SI Vault
Edited by Alexander Wolff and Richard O'Brien
December 19, 1994
A Matter of Degree
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December 19, 1994


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The U.S. attorney's office describes the case as "continuing." But with the six-year statute of limitations on tax charges expiring as early as next month, any further indictments based on Bertolini and Hongach's Atlantic City extravaganza would have to be handed down soon. Even if the feds had a case against any of the 11—and all players reached last week by SI said they had done nothing wrong and weren't targets of a probe—prosecutors might demur on pursuing it. The IRS typically tries to make a point when it seeks an indictment, and in the Strawberry case there's a salient signal to send: that current players who don't report income will face the consequences.

At the 12th Meadowlands Classic sports-memorabilia show in East Rutherford, N.J., where $5 got you in and another $45 got you Reggie Jackson's signature, it was business as usual on Sunday. Jackson signed as he listened to football games on a radio, which was lent to him by a fan.

At day's end, coming by to retrieve his radio, the fan made the mistake of asking Mr. October for a couple of autographs, gratis. Jackson was willing to sign, but not without grumbling. "C'mon," he said. "The radio wasn't——worth $90 to me."

Paint that. Mr. Rockwell.

Thrown Out

For years, for reasons no one can remember, Hamilton College fans at Sage Rink in Clinton, N.Y., have thrown things—traditionally tennis balls and oranges—at opposing goalies in celebration of the Continentals' first home goal of every season. The ritual has generally been tolerated in the past, but the Hamilton hurlers recently took their fling thing to such an extreme that it got them all tossed.

On Nov. 18, after the Continentals scored 26 seconds into their home opener against Wesleyan, more than mere oranges came out of the stands. The ice was littered with apples, melons, two live mice and a life-sized, anatomically correct inflatable doll. (News reports of kielbasa and a dead squirrel appear to be unfounded.) After a 10-minute interruption to clear the ice, Hamilton went on to win 7-1. There were no incidents in the following day's game against Tufts, but school president Eugene Tobin threw the book at the students anyway. He banned all spectators, with the exception of players' family members, from the next home game, a 5-4 loss to Hobart last Friday. "Extreme antisocial acts warrant censure," said Tobin.

Great Fall of China

We were as willing as anyone to give China's women swimmers the benefit of the doubt when they suddenly up and dominated the sport, winning 12 gold medals at September's world championships and another 15 at the Asian Games a month later. Here in the culturally blinkered West we might have failed to understand the benefits of herbal elixirs, newfangled training methods and the hunger of athletes just beginning to emerge on the world stage. Indeed, International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch vouched for them, saying, "I'm sure that Chinese sport is very clean." Besides, China is the world's most populous country—a place where being told you're one in a million means there a*"e a thousand more just like you.

But last week came confirmation that seven Chinese swimmers, along with two canoeists, a cyclist and a hurdler, had flunked drug tests before and during the Asian Games. Among the swimmers who came up positive was Lu Bin, who collected three golds at the worlds and set a 200-meter individual medley world record at the Asian Games. The Chinese Olympic Committee pronounced itself "shocked and upset," and the foreign ministry labeled the positive tests "an act by individuals," presumably meaning athletes. Yet Lu said she "absolutely did not use any kind of doping substance" and has no idea why she tested positive. That would leave the coaches, doctors and trainers in the employ of the Chinese Swimming Federation as the likeliest suspects—but that organization righteously suspended Lu and six others for two years.

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