SI Vault
August 11, 1997
It is gratifying to read about Joe Namath and learn how his life has evolved into that of a real family man.G. KINSEY ROPER III, ATLANTA
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August 11, 1997


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It is gratifying to read about Joe Namath and learn how his life has evolved into that of a real family man.

Broadway Joe
When Joe Namath was busy jet-setting in the late 1960s and early '70s, I was a young fan in awe of my hero (Off Broadway Joe, July 14). Now, at 34, recently married and looking forward to starting a family, I am once again in awe. We can't all be Hall of Fame quarterbacks, but we can strive to be model husbands, fathers and citizens. Nearly 20 years after his retirement from football, Namath is still living every American boy's dream. He remains an inspiration to a generation.

As a soldier working at a military hospital in Japan and a Baltimore Colts fan, I couldn't wait for Namath's USO visit to the sick and wounded after Super Bowl III. I was ready to tell him what I thought about him and his New York Jets. When we were introduced, Namath looked at me with that irresistible smile and said he had heard that I was a big Johnny Unitas fan and that he was also. We talked for a while, and I realized that this was one class act, not the egomaniac I had read about. Although I still haven't framed his autographed picture, with the inscription TO BILL, JETS 16, COLTS 7, HA HA, I Still cherish the day he took time to speak not only with me but also with the patients.
BILL SLEMMER, Cascade, Md.

No one should be surprised by your report that some hotly recruited high school athletes may have cheated on their college admissions tests (Troubling Questions, July 7). The NCAA works hard to convince us that requiring high school athletes to get a minimum SAT or ACT score will help clean up intercollegiate sports and end the exploitation of minority athletes. But as long as this multibillion-dollar athletic enterprise is hitched to the back of our higher education system, setting testing standards will not end the corruption.
CHARLES ROONEY, Cambridge, Mass.

We need either to downplay college sports by ending athletic scholarships or to call them what they really are, farm systems for the pros. If we choose the former, we will return to the era of the true student-athlete. The number of high school seniors opting to bypass college to enter the pros will increase, but at least the moral questions will have been resolved. In the second scenario we hire players to represent colleges without regard to academics. The players would be pros at a minor league level who represent colleges instead of communities.
ROBERT J. KING, North Massapequa, N.Y.

Randy Johnson of the Mariners is awesome, but has he really outpitched Lefty Grove and Sandy Koufax (An Armful, July 7)? Grove and Koufax had to bat and run the bases. Between innings neither one watched "the game on television while lying on his back on a table" or "lay on a blanket of towels on the floor of the runway between the dugout and the clubhouse until it was time to pitch again." If the American League still played baseball and Johnson didn't have the luxury of resting his back between every inning, would his record be as glittering as it is?

I have mixed feelings about your SCORECARD item on cricket (July 7). It was nice to see SI introduce a sport that is probably unfamiliar to 99% of its readers, but your description makes cricket seem like a game played by unathletic, unskilled men compared with those who play rounders (baseball). In cricket the ball is heavier than a baseball and the fielders do not have gloves to soften the blow of a line drive off the bat. The bowler can throw the ball at 90 mph or more, just as fast as a major league pitcher can. Plus, the batsman must hit the ball off a bounce. As for players' taking a break for lunch and tea during a test match, is that worse than chewing tobacco and downing Gatorade?