Not too long ago, Bob Sundvold, an assistant basketball coach at Missouri, received a late-night phone call from a Tiger booster who wanted to chat about Mizzou's prospects for the season. Sundvold patiently talked with the man for about half an hour about freshman Anthony Peeler and such returning players as Greg Church and Gary Leonard. With the hour approaching midnight, the coach decided that enough was enough.
"Listen," said Sundvold, "there are things in the world that are more important than Missouri basketball."
"Like what?" asked the fan.
"Well, Hurricane Gilbert, for instance," said Sundvold.
To which the fan replied, "Can he play?"
A POSITIVE STEP
Last week at an NFL owners meeting in Chicago, commissioner Pete Rozelle said that, beginning next year, the league would treat those players found to be using anabolic steroids in the same manner as those who test positive for recreational drugs such as cocaine. In other words, steroid users will be given a warning after one positive result, a 30-day suspension after a second such result and a minimum one-year suspension after a third.
The NFL has dragged its feet on the steroid issue for years, citing either lack of evidence of the drugs' deleterious effects or the high cost and unreliability of steroid testing. But with its new policy, the league is acknowledging that anabolic steroids are a great health hazard and that testing is now both feasible and reliable.
The players' association maintains that drug testing must be part of a collective bargaining agreement, but the sides have been without a contract since Aug. 31, 1987. An NFLPA source says that language about education and confidentiality would have to be in any agreement. Well intentioned, but if the NFLPA has the players' best interests at heart, it will work to eliminate steroids from pro football.