A QUESTION OF INDEPENDENCE
The U.S. Olympic Committee has stirred up a hornet's nest by censuring Julian K. Roosevelt, one of two Americans on the 88-member International Olympic Committee and a member of the IOC's executive board. F. Don Miller, the USOC's executive director, said the USOC executive board took the action earlier this month because Roosevelt, who's also a member of that board, had missed too many USOC meetings and because of dissatisfaction over "his lack of support for the policies of the USOC." USOC President William E. Simon said Roosevelt had "repeatedly voted in the IOC counter to the USOC stance, and that's absolutely wrong."
Roosevelt, 59, an Oyster Bay, N.Y. yachtsman and semiretired investment banker who was elected to the IOC in 1974, has been wrongheaded on many issues; for example, he has adopted a Neanderthal position in opposing Simon's efforts to liberalize Olympic eligibility rules. But some USOC executive board members accuse Simon and Miller of railroading the censure through and of not giving Roosevelt, who wasn't present, a chance to respond to the charges against him. "Absolutely nobody knew what was going on in that meeting," says Jim Moriarty, who has just resigned as both a USOC executive board member and chairman of the U.S. Luge Association. "Members of the board tremble at the sight of Simon and Miller."
In moving to "disassociate" itself from Roosevelt, as the censure resolution formally put it, the USOC was flouting IOC rules. For one thing, the charter says that IOC members are automatically members of their national committees' executive boards, which means that the USOC can't disassociate itself from him. The charter also specifies that IOC members represent that organization in their countries, not the other way around, and that they must remain free of "political influence" and vote their consciences. Simon dismisses that as too idealistic and argues that Soviet IOC members exercise no such independence, to which Harold O. Zimman, another USOC executive board member, offers the perfect squelch: "Well, we aren't the Russians." Roosevelt says simply, "I vote for what is right." As for his failure to attend USOC meetings, he explains that the meetings often conflicted with trips he had to make on IOC business.
Simon and Miller had been especially unhappy about Roosevelt's role in a dispute over press credentials at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo for Radio Free Europe, the U.S. Government-funded station that broadcasts to Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union denounces Radio Free Europe as "subversive" and bitterly opposes its accreditation for the Olympics. For its part, the IOC has expressed concern about the great number of �migr�s on Radio Free Europe's staff and the fact that unlike other government-funded stations, such as the BBC and Radio Moscow, it doesn't transmit programming to its own country. After the IOC balked at issuing the 11 press credentials that Radio Free Europe had requested for Sarajevo, Miller and the IOC worked out a compromise that accredited only the four people on the station's list who were U.S. citizens and one British employee. Six other staffers, none of whom had U.S. passports, were denied accreditation. Roosevelt joined with other IOC executive board members in voting for the compromise. But after Radio Free Europe, complaining that it was being singled out for political reasons, rejected the compromise, Roosevelt and his IOC confreres voted to grant the station no credentials at all.
Radio Free Europe was right in accusing the IOC of playing politics; in placing restrictions on the station, the IOC was plainly bowing to pressure from Soviet-bloc countries. But it also happens that in the U.S. scheme of things, Radio Free Europe, no matter how objective its broadcasts may be, is an instrument of foreign policy rather than an autonomous journalistic organization; the fact that it's entirely funded by Congress deprives it of the independence from government considered essential under the American concept of a free press. Be all that as it may, Simon and Miller are wrong in intimating that Roosevelt was somehow responsible for Radio Free Europe's being shut out of Sarajevo (they claim, and Roosevelt denies, that he told the IOC board that the station was "an intelligence tool" of the U.S. Government). Roosevelt, after all, did vote for the compromise that Miller had worked out with the IOC.
It's hard to figure out what Roosevelt's censure was meant to accomplish. Simon and Miller are unhappy about the U.S.'s lack of clout in the Olympic movement, but taking an action that can be construed as blatantly meddling in IOC affairs won't improve that situation. Nor will it strengthen Radio Free Europe's case at a time when the Soviets are already making a fuss about the station's accreditation for the Summer Olympics. What it does do, as an opponent of the censure, William H. Lynn, a USOC executive board member and vice-president of the U.S. Yacht Racing Union, bluntly puts it, is "make us look stupid in the eyes of the world."
HOME AND AWAY
When the New York Jets decided to move, starting next season, from Shea Stadium in Queens to Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., they knew they were venturing into enemy territory. Nevertheless, the Jets made like the Giants and quickly sold out all their '84 home dates in the 76,891-seat facility. That includes a Dec. 2 game against the Giants in which the Jets are officially the home team, a designation that puts the Giants in the curious position of playing an away game in Giants Stadium.
"It will be strange," says Ed Croke, the Giants' director of media services. "I guess we'll have to wear our white jerseys." An even bigger adjustment for the Giants is the fact that they'll be playing before a houseful of Jets fans, with Giants season-ticket holders reduced to watching on TV.