QUESTIONS OF CONSCIENCE
By announcing Chip Oliver's departure from the world of reality (Wow, Like Let's Really Try to Win, Oct. 12) to a world of hollow-eyed, aimless existence, you have betrayed many of us concerned parents. Athletics and especially football have taught us all at least some of the meanings of team spirit, a desire to win and an ability to lose, and yet they are now reviled by many of our misdirected youths. As, hopefully, one of the last strongholds for athletics, SI should report Oliver's sad downfall for what it is. You should not accept it in every detail but, rather, decry the fact that the times that are upon us would allow a young man with so much potential to be content with slinging imitation hamburgers for a livelihood.
JAY G. SELLE, M.D.
I thank SI for being progressive enough to print such a controversial antifootball article, and I'd like to personally thank Chip Oliver for being a beautiful person. It takes a lot of guts to turn down all the money he was making for the difficult communal life he converted to. It's very reassuring to see that there are still people in this world who value such lofty ideals as happiness and helping others over materialistic gain. Chip Oliver has not only proven himself to be a fine football player but, more importantly, a fine human being. I only wish there were more people like him. Reading the article gave me an emotional lift.
J. ANTHONY TUHUS
St. Petersburg, Fla.
I am a pro-Agnew fanatic, but I am not so bigoted as to completely regard Chip Oliver's feelings as some radical nonsense. In fact, I have to admit that Mr. Oliver is a very unselfish gentleman. He realizes that materialism is what is hurting many people in this country, and he has rejected this way of life even though he can afford it. But I cannot see why he quit football. Just think what he could do with his $25,000 a year! His commune may not need it, but what about the United Fund or the American Cancer Society or pollution control? No doubt these interests would welcome Oliver's $25,000, and I am pretty sure that any organization that saves lives is acceptable to any political view. Chip should be reminded that his salary at Oakland is now being used on new cars, $200 wardrobes and $70,000 houses.
Oliver could help both his cause and other people if he came back to football. Publicity is assured him because he is a performer in one of the most publicized sports ever. He would be using a good game for a great purpose. And football needs real people: actual individuals. Not just football players.
Blaine Newnham's article on Chip Oliver clearly indicates that the former Oakland Raider linebacker really doesn't know what life and football are all about. "I'm no quitter," Oliver says, but what do you call a man considered one of the finest young prospects in pro football who quits the game in the prime of his career? Oliver also claims that the professional game "isn't as tough as the game we played in college." Yet, everyone knows that only the meanest and toughest of college performers have a chance in pro ball, and only a small minority of these players cut the mustard in the big time.
Finally, Oliver comments that the blow that convinced him to quit football was a forearm he received in the middle of his back during a Raider practice session. We are all so sorry, Chip, that you got hit while you weren't looking. What a pity! That is what football is all about, hitting and getting hit. Only the toughest survive, and it is obvious that Chip Oliver did not survive.
I must congratulate SI for listening to Chip Oliver even though his views do not coincide with the views of the majority of athletes or, for that matter, the majority of people in this country. Thoreau once said, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer." Maybe we all should try to listen a little more carefully. We could start by facing each other rather than the television set on Sunday afternoons.
JEFFREY A. GLINER
Bowling Green, Ohio
I have been waiting since Armageddon for a Pennant Race (Aug. 5, 1968) for another Mark Kram baseball story, and finally you have printed one—about Baltimore (Discord Defied and Deified, Oct. 5). It was beautiful. Thank you.
Aside from Frank and Brooks of the Orioles, another couple that should be inseparable is Mark Kram and Baltimore. In his Oct. 5 story on the Robinsons we recognize again the familiar milieu ("Only the ordinary go the distance in Baltimore") that we first met in Kram's Oct. 10, 1966 masterpiece, A Wink at a Homely Girl.
Baltimore may be a singles hitter's town, but Kram certainly hits a ton in Maryland.
GEORGE A. SHEEHAN, M.D.
Red Bank, N.J.