My heartiest congratulations to you and Clive Gammon for the timely and extremely well-written article on the Danes' scourge of the Atlantic salmon (The Danes Scourge the Seas, Dec. 15).
As you know, the subject matter of this article is really not news to anyone who, for some time, has been interested in the fate of the Atlantic salmon. What is most important, however, is that you and Mr. Gammon have now very ably presented the case to the vast majority of the reading sportsmen of this country and, hopefully, to the reading and thinking sportsmen of the entire world. Hopefully this will result in an aroused public opinion that will force the Danes to abandon what can only be described as a most selfish policy. Such does not really seem to be their nature, but now is the time for them to publicly display a great deal more statesmanship in this matter than has heretofore been observed.
It may be of interest to you to know that I have fished the Alta River in Norway for the past two summers. The take there has been down from that of previous years and, almost without exception, the salmon taken by us evidenced, in varying degrees, successful encounters with the nets. It makes one wonder just how many of these great fish were not so successful.
I greatly applaud Clive Gammon. He has brought to light one of the worst conservation scandals, one that rivals the mass slaughter of ducks and geese by market hunters in the early part of this century.
Although the Danes seem very self-righteous, they are still destroying one of the best game fish known and don't seem to care as long as they make a profit. It seems they will go on doing this indefinitely, since no real pressure will be brought to bear. After all, the only country in the world that listens to protests and keeps its agreements is the United States.
JOHN S. ZIELINSKI
SEE NO EVIL
You had an excellent article in the Dec. 22 issue on the effects of television on sports (TV Made It All a New Game). I was particularly interested in your views on boxing. Although I am not old enough to remember the days of saturation telecasting of boxing, I realize how intense coverage could kill the sport. However, I don't agree that a fight of the week should not be televised now.
In televised fights only the top fighters are seen. Your theory is that this would cause people to avoid going to see local fighters of lesser stature, and thus the talent pools for boxing would dry up. But has television done this to other sports? College football and basketball draw huge crowds. Most teams play seasons close to .500, yet people still go to their games, even though games like Arkansas-Texas or UCLA-Purdue are televised. Saturation coverage of pro football has certainly not hurt attendance at any level.
My point is that seeing the best play on television has enhanced, not hurt, the popularity of those sports. A fan in Los Angeles is familiar with most of the players on the East Coast, yet this does not stop him from supporting his home teams. Yet in boxing, where usually only the top heavyweights are seen on television, the average sports fan can probably name only a handful of the present champions, if any.
A sport is hurt at all levels when its best players are kept from the public.
Your end-of-the-decade issue (Dec. 22) recalled many truly memorable events in the sports world and also some of the light-hearted moments, but the real knee-slapping belly laugh was not in the picture section but in your quote of John Fetzer that today's young pro football fans are going to turn to baseball when they get a little older because baseball is more of a thinking man's game.