I applaud NHL Referee Dave Newell for having the guts to take definitive action in the form of a 20-game suspension of Chicago Black Hawk Tom Lysiak to help curb the spread of violence in the league (Uproar Over an Upending, Nov. 14). Violence doesn't belong in the NHL or in any other professional sport. If players insist on abusing officials and opponents, then they should have to pay the price. After all, in most occupations, behavior such as Lysiak's would not be tolerated and probably would result in the offender losing his job.
JUNE E. COOLEY
San Jose, Calif.
There can be no question that Tom Lysiak's punishment was fair and justifiable. If the referees are not protected from the attacks of players, the game will surely degenerate to an even lower level of violence. The officials do occasionally make mistakes, and perhaps Linesman Ron Foyt was mistaken in throwing Lysiak out of the face-off circle. However, that does not justify Lysiak's reaction. Players have to get used to the idea that the referee's word goes and that evaluation of referees should be left to the league, not to the individual whims of hot-headed players. How would Lysiak feel if players were paid on the same level as the refs and also subjected to physical abuse from fans each time they muffed a play?
As a resident of the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Ill., I saw televised highlights of Tom Lysiak tripping Linesman Ron Foyt before you printed your article. I agree with Bob Verdi and Jerry Kirshenbaum on two things: The tripping was intentional and it deserved punishment. But not suspension for 20 games as called for by the NHL rule book. Lysiak is a fine hockey player, one of my favorites on the Black Hawks. I always believed he had great self-control and good judgment, and I still do. It is very frustrating for any center to get kicked out of as many face-offs as Lysiak was that night. He should be punished, and I don't know what a fair punishment would be, but 20 games is just too much.
In response to Anthony Cotton's article When Push Comes to Shove in (he NBA (Nov. 14), I feel that with the regular referees locked out, it would be best to alter the name of the game to basketbrawl. There is no such thing as a slight altercation in this game. To be struck by one of the Goliaths of the NBA must be similar to being in a head-on collison with an Amtrak train. I sincerely hope that if and when an agreement is negotiated with the "real" referees, the brutality of today's NBA will diminish.
Chevy Chase, Md.
Anthony Cotton did a fine job in pointing out the stupid little mistakes that have been made by the substitute refs. He showed just how much the regular refs do and how much the NBA needs them.
De Motte, Ind.
I disagree with Anthony Cotton's conclusion that recent NBA fights are being caused by the use of substitute referees. The regular referees were working when Kermit Washington rearranged the face of Rudy Tomjanovich, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar decked Kent Benson, when Tree Rollins took a bite out of Danny Ainge's hand and when Willis Reed took on the entire Los Angeles Laker bench. The list could go on and on.
JOHN B. WOLF
South River, N.J.
Thanks to Curry Kirkpatrick for the fantastic article on the World Mixed Doubles tennis championship (A Totally Mixed-Up Affair, Nov. 14). I was interested in the event because I had heard that Chris Evert Lloyd and Jimmy Connors would be starring. However, it was hardly covered by our local media. Thanks for taking me there!
STEVEN G. WINKLER
While giving us an informative synopsis of the mixed doubles championship, Curry Kirkpatrick revealed his sense of humor in his analytical-satirical approach. Rarely have I laughed harder at any sports-related writing.
Curry Kirkpatrick's story on the doubles championship was an example of smart-aleck writing at its worst.
E.M. Swift's article on the superb Soviet goalie, Vladislav Tretiak (An Army Man to the Core, Nov. 14), was another fine piece of SI journalism. Our political and athletic relationship with the U.S.S.R. may not be the best, but I have to admit that Tretiak is probably the best goalie ever. Tretiak is also quite a man, with many accomplishments and, most likely, more to come. Let's just keep him from winning the gold this winter.
Mount Prospect, Ill.