THE SANTEE CASE: CONCLUSION
New York's Supreme Court Justice Walter A. Lynch not only brought the controversial case of Wes Santee to a logical conclusion last week—but, in upholding the AAU's lifetime ban against him—spoke inferentially about the whole disconcerting problem of amateurism in athletics with a hard-headed common sense which has been largely lacking in the public debate over the Kansas Jack-rabbit. The whole basis of popular protest against the AAU's action in the Santee case has been this: " Santee was not the only runner who got, nay demanded, fees for performing, ostensibly as an amateur." Justice Lynch did the public a favor by ignoring this completely as a factor in the case at hand (to have done anything else would have been to agree with the specious and ridiculous argument that there is no such thing as amateurism). But the justice did not hesitate to suggest that the AAU stands in need of cleaning up its own house.
In bringing his action against the AAU, Santee argued that its national executive committee (which acted after the board of managers of the Missouri Valley AAU overruled a regional ban against him) did not have jurisdiction and had acted without a quorum being present. Justice Lynch not only found both points invalid but charged that Santee had "studiously avoided" answering the real charge against him: that he was a professional. "When confronted by his accusers in the forum which he had chosen he remained silent." Justice Lynch added: "The court cites the behavior of plaintiff in his failure to proceed as indicative of his bad faith in the entire proceedings."
The reasons the AAU gave in banning Santee had largely been forgotten in the argument over his case; Justice Lynch's opinion restored them to public view. "His engagement of a booking agent, his demand for monies for the attendance of his wife at various meets and his collection of said monies without the attendance of his wife, the excessive expense accounts for the various meets, his attempt to evade professionalism by unfairly attempting to place the onus on his club-mate' [ Santee implied that expense charges for one meet were actually for ex-Kansas Miler Art Dalzell] with the possibility that the latter would be found guilty and the plaintiff escape; the check of $400 to his father-in-law from the promoter of a certain meet and other matters foreclose any serious consideration of his plea that he was harshly or unfairly dealt with.
"His repentance, if any—and the court thinks there is none—comes too late. Plaintiff should have thought of the Olympics and his representation of his country before...he consistently violated the rules of the organization in which he desires to continue his membership. He agreed to abide by the rules...of the Union. He has not only failed to do so, but he makes no pretense of having done so.
"From this unfortunate incident some good may come to amateur athletics in the U.S. Promoters of amateur athletic meets should realize...[that] the fault lies in no small part with them as a class. Plaintiff...has eliminated himself as an amateur athlete, but not without an assist from some of the 'guardians' of amateur athletics."
BOXING'S GLORIOUS BUSINESS
In the early and mid-'30s, Welterweight Jimmy McLarnin was a career-wrecking scourge of the ring, but his name never inspired in opponents one-half the fear and loathing the name of his manager, Charles "Pop" Foster, aroused in rival managers.
Pop Foster earned his nickname by being more of a father to McLarnin than a manager. As such, he violated every article of the managers' code. He never overmatched his fighter for mere money. He never "cut" his fighter with another manager. And there wasn't a promoter in the world who dared suggest a fixed match to the team of Pop Foster and Jimmy McLarnin.
Worst of all, Pop saved Jimmy's—as well as his own—money. It was this that sent real shudders down the spines of the orthodox managers who began to refer to Pop contemptuously as "the man with the one-way pockets" or, "the man who throws nickels around as though they were dollars." The truth was that Pop just never left his money—or his fighter—where the fight mob could get their hands on it or him.