You claim that the Springbok tour could cause black African nations to boycott the 1984 Olympics. If a U.S. tour by a South African team is the premise, then those nations could have announced their boycott a long time ago, because during the past year at least three South African teams—the Mbabalas (an all-black side), Hamilton and the Pretoria Harlequins—have toured the U.S.
In addition, during the past 18 months "national" teams composed of the top players from Ireland, Great Britain, France and Argentina toured South Africa and played the Springboks. Touring South Africa is the same "crime" New Zealand committed in 1976, causing the black African nations to boycott the Montreal Olympics.
Finally, a report in New Zealand's Rugby News stated that in the 12-month period ending Aug. 31, 1980 teams from the following 29 countries and territories visited South Africa to compete in "national-level" events in 44 sports categories: Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), the U.S., Japan. Portugal, Belgium, Italy, West Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, England, Transkei, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Scotland, Sweden, Argentina, Norway, Denmark, the British Isles, Venezuela, Luxembourg, Austria, New Zealand, Curaçao, Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands.
What's really puzzling about the mixture of sport and politics, however, is its arbitrary nature—its selective morality. Games between U.S. and South African rugby sides draw severe criticism and veiled threats of disruptions and violence from political activists, but the frequent sporting contact between U.S. national teams and state supported teams from the Soviet Union are ignored by the activists and given 60-point headlines by the media. The same people who rightly decry South Africa's apartheid system turn a blind eye to the stranglehold Russia has on countries like Hungary, Poland and Afghanistan. Also confusing is the ability of certain sectors of our society, such as the gold and diamond markets and strategic metal industries, to openly interact with South Africa with little or no criticism, while political activists choose to bully a non-profit amateur sporting group like rugby. It somehow seems that if money is to be made, anything goes.
As I write this, Frank Sinatra is on a singing tour of South Africa; South African heavyweight contender Gerrie Coetzee is getting ready to fight Renaldo Snipes in Westchester, N.Y.; and Miss South Africa has just recently competed in the Miss Universe contest in New York, in which South Africa's Margaret Gardiner, Miss Universe 1978, served as a commentator. Why, then, is rugby an issue?
We are of the opinion that politics has no place in sport.
New York City
•Last week New York Mayor Edward I. Koch canceled the Springbok game scheduled for that city next month.—ED.
Your article on American cyclist Jonathan (Jacques) Boyer (The Biggest Breakaway, June 29) really piqued my interest in that sport. But how come your follow-up item in FOR THE RECORD (July 27) told us only that his French teammate, Bernard Hinault, won the Tour de France and Lucien Van Impe of Belgium was second? Boyer's name was nowhere to be found. Did he finish? In what place? Or is he still out on the course?
•Boyer was 32nd overall, 59 minutes and 21 seconds behind Hinault.—ED.
In his article on David Renk (EI Texano Comes of Age, July 6) Barnaby Conrad III quotes Pepe Luis Vazquez as "remembering well" my alternativa in Juarez. Vazquez says that he killed one bull for Sidney Franklin, after Franklin was gored, and one for me that I could not kill. Allow me to set the record straight.