SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
December 15, 1975
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December 15, 1975


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Our spies say: Very possible.

Rumor: Joe Namath will retire as a player and replace Alex Karras on ABC-TV's Monday Night Football.

Our spies say: If the money can be worked out, probably. Namath was first choice to take over for Don Meredith.

Rumor: Oklahoma's Leroy Selmon, the renowned defensive lineman, and California's Chuck Muncie, the all-purpose back, will be the first two collegians selected in the NFL draft.

Our spies say: Absolutely, if Tampa and Seattle are as smart as the rest of the league.


Philanthropy, historically, is the offspring of great wealth. It is refreshing to note then, that as the salaries of professional athletes have increased, so, too, has their generosity—of a few, anyway. Notable among these is Muhammad Ali. In New York to promote his new book, Ali heard on an evening TV newscast that the city's Hillside Aged Program was to be closed for lack of money. Hillside serves elderly people, including Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution during and before World War II, but the inflation-recession bind had Hillside on the ropes—until Ali appeared the morning after the newscast.

"I understand you need a lot of money to stay open," he said. "I'll give it to you." He pledged $100,000, and Hillside's directors announced later in the day that the center would remain open indefinitely. Ali stayed for an hour or so, chatting with the old folks and kissing the ladies on the cheek. His visit to the home had been spontaneous, and reporters did not hear about it until after he had gone. Asked later to explain, Ali said, "You just don't announce things like that. They're not for publicity. Service to others is the rent I pay for my room here on earth."


Those who saw the 1972 U.S. men's Olympic Track and Field Trials at Eugene, Ore. will remember a bizarre aspect of that scene: the campus at the University of Oregon resembled a refugee camp. Most of the 500 athletes who were competing had paid their own way to the Trials (many had hitchhiked) and a great number of them were scrounging around for sleeping places anywhere, even on floors in the dormitories.

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