STORM OVER GALE
Each Wednesday the National Football League puts out a list of players who are not-expected to play that week. The October 18 list did not include Half back Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears, so everybody expected an exciting duel the following Sunday in Cleveland between two of the league's leading rushers, Sayers and Leroy Kelly of the Browns—everybody, that is, except the bookmakers. Oddsmakers in Louisville and Chicago—almost as if they knew Sayers would not play all along—took the game off the boards, while everywhere else the odds against the Bears increased steadily during the week. On Sunday, Sayers did not play. "I was jogging on the sidelines during the warmup," he said, "and hurt my leg again."
"He was hurt in the warmup," said Coach George Halas. But some Cleveland newsmen said Sayers had not so much as trotted during warmup drills.
"It was like going to a Harry Belafonte concert and Harry Belafonte wasn't there," said Captain Paul Wiggin of the Browns, all of whom had been prepared to defend against Sayers. Those who paid to see the game felt the same way.
"We're gathering facts on all aspects of the situation," said Commissioner Pete Rozelle. "If there is anything to say we'll say it."
We hope something does get said. Fans should not have to go to gamblers to find out who will play.
Two years ago Kentucky signed the first Negro football players in the Southeastern Conference, Greg Page and Nat Northington. Page died tragically five weeks ago after receiving a severe spinal injury in a freak football training accident. Now Northington, considered a good prospect as a defensive half back and safety, has quit the team and left school. The death of his teammate deeply affected Northington and no doubt contributed to his decision. A shoulder injury and scholastic difficulties are also believed to have been factors.
"It's nobody else's fault but my own," he said. "I like everybody, but there is something missing. I just couldn't live up to it. I'm letting a lot of people down, but if I kept going on I'd just be fooling everybody but myself."