SI Vault
June 23, 1969
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June 23, 1969


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Joe Namath's position is deteriorating. The alleged principles on which he stood seem now to have been largely a matter of expedience. His relations with Mafia types and professional gamblers were not just accidental barroom encounters, as the story on page 24 makes clear, but extended into his home. Perhaps the kindest thing that can be said is that Broadway Joe is beginning to look like Beaver Falls Joe—a country boy taken in by the city slickers. As Bear Bryant told Namath after Pete Rozelle's dictum to sell his share of Bachelors III: "Joe, if these friends of yours really cared about you, they'd make you get out."

In California last week Joe expressed an earnest desire to have another talk with Rozelle. There's a lot to talk about.


For a few moments there it looked as though the ski people had run a play around Avery Brundage. Dispatches from Warsaw, where Brundage's International Olympic Committee held its annual meeting, said that the IOC had endorsed the radical new plan submitted by the F�d�ration Internationale de Ski (FIS). The plan would let the FIS pretty much run its own show as far as amateurism was concerned, and it would include a liberalized system of payments to skiers (SCORECARD, June 2). A stunning defeat for Brundage, the first reports said—Brundage rebuffed.

Well, the IOC did endorse the FIS plan in principle, but there were a couple of curves hidden in the IOC statement (which Marc Hodler, the FIS president, said had been "written in Brundage's own words"). For example, still to be worked out was the final interpretation of "broken time" payments to skiers. The FIS wants broken time to be paid for as long as nine months a year; Olympic rules limit it to one month, and the IOC said at Warsaw that "all national associations [must] work under the same set of all sports." The FIS also proposed that competitive skiers entitled to liberalized payments be "licensed" by their national federations; the IOC said fine, but we will have to approve the terms under which they are licensed.

When it was over, the FIS was sitting there with a plan that had been approved and yet not approved. If it was a victory, it was one that left the skiers pretty much where they were before the battle. And the 82-year-old Brundage, as always, had the last say. In the closing press conference he declared that Articles eight and nine of the FIS eligibility rules (the controversial ones) had been, in effect, rejected. He softened that at the urging of a fellow IOC member but reiterated that the FIS, like other sport federations, must comply with the Olympic rules.

So, if the FIS is to defeat Brundage, the final battle is yet to come.

If you happen to be in Wisconsin this Sunday you might want to attend a sneak preview of the Lew Alcindor- Milwaukee Bucks show. Lew and the Bucks play an intrasquad game—though not in some secluded gym. Instead, they are appearing at the Milwaukee Arena (capacity: 11,138), and tickets are priced at $2 a throw. It will be Alcindor's first public performance since the usually mild-mannered giant allegedly broke Dennis Grey's jaw with one punch in a pickup game in Los Angeles (Grey is suing for $1 million), and there is no telling what kind of a contest it will be. But you can bet that it will set all sorts of attendance and gate-receipt records for a practice game.


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