Richard Hoffer's article about George Foreman (Still Hungry After All These Years, July 17) left me with a good feeling about man's ability to overcome and succeed. Foreman's sincerity should not be challenged, and his dedication to doing what's right is refreshing. Win or lose against Mike Tyson, Foreman will still be a champion in my book.
Sierra Madre, Calif.
Thanks for the excellent piece on Foreman. In an era of baseball players carrying guns, football players on dope and hoopsters playing as Bad Boys, it's nice to read about him. Emanuel Steward's comments, though, were inappropriate. When he said, "Never in the history of boxing have there been so many hand-picked bums," he could just as well have been referring to his own fighters, such as junior middleweight champion Duane Thomas, who feasted on opposition worse than Foreman's.
RAY WHEBBE JR.
Foreman is the only undisputed heavyweight champion since James J. Braddock retired in 1938 (after beating Tommy Farr) who has not had the opportunity to regain the title he lost in the ring. For that reason alone, he deserves a shot at Tyson.
ROBERT T. GOFF
Who put liniment in Rick Reilly's shorts? What else could have caused him to give senior sports such a slam (POINT AFTER, July 17)? It's refreshing to see seniors compete, even if the courses are easier and the fastballs the equivalent of major league changeups. Plenty of us enjoy with equal relish seeing past stars and present stars.
Overland Park, Kans.
Reilly suggests that older athletes—who he seems to assume are all male—should be allowed to compete only on the fringe, disturbing none of us younger and thinner folks. What about sportswriters? Maybe it's time for Reilly to retire and let a younger writer have his or her 15 minutes in the spotlight.
SUZANNE F. SHEDD
Juniors play in separate leagues because they do not yet have advanced skills. Why not let seniors, with their diminished skills, have their own circuits as well?
Apple Valley, Calif.
Why anyone would want to deny the old-timers and their many fans their pleasure is beyond me. There is a measure of grace in being able to retire when one's time is up, but what does Reilly find so offensive in the fact that these former stars want to continue competing, even if on a different level? There will always be new stars to replace the old ones, but isn't there room for nostalgia in today's world?
I'll wager that in 30 years Reilly will be dragging his grandchildren to old-timers' games to see Hall of Famers like Wade Boggs and Don Mattingly and to Senior PGA tournaments to watch geriatric golfers like Curtis Strange and Nick Faldo. He'll probably tell them, "Kids of today can't hold a candle to these legends you're seeing now."
BEN JOHNSON (CONT.)
Most people in Canada's sports community would agree with Merrell Noden's POINT AFTER (June 26) that Ben Johnson shouldn't be treated differently just because he is Ben Johnson. But Noden's interpretation of sports minister Jean Charest's "ban" of Johnson is a little off the mark. Our government does not run our sports programs. It does, however, contribute heavily to their financing, and that gives it significant clout. With regard to Johnson, Charest has applied the federal government's policy, which states that any athlete found to have used steroids will be ineligible for government funding for life. Johnson, like others, has the right to appeal that ruling.
Neither Charest nor any of his ministry's officials have the authority to decide who will represent Canada at the Olympic and Pan American Games. Our Olympic teams are named by the Canadian Olympic Association, which makes its selections from among athletes nominated by the governing bodies of the various sports.