ON THE EDGE
There was quite a stir last week when excerpts from New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor's book, LT: Living on the Edge, were made public. The excerpts, which appear in the September issue of Sport, detail his problems with cocaine and imply that the Giants and the NFL looked the other way. "If I were Joe Blow, okay, there'd be the slammer or some midnight trip to Betty Ford's farm," writes Taylor, with coauthor David Falkner.
The fact that professional sports teams apply a double standard to the treatment of athletes abusing drugs should not come as a shock to anyone—the better you are, the more chances you get. What's disturbing about Taylor's book is that he admits he dropped out of two treatment programs, one in early 1985 and the other at the end of the '85 season, and asserts he beat drugs on his own simply by playing a lot of golf.
Dr. Arnold Washton, an expert on drug abuse who has treated many athletes, told SI's Armen Keteyian, "It sounds like [ Taylor's] attitude is one of grandiosity, of having cured himself. That indicates he still has the problem. You can be abstinent without being in recovery. Recovery means changing life-style, attitude and behavior. If those things don't change, then he's doomed to relapse."
Our Australian correspondent Richard Yallop filed this report from Sydney on Friday's fight between Joe Bugner (SI, May 25) and Greg Page:
"Like the boomerang, Joe Bugner has come back. The Hungarian-born, British-raised 'Aussie Joe' has a new nationality, a new identity and a new belief at age 37 that he can become heavyweight champion.
"Before the bout the skeptical Australian public looked at Joe and his glamorous wife-manager, Marlene, and wondered whether the Bugners were doing it for the publicity or the money. Perhaps Bugner's credibility problem stemmed from people not knowing where the actor left off and the fighter began. Bugner, who still fancies a screen career, said, 'I'd like to play heroic roles, punch out the baddies." He'd also like to punch out Mike Tyson, but first he had to beat Page.
"In a special ceremony before the fight, Bugner was made an Australian citizen, and as the national song was played, Bugner waved the flag in front of the cheering crowd. Rocky Goes Down Under. Page won the first round comfortably, but after that, the gentle blond giant started bearing in on Page, who was suffering from a stuffed nose he later blamed on Australia's winter climate. Bugner nearly put Page away in the third round and again in the fourth.
"The decision was unanimous, and Bugner was exultant. He said no fight had ever given him as much satisfaction, not even his bouts with Muhammad Ali in 1973 and '75. 'At 37, I don't have a great deal of time left,' he said. 'I think I can rise to the occasion.' Page had a different opinion: ' Tyson would kill him.'