At the beginning of this basketball season University of Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp announced that his dressing room would be closed to the press after games and that no reporter could talk to any member of his team about basketball. This is one more instance of a regrettable trend in sport.
It has been traditional—after a "cooling off" period following a game—for the press to be allowed into dressing rooms to interview participating athletes. Although we do not go along with the complaints of newsmen concerned that barring writers from dressing rooms is violating freedom of the press, we do take issue with Coach Rupp and his kind—of which Green Bay's Vince Lombardi is another outstanding example.
It is morally reprehensible for them to close off newspapers and their readers from normal sources of information and then use the withheld information for their personal profit by revealing it on radio and TV shows of their own. Lombardi has a weekly TV program that gets much of its rating strength because he tells things there that he has hidden before. Rupp has pregame and postgame radio shows and, he told newspapermen protesting his ban, "I get more for my radio shows than some of you all do for working."
Rupp and Lombardi should also realize what would happen if every coach adopted the tactics they have. The daily flow of information that whets the appetite of sports fans would stop, and when it did the appetite itself would die. When Rupp coached his first game at Kentucky, his salary was $2,800 and nobody was asking him to do radio shows. He would do well to give a little back to his sport instead of adopting selfish policies that could kill it.
A PRO GOLFER
Bo Wininger, who died of a stroke last week at 45, was never recognized by more than a handful of fans at a golf tournament, but he was something of a folklore figure among the insiders on the pro tour, a throwback to earlier, more cavalier days in the sport. We always liked best the story he told about himself in New Orleans. He won the New Orleans Open in 1962 and rather looked forward to returning in 1963 as defending champion and therefore somewhat of a celebrity. But he arrived to find a picture of Jack Nicklaus on the program cover instead of himself. Bo was miffed—and he won the tournament again.
To make amends, the tournament committee arranged the following year to greet Bo at the airport with a band and a big crowd of fans carrying welcome signs. Bo was most pleased, and then he heard one elderly lady, who had joined in the reception and seemed particularly delighted by it, tell a passerby, "That's Bo Wininger. He's a star on Wagon Train."
The Dallas Tornados, Lamar Hunt's soccer team, which is making a six-month 19-country world tour, ran into some trouble two Sundays ago in Singapore. The Tornados lost an exhibition match against the Singapore national team 4-2 and were stoned for their efforts by the crowd of 2,000.