Today's players should take a lesson from a piece of NFL history that was presented on television during the Rose Bowl Parade. In honoring Merlin Olsen as the first former pro football player to be named the parade's grand marshal, NBC showed films of the sort of play that earned him induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Known for his sacking of quarterbacks, Olsen was seen in these clips performing his handiwork without delivering devastating blows. Olsen played with intensity and enthusiasm and yet was a fine example of a sportsman. In his role as a TV commentator, he often speaks out against the unnecessary violence seen too often today.
Before it's too late, Gastineau and his like should reexamine their purpose and style of play. Pro football doesn't need another Darryl Stingley incident. The league and field officials should adopt a tougher stance against those who think late hits are part of the game.
Why did you elevate 12th-ranked tennis player Johan Kriek to star status by featuring him (I'm an Animal Out There, Jan. 17)? To make light of his reprehensible court conduct and present him as a model of a successful superathlete is unworthy of your magazine. As for the classic Kriek Tank—in any other sport, tanking is called throwing the match or fight or game. In my dictionary that's defined as cheating.
It's time to stop glamorizing those whose deportment in athletic contests is deplorable; such publicity only contributes to the delinquency of younger players. With regard to Kriek, the best thing that could be done for him would be to delete him from SI in particular and professional tennis in general.
THE REV. STEPHEN P. APTHORP
Spare us from additional articles on other overpaid, spoiled and otherwise immature athletes. I don't care how many cars and boats Kriek owns; his views on tennis and life in general are shallow, boring and all too familiar. The fact that SI devoted so much space to this overage adolescent is bothersome.
In response to Barry McDermott's enlightening article, I say that although Johan Kriek may not take his tennis quite as seriously as many top players do, anyone with a trio of Porsches is just fine with me.
KEITH AND ELVIS AND FRANK
In his article (He Ain't a Hound Dog, Jan. 17), Rick Telander intimates that Keith Lee has replaced Elvis Presley as Memphis' favorite son. While I'm sure Lee is an excellent basketball player, I find it difficult to believe that the people of Memphis are ready to "put a statue of Lee down on Beale Street, next to the one of Elvis." Presley was at the top of his game for more than 20 years. Lee should be so lucky. And Telander should be ashamed.
I find it ironic that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, a publication that always seems to be beating its breast about recruiting ethics, academic standards, NCAA rules enforcement, etc., would print an article that contains several paragraphs implying that there is something wrong about turning cheaters in. In an otherwise excellent story about Keith Lee, Rick Telander portrays Frank Broyles of the University of Arkansas as some sort of "heavy" for informing the NCAA of rule violations by Arkansas State concerning the recruitment of Lee and other athletes.
So what's wrong with that? Since Broyles came to Arkansas in the late '50s, the Razor-backs have never been placed on probation, and that includes the programs of Lou Holtz, who succeeded Broyles as football coach, and Basketball Coach Eddie Sutton, whom Broyles now supervises as athletic director. Compare that record with those of some neighboring schools (Wichita State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU) with whom Arkansas frequently competes for recruits. If you're trying to run a clean program and your competition cheats, it's only logical that you either have to try to curb their abuses or resort to cheating yourself if you want to stay competitive.
Also, Telander conveniently leaves out a few things that perhaps readers should be reminded of: 1) It was the NCAA, not Broyles, that put Arkansas State on probation; 2) after an investigation of its own, the Southland Conference also hit Arkansas State with sanctions; and 3) in 1978, the year of Arkansas' only trip to basketball's Final Four, Broyles temporarily suspended Razorback standout Marvin Delph and asked for an NCAA investigation of the Arkansas program concerning, not an action of Delph or Sutton, but a fund-raising drive sponsored by civic leaders in Delph's hometown for the purpose of sending his parents to the site of the Western Regionals. A quick inquiry cleared the matter up and Delph proved to be instrumental in helping the Hogs achieve a third-place finish. To be so near to every program's goal and then risk it all by inviting the NCAA into your front door rather than looking the other way seems to me to be a mark of a man with integrity.