Douglas S. Looney's treatment of Billy Cannon's story is an example of our inability to let go of a hero. A person's athletic ability is separate from his or her morality. Yet time and again, when a sports figure lets us down by going afoul of our laws and mores, we find it hard to comprehend. Somehow we are unable to relate that to the legend. When a bad kid from the inner city gets into trouble with the law. we don't stop to interview his friends to ask why. We just treat him as a common criminal. From reading the article, I gather that Cannon is just a common criminal.
It was a distinct pleasure to read Terry Todd's well-written article on Bill Pearl (Pearl Is a Rare Old Gem, July 18). Unfortunately, photographs fail to do Pearl justice. Those people who have been fortunate enough to see him in the flesh are inevitably astounded by his massive yet superbly proportioned development. Those of us who have been even more fortunate to know Bill as a person are just as inevitably impressed with the inner man. He is a person of integrity, humility, honesty and compassion, a gentle philosopher encased in the body of Hercules. The mold hasn't been broken, it's just awfully hard to fill.
Bay Saint Louis, Miss.
Bill Pearl is living proof of the benefits of progressive weight training and, more important, an excellent example of the rewards that hard work, discipline and determination bring. There are few people in any endeavor, athletic or otherwise, who possess these qualities to the degree Pearl does. It is unfortunate that there are not more individuals in the sporting world like him. He is a hero for our younger generation to look up to and an inspiration to those of us who are older.
Terry Todd emphasized that the 52-year-old Bill Pearl is youthful looking and compared him to middle-aged runners, "who sometimes appear to be older than their years."
As a Masters competitor, I feel this is a totally subjective judgment. For every female who thinks brawny weightlifters are gorgeous, there are others who think sleek runners are just as appealing. I would love to see a study comparing the aging factors of runners vs. those of weightlifters. Anyway, lots of runners today, myself included, lift weights, too. Many middle-aged runners have good body strength, yet aren't muscle-bound.
Walnut Creek, Calif.
THE SYDNEY MAREE STORY (CONT.)
My husband and I are charter subscribers, and Gary Smith's article on Sydney Maree (He Ran, but Knew Not Why, July 18) was worth the entire investment. Smith's statements, his style and evident caring for other human beings are important to me and must have been for countless others who read his piece.
MARJORIE C. GEISLER
So Friedemann Stut attributes Sydney Maree's discipline to some Caucasian ancestor—conveniently ignoring countless generations of black ancestry as well as the dedication, determination and. will of the athlete himself. Surely this is a new standard for racial arrogance. But no; apparently it is the norm among most South African whites, and all of their attempts to curry or purchase favor abroad cannot disguise it. I am white, with no sympathy for Communist governments. But can the average Soviet citizen possibly be worse off than the average South African black?
I congratulate William Taaffe on his article about "trespassing technology" (TV/RADIO, July 18). I've always felt that reporters and TV personnel should keep cameras and microphones out of Indy cars, huddles, etc. I hope those reporters who do intrude read the article and have their eyes opened by it.
Iron River, Mich.
It's about time someone took television sports to task for meddling with the participants in sports events. TV directors should concentrate on the basic task of following the field action.
I agree that no journalistic method should intrude into the contest itself, but let's have the participants decide what constitutes intrusion. They have more to lose. Maybe all this TV stuff has the print journalists a little uneasy. After all, television is giving us access to insights, impressions and views of situations that the print media can only report subsequently and from a controlled environment. Television and sports are live and spontaneous. They belong together.
Culver City, Calif.