MY. HORRIBLE SUSPICIONS
I have followed your persistent efforts to expose the dirty business in boxing through successive issues of SI without, I must admit, much interest. That is until the Norris story. Looking through the papers for the next few days I carefully read what various local and syndicated sportswriters had to say about it and it slowly dawned on me that while they all devoted much spit and froth to SI's efforts, generally belittling Thomas, not one of them mentioned the all-important central fact that SI had for the first time called Jim Norris a part of this dirty business. Now, I am a careful and prudent man and I am not going to put down the horrible suspicions I have regarding what, now I must assume, is a long standing relationship between the bosses of U.S. boxing and those that present their activities to the U.S. public. As I say, I am a prudent man and Norris has a circle of impetuous friends. But I am going to say that for the first time I am good and mad at the whole miserable, sordid and humiliating business. I am with you as long as you spare no one, if you have to keep hammering at it till Vol. XXXX No. 32.
YOU NAME THEM
I have been talking to my friends about your recent articles on boxing and the result prompts me to write and tell you about it. In these conversations they all act surprised that Norris has not been named before and wonder how you latched on to this information. My God! Everyone who cares a straw about boxing has known this, or I should say suspected it, for years, ever since Jim left his dad's apron strings to play with the boys with sawed-off shotguns. No one before you, however, has had the guts to come out and say it. And thereby, as I keep telling my friends, hangs as sordid a tale as ever recorded in the history of American journalism—or should I say never recorded in journalism. I am not looking forward to the next few months if you are serious about your crusade; you will have to topple some of the idols and near idols of the American sports scene. But, I'll let you name the names.
Many, many thanks for the guts to stand up and call Norris what he is: part of boxing's dirty business. But keep this in mind in the weeks to come: you can't fight them alone. The sportswriters are against you because they've known of this for years without ever a peep from them. You must ally yourself with the commissions, the governors or the sponsors if you want any action. And that should not be too difficult. I am horrified to think what a few cynical promoters have let respectable companies in for: besmirching each week their hardwon reputations by sponsoring, in an exasperatingly naive fashion, some of the dirtiest goings on since the Black Sox scandals. The governor of New York should not be too reluctant to wash dirty boxing shorts in public.
Don't let SI be a lone voice in the wilderness. This is too important to all of us.
...We are backing you 100%.... We know the people in Chicago will back you up....
LILLIAN AND HENRY LODEWIG
I REALLY MEAN IT!
Your boxing expos� in SI, Dec. 13 was just fine! Please, please—continue your honest and outspoken reporting. We have so little of it today, it seems.
My congratulations also on the breadth of coverage in sports you display. I wonder how many like myself, who were formerly absolutely cold to ice hockey, are now fans of the Montreal Canadiens (SI, Dec. 6)? All in all, you have by far the best magazine in the field, such a one as has been needed badly for years.
If there is anything we fans can do to help you in your fight with Norris, please tell us what it is—and I, for one, will do it.
KENNETH S. WALES JR.
P.S. I really mean it—all.
AND TWICE ON SUNDAYS
I was willing to believe Harry Thomas right up to the point where he belittled Max Schmeling's ability to really hurt him. Then I began to hold his whole story suspect.
Why do these characters always have to embroider their statements in such a patently absurd manner?