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19TH HOLE: THE READERS TAKE OVER
Edited by Gay Flood
June 18, 1984
MAGIC AND BIRD Sir:Many thanks to Bruce Newman for his excellent piece on the Laker-Celtic/Magic Johnson-Larry Bird rivalry (Together at Center Stage, June 4). This championship matchup is the best thing to happen in the NBA since these two marvelous players entered the league.
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June 18, 1984

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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As Douglas S. Looney's fine article (He Came Out Picture Perfect, June 4) pointed out, Stefan simply excels. On a typical fall weekend, I saw him as the engineering student in the library on Friday, as the offensive machine on the field on Saturday afternoon and as the gentle giant in church on Sunday. He's an outstanding football player whose absence will be sorely felt this fall. But even more, the people at Michigan will miss a man who has been a role model for all students—those who hit the defensive line and those who just hit the books.
TOM KEANEY
Alexandria, Va.

Sir:
Thank you for an informative and most refreshing article on a great student-athlete, Stefan Humphries. In light of the tremendous pressures placed on today's student-athletes to excel on the field and perform in the classroom while also trying to find time to be normal human beings, one can only admire the young men and women who have the discipline and motivation to achieve such lofty goals. All academic counselors for athletes in our country have enjoyed having good students, but if each of us could hang one sign in our athletes' dressing rooms, it would be a quote from Humphries: AN ATHLETE SHOULD COME TO SCHOOL WITH SOME PRIORITIES IN MIND. HE SHOULD MAKE EDUCATION THE FIRST PRIORITY.
JOE EIVENS
President
National Association of Academic
Advisors for Athletics
Austin, Texas

Sir:
I wish Stefan Humphries well in his football career and, more important, in his medical career. Many people are going to benefit from this fine man's dedication and skills.
BYRON NELSON
San Pedro, Calif.

PHIL NIEKRO'S CONTRIBUTIONS
Sir:
For this Braves baseball follower, the story on Phil Niekro (Knucksie Hasn't Lost His Grip, June 4) by Steve Wulf was a pleasure to read. Many fans can remember the era when Braves baseball stood for two things: Niekro and Hank Aaron. The way Knucksie was released by Atlanta was an embarrassment for the fans. I only hope Phil keeps the knuckleball dancing and keeps winning for the Yankees. His attitude and style during his many years as a Brave have shown us that an athlete can be a winner and a gentleman at the same time. Manager Joe Torre and coach Bob Gibson should take a few lessons.
JEFF AULT
Knoxville, Tenn.

Sir:
In July 1970 I took several kids down to newly opened Riverfront Stadium to see the Reds play the Braves. While most of the players on both teams seemed to ignore kids requesting autographs, I was very impressed that Phil Niekro made it a point to stay and sign until the last kid left. After I read Steve Wulf's excellent story, my mind went back to that July night. It's nice to know that Niekro hasn't changed over the years.
JOHN PETERSON
West Jefferson, Ohio

Sir:
Phil and Joe Niekro often visit their former high school. This past year the athletic booster club received a nice contribution from Phil for a new weight room. At an alumni banquet Phil greeted all of his former classmates. Two years ago, the Braves were in the race for the pennant, and knowing that Phil always wanted to play in a World Series, I wished him luck. His response was, "I hope to win the Series for the Ohio Valley and my dad." These are some of the things that make Phil Niekro a first-class person.
GORDIE LONGSHAW
Teacher
Bridgeport High School
Bridgeport, Ohio

BASEBALL'S DRUG PROBLEM
Sir:
Jim Kaplan's article (Taking Steps to Solve the Drug Dilemma, May 28) on the drug problem in professional baseball was interesting. While some readers may think that these athletes get preferential treatment from the criminal system's courts, as a policeman I can attest that this isn't always the case. Every week I see offenders come to court for drug offenses and many of them never even see a jail cell. The courts bend over backwards to channel these people into every avenue available other than jail. The treatment of athletes isn't the exception but the rule.
FRANK P. MASTERSON
Ewing Township, N.J.

Sir:
Congratulations to Ivan Maisel for so poignantly telling the story of Rod Scurry and for letting other troubled athletes know that guys like Don Robinson are out there waiting to help. When Scurry says, "I love Don Robinson," it reminds me of the story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond that can develop between two athletes. Pro sports and the world need more Don Robinsons.
BRADLEY N. BLAKE
Palo Alto, Calif.

Sir:
Regarding your article on baseball's drug dilemma, Ferguson Jenkins cannot accurately be described as a person who was "convicted" of drug possession and whose record was cleared.

Rather, he was the beneficiary of Section 662.1 of the Canadian Criminal Code, which allows the court, after having found an accused person guilty of certain offenses, to decide not to take the further judicial step of registering a conviction. This avenue can be taken only if the court finds it to be "in the best interests of the accused," and "not contrary to the public interest."

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