If you were wondering why the jury seemed so hopelessly confused last week during the Al Davis-Pete Rozelle trial (at one point, after eight days of deliberations, the jury foreman [a woman] reported that so far they had discussed only one of the three key issues), read part of Judge Harry Pregerson's clarification of his original 52 pages of instructions to the jurors:
"As you remember from the instructions I read to you last week and on Tuesday, plaintiffs must persuade you that every essential element of their claims is more probably true than false. This simply means that each of you must be convinced or satisfied that a certain situation is more likely true than false. When you stop to think about it, all of us in our daily lives are faced with decisions that require us to consider probabilities. Let's say you want to catch a park-and-ride bus that will get you downtown by 8:00 a.m. You know that the distance to downtown from the terminal is 30 miles. You know that it's summertime and traffic is somewhat lighter because people are on vacation. You know that the weather is clear and dry. So you would figure that it is more probable than not that you'll make it downtown by 8:00 a.m. On the other hand, if it is raining, and if, as you leave, you hear the radio newscaster announce a sig alert on the freeway, you would decide that it is more likely or more probable that you won't make it on time. This is the same mental process a person goes through in deciding whether, based on the evidence presented in court, some fact or situation is more likely true than false. It is a matter of coming to a decision based on probabilities. If it's more probably true that something happened than that it did not happen, you would find that it happened by a preponderance of the evidence—even if in your mind the probabilities or odds of it happening are 51% yes, 49% no. If, on the other hand, the probabilities are 51% no and 49% yes of something happening—or even 50-50—then you could not conclude that the situation in question happened by a preponderance of the evidence."
All clear? Next case.
It was a singular achievement when North Carolina State distance runner Julie Shea was named the AIAW's top athlete for 1979-80. After all, the three previous winners of the award, Delta State's Lusia Harris, UCLA's Ann Meyers and Old Dominion's Nancy Lieberman, were all basketball players. In winning the Broderick Cup as a junior, Shea was honored for finishing first in 16 races, including AIAW championships in cross-country and 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
In 1980 Shea became the first woman to win the McKevlin award, bestowed annually on the Atlantic Coast Conference's outstanding athlete. "Who has won more races this year than Renaldo Nehemiah, Genuine Risk and Richard Petty combined?" North Carolina State's sports information office teased in its campaign for Shea, who proceeded to finish ahead of two basketball players, Maryland's Albert King and Duke's Mike Gminski, in the balloting by the predominantly male Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Association. Then came 1980-81, during which Shea repeated as AIAW cross-country champion, won the 5,000 for the third straight year and placed fourth among women runners in the Boston Marathon. Only two other athletes—basketball players David Thompson of North Carolina State in '73 and '75 and Phil Ford of North Carolina in '77 and '78—had ever won the McKevlin award more than once. This year Shea became the third, this time beating out North Carolina Linebacker Lawrence Taylor and Virginia basketball star Ralph Sampson. As she had the year before, Shea said she was "stunned" at out-polling rivals she refers to, chummily, as "the guys."
Here's a letter sent recently to the Cincinnati Reds' Johnny Bench:
Dear Mr. Bench:
My name is David Greenbaum. I am 10 years old. I am writing to you because you are my favorite player since I was born. I am also writing to you for a very big favor. The favor is that on December 4, 1983 I am having my Bar-Mitzvah. A Bar-Mitzvah is a big party for Jews on their 13th birthday. I would love if you could come. Since you are not Jewish and don't know Hebrew you could stay out of the synagogue if you want.
P.S. Please give me your autograph.