerned about the serious allegations of misconduct and
improprieties involving the IOC and the overall selection
process for host cities. We have insisted that the IOC undertake
a complete and vigorous examination--and do whatever else might
be necessary to restore the integrity of the Olympics.
"In the Time Inc. tradition of journalistic independence, SI's
writers and editors will continue to aggressively pursue this
story, unencumbered by any commercial interest the company may
Xerox on this, will you? Enough is enough.