SI Vault
Edited by Steve Wulf
February 11, 1991
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February 11, 1991


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War Fare
The WWF capitalizes on the gulf conflict

Some people in sports are taking advantage of the war in the Persian Gulf. For instance, there was an ad in the sports section of Sunday's New York Times for Saddam Hussein-imprinted golf balls (ENJOY DRIVING THAT FACE 300 YARDS). Even more shameless is the war-related hucksterism found in the matches staged by the World Wrestling Federation.

Sgt. Slaughter, the drill instructor and former good guy, has become a bad guy and an Iraqi sympathizer. His manager-henchman is a Saddam Hussein look-alike named General Adnan. Responding to criticism of this war profiteering, Steve Planamenta, a spokesman for WWF promoter Vince McMahon, said, "People are blowing this thing out of proportion. It's true that five weeks ago we were playing up the Iraqi angle, but as the world scene changed, we have changed also." Planamenta, who was speaking just before the airing last Friday night of NBC's pretaped prime-time wrestling special, added, "There will be no mention of Iraq tonight. I hope you see that it was done in good taste."

Although there was no mention of Iraq by name in the NBC event, Slaughter clearly identified himself with the Iraqi cause when he dared the TV audience to "form coalitions to stop me." Accompanied by General Adnan, Slaughter pummeled Hacksaw Jim Duggan with a two-by-four, a metal folding chair and Adnan's riding crop. Hulk Hogan, who is scheduled to face Slaughter for the WWF title at Wrestlemania VII in March, then helped Duggan to his feet and waved the American flag.

Good taste?


Rocket Launch
Roger Clemens gets off to a new start

Last Saturday, Roger Clemens of the Red Sox returned to the pitcher's mound for the first time since his controversial ejection in the second inning of the fourth game of the 1990 American League Championship Series against the A's. He didn't even make it through the first inning this time, but this early exit was planned. Clemens was one of the starting pitchers in the annual Varsity vs. Alumni game at the University of Texas. He struck out the one batter he faced. "The Rocket was on a one-hitter limit," said Alumni coach Burt Hooton.

Clemens and the 7,000 fans who came to the game also saw 44-year-old Nolan Ryan, whose son Reid is a freshman pitcher for the Longhorns, throw out the first ball. They heard one fan yell to alumnus Billy Bates (a hero of Cincinnati's Game 2 World Series victory because of his lOth-inning dribbler off Dennis Eckersley), "Hey, Bates, get a real hit!"

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