Robinson's potential PR value to the Navy as an NBA star far exceeds his worth on any ship. "At this point," said Bill Ackerley, vice-president of the SuperSonics, " David Robinson would be the Number 1 taken in the draft."
A LAPSE IN JUDGMENT
Last week NHL president John Ziegler suspended Los Angeles Kings coach Pat Quinn, charging that Quinn had signed a contract to become president and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks next season and, in fact, had already been paid a bonus by the Canucks. The expulsion could be repealed when the NHL completes its investigation of the matter, but that seems unlikely: Vancouver owner Frank Griffiths said that he signed Quinn last Dec. 24 and subsequently paid him $100,000. Griffiths said that Quinn told Kings general manager Rogie Vachon of the deal shortly after it was consummated.
The suspension raised a number of questions. Why didn't Vancouver ask the NHL in advance about the propriety of its negotiating with Quinn? Did the Kings know about the deal? Why did they keep quiet? How do the Canucks justify what seems to be a case of tampering, punishable under NHL rules? ( Ziegler said tampering charges cannot be brought because a copy of Quinn's contract was not filed with the league.) Most of all, how did Quinn, an intelligent man just half a year short of a law degree from the University of San Diego, overlook the obvious ethical problems involved in coaching one team while promising his future services to another?
Vancouver claimed that Quinn's agents approached the Canucks after L.A. failed to renew the option year of Quinn's contract. Vancouver said it signed Quinn now to guarantee a firm commitment from him. Quinn said that he was "deeply upset" by Ziegler's decision. "When the facts are brought out, they will show there was no improper conduct," he insisted. "I operated with all the best legal advice before any of this was entered into.... I'd like this to be done with immediately. I'm impatient as hell."
Ziegler said there was "no evidence" that Quinn has done anything but his best for the Kings. But Ziegler said he acted "to assure the absolute integrity of the competition" and to make sure that even "the perception of integrity is not tainted."
Conflicts of interest are nothing new to hockey. Thirty years ago the Norris family controlled three NHL franchises at the same time. Current Red Wing G.M. Jim Devellano owns 25,000 shares of stock (worth almost $1 million) in the Maple Leafs. None of that, however, can excuse Quinn—or the Canucks—for what appears to have been a serious lapse in judgment.
You might have thought the New York area was headed for Armageddon if you had been reading the New York Post's previews of Sunday's NFC Championship game (page 21). In the three days preceding the battle, the newspaper's sports section screamed: SKINS MOBILIZED FOR ALL-OUT WAR; REDSKINS SMELL BLOOD; REDSKINS READY FOR BLOODY SUNDAY; REDSKINS PAINTED AND READY FOR WAR; CONFIDENT GIANTS SET TO GO SCALPING; WINDS OF WAR; BENSON BRACING FOR 'HELL'; GIANTS BRACE FOR WW III; [GIANTS] PLOT BATTLE PLAN FOR REDSKIN WAR.
Now that the Giants have gotten past the Skins, we can hardly wait for the Post's Super Bowl previews.