Bob Cousy's remarks last week on the Cincinnati basketball situation sounded more like a comment on the times than a defense of his position (he has been derided for trading away the Royals' two biggest stars, Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas, especially since his revamped team has not been winning). Cousy was a prime force behind the establishment of the NBA Players' Association in 1953 and once threatened to strike the All-Star Game, but he is harshly critical of the high-salary, no-cut, no-trade position so many players now have. "The reason we did not get fair value for Robertson and Lucas, as it now appears," Cousy said, "is because they could tell us which teams they were willing to be traded to. Contracts today are ludicrous. The players should get as much as they can, but when it reaches a point where it harms the game it's time to take a stand.
"Give the players all the money they deserve, but don't guarantee it. Don't tell them they don't have to work for it. When you eliminate motivation, you eliminate competition, you eliminate accomplishment. I read where Lucas has lost a lot of weight and is really playing great for San Francisco. What was he doing the last nine years—before he went bankrupt?"
Used to be that the referee assigned to an NFL game carried his own blank pistol with him. Since hijacking became an international sport, carrying guns—even blank pistols—onto airplanes has become very, very unpopular. So the NFL has supplied each team with its own gun, and referees fly to their assignments weaponless.
The problems of snowmobiles (SI, March 16) continue to come in for serious discussion. At the Third Annual Snowmobile Congress, held this October in Portland, Me., Polaris of Textron Inc. announced that for the average consumer it would no longer make snow-sleds with engines larger than 488 cc. This means a top speed of no more than 50 mph, though Polaris said it would continue to make faster snowmobiles for racing. Other companies have not imposed such limits—Polaris made its decision some months ago, and it would take other companies too long to retool, even if they wanted to—but they will be watching closely to see whether limited power is the start of a trend. Herbert Graves, president of Polaris, said a new Massachusetts law on permissible decibels of noise "could put snowmobiling in that state out of business." The Massachusetts law sets the noise limit at 72 decibels, about the level of a noisy sewing machine. "They're passing legislation faster than we manufacturers can develop the methods of production needed under such legislation," Graves commented.
Despite such warnings, the snowmobile industry is still booming. (Valcourt, Quebec, for instance, where Ski-Doos are manufactured, has tripled its population in the past five years and is basking in new-found prosperity.) Some economists caution that the pattern may be similar to that of outboard motors, where sales soared and then fell off drastically. Right now, though, despite opposition rising from injuries, noise and damage to the environment, snowmobiles continue to be bullish.
Cotton Fitzsimmons, who left college coaching at Kansas State to take over the Phoenix Suns in the NBA, does not completely agree with critics who say all the action in pro basketball is packed into the final couple of minutes. But he does indicate that there is a difference between college ball and the pros. In the NBA, implies Fitzsimmons, it goes something like this:
First quarter: the veterans warm up—after what may have been a transcontinental flight—and sort of visit with each other.