Since SI prides itself on the accuracy of its reporting, and since TV is often unjustly accused on the role it plays in the conduct of various sporting events, all of the above is to set the record straight.
FRANK D. SELKE
Director, Marketing and Promotion
Hockey Night in Canada
FOR SPORTS SAKE (CONT.)
I wish to respond to your glib denunciation of India's recent refusal to play South Africa in the Davis Cup finals (SCORECARD, Oct. 14). "Sport and politics should not mix" is a noble sentiment, but over and over again its practical application has meant the support of a usually elitist or repressive status quo against athletes and others struggling for greater freedom and opportunity. South African sport is a case in point.
You suggest that if taken to its logical conclusion, the South African boycott means that capitalists would not play Communists, Catholics would not play Protestants and so on. India has refused to play South Africa not because of different class or religious characteristics, but because of something more basic: the rights of man. In South Africa, black, "colored" and Asian athletes are prohibited by law from competing against whites in all domestic competitions. Whatever their records in practice, both capitalist and Communist regimes, Catholic and Protestant, support the principle of equal opportunity regardless of racial origin. It's a crucial difference.
You suggest that change will more likely-come about through tours by prominent black athletes. But what little change has come about there has come about as a result of boycotts such as India's, not cooperative tours like Arthur Ashe's.
The great joy in sport is in the doing, and so it's never easy for athletes to withdraw from competition, particularly one with the challenge and prestige of the Davis Cup. But sport is also a code of ethics, depending for its survival upon a carefully elaborated set of rules mutually determined and respected by the participants themselves. Sport ceases to be sport when we enter competitions against those who deny the opportunity of sportsmanship to others.
I am a member of a group of Canadian athletes that is trying to convince sports-governing bodies not to grant international permits for Canadian athletes to compete in South Africa until such time as all domestic South African sport is completely integrated. The principled stand of the Indian tennis players is an example for us all.
A few weeks ago on Sunday afternoon late in the first half I turned on my television to watch Sonny Jurgensen do his thing. He did not disappoint me—completing three straight passes for a touchdown with seconds to spare. Three perfectly executed plays.
Then, to my horror, a rather unattractive (to me) nasal female voice, obviously one of the so-called "color men," uttered the following timeworn clich�, "They always say that there is no defense against a perfect pass." Frankly, this completely spoiled what could have been a very pleasant afternoon.
In the first place, although I think that women should be permitted out of the kitchen, I see no reason for them cluttering up a sport like football. In fact, CBS is outstanding in seeming to forget that television is a picture and that the days of Graham Crackers and radio are over, and that the viewing audience needs little, if any, motor mouth from so-called experts explaining the obvious.
It has been bad enough to suffer through uninformed announcers and commentators in golf, at which CBS is outstandingly bad, but now we get a woman covering football. What next?
ROBERT C. FISHER