AIN'T PEACE WONDERFUL?
Now that pro football's nonwar is over, we're beset with the nonpeace. Four Detroit Lions—Darris McCord, Ted Karras, John Gordy and J. D. Smith—are holding out, nonviolently. Clem Daniels and Art Powell of the Oakland Raiders are tranquilly staging a Koufax-Drysdale: they want three-year, no-cut contracts at $50,000 a year each. Then there's John Brodie, the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback. The 49ers are in camp at St. Mary's College, Calif. Brodie is in Honolulu playing golf. Ostensibly Brodie is holding out for more than $50,000—but the word is much more. Like $1 million.
Before the NFL-AFL merger was announced Houston apparently offered—verbally—a fat, long-term contract to Brodie to join the team in 1967, after playing out his option with the 49ers. But when the merger became a fact the Oilers supposedly were told by Lamar Hunt of the AFL merger committee to "call off the Brodie deal." It now seems Brodie's strategy is to claim that the verbal agreement with Houston is a valid contract, and to threaten suit against both leagues for acting in restraint of trade if it isn't honored.
According to the standard pro contract, Brodie can't lay off a year and become a free agent. He would, in perpetuum, owe the club its option year if he didn't actually perform. So Brodie must play for the 49ers, but if he signs he is not playing out his option, and, moreover, he loses legal ground because his deal with the Oilers evidently is predicated on his playing out the option. And if he doesn't sign where is he going to play?
The solution: Brodie is reputedly willing to settle with Houston for $1 million, plus $100,000 in legal fees. Then he would be free to sign with the 49ers for that $50,000. Is Brodie kidding? Not on your life. The prospect of an antitrust action gives pro football such a bad case of the shakes that all 24 teams in both leagues were asked to contribute to a $750,000 pot for Brodie, plus $50,000 more in legal fees, which approximates Houston's original offer—or so we hear from a reliable West Coast source.
Will that do it? Says Brodie: "See my lawyer." Says Brodie's lawyer: "See you later."
NOTHING LIKE IT
During the Pennsylvania tennis championships at the Merion Cricket Club last week, Vic Seixas, 42, lost the first set of his match with William Bowrey, 22, the fifth-ranked Australian, 32-34. Seixas, astonishingly, took the next two sets 6-4, 10-8, but was eliminated the following day by Clark Graebner, who went on to win the men's singles.
According to James Van Alen, the originator of the Van Alen Simplified Scoring System, or VASSS, which, in essence, is based on Ping-Pong scoring (SI, July 19, 1965, et seq.), the memorable 66-game set perfectly demonstrates the superiority of VASSS. Van Alen points out that it took 2� hours, while a three-set match under VASSS would have taken but 90 minutes. The gallery dwindled from 2,500 to 500, the schedule was hopelessly retarded and, since Graebner, 22, played just 19 games the same day Seixas played 94, the weary Seixas was unfairly handicapped.
Van Alen says the deuce-and-advantage scoring system in tennis, which has been used since 1877, is comparable to a miler being forced to keep running at the end of the mile until he leads by five yards. "It can but be hoped," he maintains, "that the prolonged type of match Seixas got into will make the USLTA put on its thinking cap. There is little question what the answer would be if the USLTA asks Seixas his opinion."