DISHING THE DIRT
How dare you accuse the New York Giants of deliberately trying to beat up Jimmy Brown of the Cleveland Browns (A War on Ferocity, Nov. 11)! No football player deliberately goes out to injure another. Are you some kind of a nut to publish such an outrageous story?
Walter Bingham's tirade against Jimmy Hill was most reprehensible. As one who saw the game and the game movies, I agree that Hill should be rebuked for his temperamental outburst and his forearm blow after the conclusion of the play. Nevertheless, Bingham's implications and omissions transform the article from one which could have helped to one which does a great disservice to Hill, to pro football and to your usually accurate publication.
Bingham fails to mention that Hill's first jolt was a completely legal block; that the first stiff-arm Hill administered to Starr was legal; that Starr hit Hill simultaneously with the same type of blow; that after Starr was tackled he kicked Hill in the teeth and ribs, probably unintentionally; and that after the game, Starr, in his nationally syndicated column, exonerated Hill of all blame.
I wish Mr. Bingham success in his war against violence in pro football, but I hope that in the future he will be more careful in choosing his weapons.
I for one have enjoyed watching the rough and tough play of pro football, the savage fighting play of the lines, the crisp tackles, the running of Jim Brown, the keying of Huff on Brown, etc.
Now Walter Bingham comes along and wants to go to touch football. He should go to Harvard. They have a good tiddly-winks team there; that seems to be his sport.
I believe your point against unnecessary roughness is well taken. It seems to me that deliberate fouling which results in injury should be penalized by more than the usual 15 yards. I believe that a player who deliberately fouls and injures another player, so that the latter is out of action for a period of time, should be suspended from playing for a period of time equal to the time lost by the injured player. The decision for such a penalty could be made by the commissioner of football in each of the professional leagues.
JACOB SIRKIN, M.D.
Fifteen yards, and possibly a game suspension for one man, is little enough to pay for removal of a Bart Starr or a Jimmy Brown. I suppose that fines can be paid by the club, but if a man knows that he is facing a season's suspension that may affect his own future livelihood, it might deter him from doing his coach's dirty work.
Statements to the effect that, "The war against roughness is a continuing war," from Commissioner Rozelle will do little. The only thing that will stop it is the realization by the individual players that if they hurt another man purposely, they are going to get hurt, too—in the pocketbook.
DONALD C. HAMILTON
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
I will be the first to agree that to insure the dignity and future of pro football the officials must crack down on roughness designed to really hurt an opposing player. However, football is a rough sport, and too much officiating is as bad as not enough. I wish you would remind the officials of both leagues that whistle-happy referees as well as dirty football players can ruin the game.