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August 19, 1968
A MATTER OF CONCERN
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August 19, 1968

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A MATTER OF CONCERN

The football game between the Leones of Detroit and the Aguilas of Philadelphia, scheduled for Mexico City last Sunday, died of an excess of success. When the game was proposed people thought it might draw, at most, 40,000, even though the Dallas Cowboys have been indoctrinating the Mexicans in the joys of pro football via television for a year. In fact, the hero of the young people in Mexico City is now Don Meredith, and on vacant lots soccer balls have given way to footballs. By last Thursday 65,000 tickets had been sold to the exhibition game.

Then Ricardo Medrano, the general manager of the Federal District Football Association, announced that "due to circumstances beyond our control, we feel that it would be inadvisable to stage the game at this time."

The circumstances were these: 1) on July 26 students staged riots in Mexico City protesting police brutality, the demonstrators were put down by the army; 2) the students claimed as many as 86 people were killed, the government said none were; 3) last Friday the students went on strike, demanding that certain police officials be fired and riot police be disbanded; 4) an estimated 20,000 students had bought five-peso (40�) tickets to the Lions-Eagles game, since most of them are pro-football fans.

This concentration of students in one place would have required a large commitment of Mexican police and militia at Aztec Stadium, and it was feared their presence would have irritated the students and probably incited further disorders. At the same time, the rest of Mexico City would have been stripped of police protection, inviting trouble elsewhere. Rioting at the stadium, had it occurred, would have been visible throughout the U.S. on CBS-TV and might have resulted in a sharp decline in sales of tickets for the Olympic Games and cancellation of hotel reservations and ticket sales already made.

Probably Mexican officials were right in calling off the game. But one wonders, if student unrest continues, how they will handle the much larger problem of the Olympics, with its many venues and its heterogeneous personnel. �Qui�n sabe?

LIKING THE GAME
Take heart, Mrs. Robinson, and shame on you Simon and Garfunkel, Joe DiMaggio hasn't gone away. When Joltin' Joe became a batting coach of the Athletics the move was considered by some people to be a one-season public-relations coup that would have the added advantage of qualifying DiMaggio for a higher pension. But now Joe is apparently enjoying his return to baseball and his coaching success so much that he may remain in uniform. Oakland will be glad to have him. In an era of collapsing batting averages the A's are hitting .241 now compared with .233 last year.

IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT

Rumor has it that when New Orleans' Kevin Hardy was sent to San Francisco to compensate the 49ers for their loss of Dave Parks, Hardy demanded an extra bonus before reporting. (He had picked up $50,000 earlier as the Saints' No. 1 draft choice.) Just how much Hardy received from the 49ers probably never will be known, but he did get considerable mileage out of the switch to San Francisco.

When he arrived in town he was told to get a car, drive it to the Santa Barbara camp about 250 miles away and send the bill to the club. Hardy rented the car all right, but he used it for a week before finding the right road south. Presumably he has an easier time finding his way around a 100-yard field.

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