SI Vault
July 21, 1986
HARBOR VIEWSSir:I found the June 30 issue particularly fascinating, primarily because of Robert Boyle's splendid piece on New York Harbor (Haven Of Havens).
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July 21, 1986

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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The lesson to be found in the deaths of Len Bias and Don Rogers is clear. We have deified our superathletes to the extent that they believe they are above the law. And so it comes as a surprise to them, and to many of the rest of us, to discover that they are not above nature's immutable and inexorable laws.

No one is above them—not even an All-America.
Gainesville, Fla.

Your recent coverage of the Len Bias and Don Rogers tragedies was a disservice to all young athletes. To give cover and editorial space to these incidents helps perpetuate the myth that "drugs are an acceptable and inevitable part of sports." Please return to reporting on true accomplishments in sports.
Principal/Athletic Director
Colman High School,
Colman, S.Dak.

Just after I read your piece on the death of Len Bias, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle announced the new drug-testing policy for pro football. The NFL Players Association quickly objected and critics from the civil liberties movement voiced their dissent.

Perhaps my observations, as an attorney in the United States Air Force, will highlight the propriety of the commissioner's ruling. All Air Force members are subject to random, short-notice urine testing for the presence of drugs. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is fair game, from new recruits to four-star generals, from pilots to accountants to mechanics to clergy. The effect of the testing, from my perspective, has been to sharply curtail drug use. I am satisfied that the testing is proper and legally sound.

The NFL and the athletes should not complain that their privacy will be invaded. Our military members have the same sensitivities as do the athletes, yet our program achieves its goal without unduly inconveniencing our people.

Pro athletes, by choice, step into the public limelight. They absolutely owe a duty to this nation's young because they do serve as role models for the children. By implementing this drug-testing program, the commissioner will save the lives of some professional football players and, perhaps, the lives of some of our children.
United States Air Force

I have long loved SI but was most dismayed to see the negative bias shown toward the West German soccer team (Tango Argentina!, July 7). I could not believe that Clive Gammon wrote that the West Germans sneaked by France on a "lucky" goal. The Germans displayed a patience that enabled them to stifle many of the better teams.

Such negative remarks were not limited to SI. NBC's British play-by-play man went into various tirades about the Germans, calling them boring and not very good. Commentator Rick Davis, however, did his best to stick up for the Germans, pointing out that if they weren't very good, what were they doing in the finals?

Next time Gammon writes about the Germans perhaps he could use adjectives such as hard-hitting and patient instead of "lucky" and "workmanlike." Their tough defense was a delight to the true soccer fan.

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