SI Vault
Edited by Gay Flood
August 23, 1982
USF AND QUINTIN DAILEY Sir:What a banner year for SI! Your coverage of the seasonal sports has been fantastic, most notably this baseball season, and then there have been your blockbuster special reports—on Don Reese and cocaine in the NFL ("I'm Not Worth a Damn," June 14) and on the University of San Francisco and Quintin Dailey (Bringing Down the Curtain, Aug. 9)—your two best sports journalism pieces in recent memory. Please continue the high quality and fine writing you have brought us this year. It's nice to read the inside story, even if it hurts a little.MATTHEW FASANGTroy, Mich.
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August 23, 1982

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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•SI's photographer shot a large number of pictures of Dailey in his apartment, and in every pose in which he was holding a book, the position of his fingers was the same. SI concluded it was natural, not intentional.—ED.

Some of the statements made in Douglas S. Looney's article (A Test with Nothing but Tough Questions, Aug. 9) on the possible use of urinalysis to determine drug usage in the NFL left me sick to my stomach! How dare Players Association President Gene Upshaw say that urinalysis "is an insult to [the players'] integrity"? The only insult is to the integrity of the game! Almost daily I pick up the newspaper and see that another player has admitted to a "chemical dependency."

In the U.S. Air Force, spot checks by urinalysis for drug usage are mandatory to insure the integrity of our national defense system. As a member of the Air Force it has never occurred to me that my "rights of privacy" have been violated. As Greg Pruitt so aptly put it, "If you've got nothing to hide, why worry about urinalysis?"

Rather than worry about the tests, the players should worry about the image they project to our young people.
Sergeant, USAF

George Rogers, last year's leading rusher in the NFL, reportedly admitted to having spent $10,000 last year on cocaine. Rogers claims he was a recreational user of the substance. Well, that figure comes so close to my total take-home pay for 1981 it's revolting! That is an insult to my integrity and the integrity of every other sports fan who works his tail off just to see his favorite team once or twice a season, only to be rewarded by less than 100% performance because one or more players on the field abuse this drug or another.

The vital question isn't so much who should do what about athletes who abuse drugs, but what constitutes abuse. Does urinalysis detect abusive levels as opposed to non-abusive? It appears that the article, indeed the entire controversy, assumes that the detection of a drug in an athlete's urine brands that athlete as an abuser. Perhaps the various leagues, players' associations and SI should address that question.
St. Louis

The Legal Action Center is a not-for-profit public interest law firm that specializes in areas of law concerning the employment rights of current and former substance abusers. From our experience, we wish to make two points. First, although the most sophisticated urine tests are quite accurate, mistakes can happen. Urine samples can be mislabeled or switched, and occasionally the test reports a "false positive" even though, the subject took no drugs. It is thus unwise to conclude that a person abused a drug solely on the basis of a urinalysis without examining other evidence.

Second, current medical evidence indicates that alcohol and drug abuse are diseases that need treatment, and that many abusers are unable to stop without professional help. The primary goal of any urine testing of athletes should thus be to identify those persons in need of treatment, with the test results and treatment kept confidential to protect the individual's privacy and to encourage others to come forward for help.

Abuse of drugs and alcohol is one of the gravest health problems in this country. We applaud your efforts to focus public attention on the seriousness of this issue and on the urgent need for providing treatment opportunities to those suffering from substance abuse.
Staff Attorney
Legal Action Center
New York City

Your article about America's Team II (Not Home Free Yet, Aug. 9) perfectly expressed how I feel about the Atlanta Braves and Ted Turner's SuperStation WTBS. Before WTBS, the only time I could see a game was on weekends or on Monday night. Now I can watch almost every game the Braves play.
Aiken, S.C.

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