THE ARMSTRONG REPORT
Attorney Michael Armstrong, retained by ABC to investigate the stench surrounding promoter Don King's U.S. Championship Boxing Tournament (SI, May 2), has turned in his report. The key findings of the 327-page document, as summarized by the network, are:
?The tournament, suspended by ABC, should not be continued as structured.
?Although no conduct in connection with the tournament warrants criminal prosecution, there was "a good deal of unethical behavior by individuals involved with the administration and organization of the tournament."
?None of the fights was "fixed," although in several cases there are grounds to suspect that Ring magazine's ratings of participants or alternates were "improperly or unduly influenced." The Armstrong report notes: "The most disturbing action by King for which we were able to acquire direct evidence of personal involvement was his clearly improper payment of $5,000 to John Ort (associate editor of Ring magazine), which seriously compromised the integrity of the selection process."
?No one at ABC was guilty of misconduct or impropriety, but Armstrong, pursuant to his retention agreement with the network, "refrained from making any judgment, one way or the other, as to whether ABC can be charged with any simple negligence or questionable business judgments."
?The "tournament was disorganized in several material respects and was, on the whole, poorly administered. The responsibility for the failure of [Don King Productions] to assemble the proper staff must rest with King. [He] clearly did not pay sufficient attention to the supervision of his associates."
Michael Armstrong has an excellent reputation as an investigator and attorney. We tend to wonder, however, whether the full story of King's role in this tournament—and boxing—could be laid bare by an investigator who lacked the power to subpoena documents or to compel testimony under oath. One hopes that the full story will come out as the result of a U.S. grand jury probe in Baltimore, or in an impending congressional investigation into the relationship between sports and television.
A "beep" baseball game played with electronic sounders between blind teams from Sioux Falls, S. Dak. and Minneapolis was called last week because of darkness. The umpires and the pitchers, who had normal vision, couldn't see.