I've read every issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED since you've been in business, but I think this time you went too far (Players Are Not Just People, April 29).
Being a transplanted Detroiter, I cannot see how you can condone the action of NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in giving Alex Karras the same treatment as Paul Hornung. Judging from all published reports, Alex's offenses weren't anywhere near as bad as Hornung's so far as size and number of bets are concerned.
I cannot figure out what the critics expect from Pete Rozelle. There is a sign in the locker room of every clubhouse in the NFL. Briefly, it states: "Do not bet on pro football games." Each player's contract contains a similar clause, with penalties of up to lifetime banishment for violation.
Now two guys (the "brightest stars," say the critics) get caught and get clouted. What the critics don't take into consideration is that the few who may have escaped detection will henceforth be leading puritanical lives. Hornung sincerely regrets his mistake and knows that his professional life is not ruined. He'll probably be back in 1964 to make life miserable for the rest of the league. It will be a cleaner and healthier league thanks to Pete Rozelle.
FRANK A. SIEVERMAN
I am quite glad that Tex Maule and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED take Pete Rozelle's side of the story. Ever since his decision about suspending Hornung and Karras, everyone seems to be against him. No one seems to realize that he did what he did to protect pro football.
New York City
Re Dr. Albert Hammond's article The Intolerable Squeeze (May 6): the $2 bettor (of which I am one) doesn't stand a chance. In our competitive society the edge always goes to the group that is organized. Racetrack bettors, by nature unorganizable, can only hold the short end of the stick and console themselves with two "truths": 1) they aren't forced to bet; and 2) one bettor has no inherent advantage over another.
The gradual, "painless" hikes in mutuel take will continue until the increase in taxation does not balance the decrease in money bet. One wonders how long this will be.
DANIEL P. SHINE
I quit reading about halfway through, because horseplayers (I used to be one) are addicts pure and simple—mostly simple. The addicted ones make 75% of the take. They don't care what the take is—they are hooked and you know it! I am not referring to the guy who goes on Mother's Day. Webster says of "addict"—"to apply habitually, as one's mind to speculation; to give (oneself) up or over as a constant practice." Horse racing is supported by addicts, but who cares? Probably the state less than anyone. I must admit I enjoyed going to the races, but one day I realized I had become an addict, and it sickened me, so I quit.
When your April 29 issue came in the mail, I thought, at first glance, I was looking at a picture of Robin Roberts. I saw the words "New Hope In Philly" and I thought I was getting a 1950 copy by mistake. Then I saw the name Art Mahaffey. Not only does Mahaffey look like a young Roberts, but the situations are very similar in many ways. Once again the Phils, a doormat for many years, are hoping to ride to the National League championship on the arm of a young hurler and a lot of other untried ballplayers.
I have just read the "Advantage Talbert" article in the SCORECARD section of your May 6 issue. Congratulations!