I was pleased with John Underwood's portrayal of Gary Player (Gary and His Beloved Country, May 23). I have the greatest admiration for this fine athlete as a golfer and a family man. However, I feel that Player has misrepresented the South African attitude concerning apartheid and subjugation of the blacks. His examples are very limited (the caddie who "adores" him and the happy blacks who visited him at his barbecue) and hardly justify a situation where a white minority of 19.3% completely controls the political and economic structure of the country. That the South African blacks are incapable of self-government is a highly debatable proposition, for various political organizations of the blacks do exist despite strong government disapproval.
MARK L. SMITH
Gary Player's outspoken support of apartheid—which stands branded before the world as enforced dehumanization of South Africa's black people—probably takes nothing from his ability as a golfer. But how can any person believing in fair play justify such an evil?
RICHARD ARRINGTON JR.
John Underwood's excellent article is well-written and perspicacious, traits so rarely found in most of today's leading periodicals. Player's example, both as a golfer and a man who, like many of us and many of his countrymen, just wants everyone to like him, should have been expounded long ago. His gift of his Open purse to the furtherance of junior golf in America went almost unnoticed here but was acknowledged in South Africa as typical of the generosity and thoughtfulness of one of that country's leading ambassadors. As for Player's personal credo, few if any writers today would have dared to be so objective in reporting it. And yet greatness, both athletic and otherwise, is due in large part to individual honesty as well as to long hours of hard work. As Underwood's article points out, Gary Player is the kind of man who should serve as an inspiration; he is much more than a good golfer.
Guaranteed big-game shooting in the "wilds" of Texas? Duncan Barnes's article (Deep in the Heart of Darkest Texas, May 23) serves as a sad commentary on the extremes to which certain alleged "sportsmen" will go in order to collect an "exotic" trophy. It is beyond me how a man can put the label of "trophy" on an animal that he shot from a television-equipped blind, while the animal was feeding from a motor-driven feed trough in a tightly fenced-in pasture.
Admittedly, to go into India after black buck antelope or into North Africa after aoudad ram is an expensive, time-consuming and physically demanding proposition. But it has always been my impression that it is because these beautiful animals are so difficult to obtain in their natural habitat that they are called exotic and have been widely sought by hunters the world over. To take one of these animals on its own terms would seem to be a truly satisfying accomplishment. But I should think that the man who bags his exotics in the way suggested by the Texas ranchers would be just as happy if he could buy his trophy at the neighborhood department store.
JOHN R. JOLLY JR.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Evidently, this country has no shortage of ghouls who arc anxious to set their gunsights on domestically raised animals and are willing to pay to do it. So, along with a mouflon sheep or a buffalo for the wealthy, why not include a steer for the less affluent ghouls?
It is pretty much the same "sport," only a different trophy and, after all, a steer is a large animal. The country could then enjoy a lower cost of beef.
CHARLES A. GARRIS JR.
Little Neck, N.Y.
Jack Olsen's excellent series on Cassius Clay regrettably has come to an end. However, I would like to comment on the insert, "How Boxing Experts Rank Clay" (May 9), that accompanied the final installment. When Nat Loubet says Clay "would have stood a good chance of beating Gene Tunney," a truly great fighter of a bygone day, he does not know what he is talking about. Clay's ability as a great puncher is not yet established. Tunney, who was atrociously underrated by some of the newsmen of his time (mostly because of his own attitude toward the press), was a deadly hitter with both hands. The men he did not actually knock out were never the same after only 10 rounds with him. He also had tremendous strength and was almost impossible to hurt.
Jimmy Jacobs has a fine fight-film library, but I wonder how much jumpy old movies can actually tell him about the real Tunney, Dempsey and Jack Johnson. Some of these old films serve only to caricature the actual fights. Johnson looks awkward in them. Tunney, at times, looks like a jumping jack. Clay is a great fighter, and he might become one of the three or four best of all time. But he must be allowed to mature.
St. John, N.B.
Judging by your article on the USC- UCLA track meet (If at First You Don't Succeed, May 16), the Bruins have decided that Los Angeles is now their town. We at USC admit that they won a few streets during this school year, but that is all. USC can still boast of its NCAA swimming champions ( UCLA was an also-ran), a gymnastics victory over UCLA, two tennis victories over the defending champions from West-wood, a trouncing of UCLA's golf team (after we suffered a slight slip to them earlier in the year) and No. 1 ranking in the nation in baseball.