DEAR TEX: (CONT.)
Once again the national attention focuses on the Presidential primary ballots. Upon reading Tex Maule's open letter to Pete Rozelle (Dear Pete: Feb. 5), I began to entertain the thought of a national election for Commissioner of Professional Football. The Ardent Football Lovers Party, whose membership must nearly equal the legal-aged voting population, undoubtedly would enter the name of Tex Maule as its favorite son.
Hearty congratulations to Mr. Maule for a most provocative analysis of an ever-enlarging sore on the American spirit of equality in athletic competition. He has surely-expressed the sentiments of millions of football worshippers. It is indeed unfortunate that Mr. Maule's wisdom will, in all likelihood, penetrate the contemporary system no further than Pete Rozelle's magazine rack.
Come now, Tex! Professional football is far from being in imminent danger of becoming a big bore for two very elementary reasons that have nothing to do with the advent of TV exposure or the esthetics of a "vital, competitive game."
The appeal of pro football lies in 1) the availability, to anyone who can read a newspaper or a "sheet," of the betting line giving the amount of points by which one team is favored to defeat another, and 2) the availability of ye olde corner bookmaker, who will be happy to give you $100 back for every $110 you care to wager that the Cowboys will beat the Browns by more than four points or vice versa. The appeal of the Sunday TV doubleheader is the age-old gamblers' lament, "double up to catch up."
Did anyone really think that the Raiders could give the Packers a decent game, let alone defeat them? Yet millions of TV viewers stayed at their sets simply to see if Green Bay would beat Oakland by more than the 14-point spread and, thus, whether they would collect or pay.
I'm sure Commissioner Rozelle understands this all too well, and I suspect Mr. Maule does, also.
CAREY H. MAY
I thought it was a tremendous article, with one exception. I believe that the Chicago Bears should have been placed in the same division with Green Bay, L.A., Dallas and Baltimore, because the record we had this year is not indicative of our team's strength.
New York City
OUT OF THE DEPTHS
William Johnson's article (Collision on the New Underground Railroad, Feb. 12) graphically brings to the serious attention of all sports fans the degrading lengths to which athletic departments will go to field a winning team.
It is a tragic commentary on our schools' sports and academic systems and on those directly or indirectly responsible for this travesty. Willfully or unknowingly they are fomenting the ever-increasing racial overtones in sports.
R. L. VAN FOSSAN
Your recent articles on the proposed Olympic boycott and the so-called Bob Presley incident have been both immature and irresponsible. Sports are as subject to racism as any other aspect of American life, and your magazine's Do Not Disturb sign does not change that fact in the least. No calm, rational arguments against the boycott have come from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.