SI Vault
June 19, 1967
ON ALI You will find on page 18 Basketball Star Bill Russell's personalized account of the hush-hush meeting in Cleveland between the country's top Negro athletes and Muhammad Ali. We share with Russell a respect for Ali's sincerity in his religion—which we have never had reason to doubt—and his refusal on religious grounds to serve in the Army. But some of the views propounded by Russell are, to say the least, highly debatable. Russell certainly should know that there is a difference between being a Catholic or Protestant or Muslim—the faith practiced by 300 million people throughout the world—and being a member of the Black Muslim movement in the U.S., which has often been associated with violence and thuggery and is identified with the very intolerance that Russell decries. It is Ali's unfortunate association with this racist group, not his refusal to serve in the Army because of sincere religious convictions, that has victimized him.
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June 19, 1967


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The financial possibilities stagger the imagination.

Infractions of the law should be reported to the Harbor Supervision Branch of the Army Corps of Engineers or, if one wants to avoid the dirty work, the Fishermen's Association will, upon notification, go about bagging the polluter for you.

The editors of The New York Times go to great lengths to give their readers the total view, but last week they reached what may long be remembered as their finest hour. The headlines on Thursday read: ISRAELIS ROUT THE ARABS, APPROACH SUEZ, BREAK BLOCKADE, OCCUPY OLD JERUSALEM. Using some 13,000 words, the Times reported, analyzed and commented on the war in the Middle East. And back on page 44, deadpan as always, the editors ran a chess column headlined: SPECTACULAR PLAY HIGHLIGHTS ISRAEL ARMED FORCES TOURNEY. A Times man reported that one Amikan Balsham had "captured" the Israeli army chess championship held at the Tel Aviv Soldiers' Home, and he assessed the strategic moves in some crucial matches. "Space does not permit the fantastic possibilities for attack and defense," he wrote of one maneuver, and concluded, "The game lasted 120 moves before a peaceful solution was agreed upon."


They may have trouble getting ice on their concrete bobsled run (SI, Feb. 20 et seq.) or the ruts out of their ski slopes, but the Winter Olympics Committee may be arranging things so that no one will notice. The committee's latest bulletin announces that both "earthly food" and "spiritual food" will be served up at Grenoble. "As France is, par excellence, a country renowned for its good food and drink," the advisory says, "it is important that the catering arrangements for the Xth Winter Olympic Games should be an element of propaganda and be especially good.... There will be a gastronomical choice of suggested menus based on a different French province every day." One menu, for example, includes saucisson brioch�, poularde demideuil, cr�pes bressanes, cheese, ice cream and a quarter liter of red Burgundy.

"Physical prowess and intellectual prowess are two inseparable terms of culture which concern Man as a whole." the bulletin continues. The people of Grenoble will "make of their town, during the Olympic Games, a temple, not only of sport but also of the spirit." The Paris Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Munch will perform, as will the Com�die Fran�aise, the Paris Opera Company and the Ballet. Works by Stendhal, Paul Claudel and Baudelaire will be included in the cultural repertoire.

And under the heading of "Light Entertainment" there is a note that Roger Vadim (former husband of Brigitte Bar-dot and current husband of Jane Fonda) will act as Chief of Protocol, a post that requires him "to make sure that the sporting "warriors' get all the leisure which is so important to them."


At a meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay, the International Amateur Basketball Association failed to renew the limited powers that it had given to the U.S. Basketball Federation four years ago to schedule games between American and foreign teams. In effect, it restored sole jurisdiction in such matters to the AAU. The action means that the organization that represents 90% of the good basketball players in this country—the U.S. Basketball Federation—now has no control over their participation in foreign events.

The AAU has a representative on the central committee of the international body, but the Federation does not. The AAU also traditionally has the support of the Russians, who are hardly blind to the advantage of keeping U.S. international teams weak. It is no wonder that the action, or lack of action, in Montevideo benefited the AAU.

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