SI Vault
August 19, 1968
UNHUNGSirs:Your writer Mark Kram seems to have one gigantic hang-up about Baltimore. And in the process, he seems to have forgotten about Detroit.
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August 19, 1968

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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Perhaps St. Louis Cardinal Coach Drulis should note that it has been said that Vince Lombardi treated all his players in the same manner—like dirt.

This is what I call fairness.
Montclair, N.J.

The country is full of bleeding hearts and do-gooders these days, but bush leaguers still live in flop houses, ride from town to town in rickety transportation and live on hamburgers and coffee, and, somewhere among them, is another Gehrig, Ruth or Robinson—it's part of coming up the ladder. As long as there have been contesting athletes, since the Spartans of old, the soul of the athlete has been tempered by adversity, hard knocks and falls. Let reformation come easily. We've had enough of "Give it to me or I burn it." At least, here's one reader who has.
Oakland, Calif.

I hope your series will lead to reforms to make the Negro athlete's life happier and advance a real equality among races. It must be done. But will reforms follow only a onesided magazine series, or can they also follow an honest, well-balanced series, which makes the bad seem even worse by showing it accurately in contrast to the good?

To me, the word liberal has always meant "free"—a mind free to follow facts and logic to wherever they lead. I feel, however, that you have started with a Liberal conclusion, then worked backward to find the facts and logic that would lead to it. Your series was Liberal but not liberal.
Manassas, Va.

I believe that Negro students should be given social freedom at the schools they attend. I also believe, however, that they must not expect more of the college world, social or otherwise, than of the rest of life. The same can be said for any ethnic or other group. The result is that, if you want true conformity and acceptance, the middle-class product will go to particular schools and the socially prominent to others; whites will go to predominantly white institutions and Negroes to predominantly Negro institutions. If a student wants to break the pattern, he must be advised of the problems he will encounter and then left to his own decision. If a white boy decides to go to a Negro college, let him be prepared for the problems and take the consequences. If a Negro attends a predominantly white college, particularly in the South, it is incomprehensible to me how he could fail to expect to have social problems at the very least. To expect that colleges, or their administrators, are going to rise above the mold simply because they want to use the Negro's athletic ability is expecting more than will be delivered.

May I suggest that Mr. Olsen could do all high school athletes, and perhaps all high school students, a real favor by compiling a list of "beware" or caution points about colleges, college life, etc. that could be used as a checklist by college-bound students who are in need of assistance in determining whether a particular school really meets their requirements, whatever they might be.
Westfield, N.J.

Thank you for the eye-opening series on The Black Athlete. I suggest that we black athletes, as well as the schools, rededicate and redirect our efforts.

Hopefully, soon we will find that we can no longer blame someone or something else for our failures but only ourselves, as our white counterparts must. We will no longer be able to enjoy four years of competition, social life, card playing, snap courses and irresponsibility. Damn!

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