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LET JUSTICE BE
TEMPERED WITH MERCY
By its own interpretation of an amateur, "one who engages in sport for pleasure, and for the physical, mental or social benefits he derives therefrom, and to whom sport is nothing more than an avocation," can this committee, in conscience, refute Santee's motive for running? Is there a market for professional track men? Santee is certainly our best at the mile; then why no clamor for his services at $50,000 or $100,000 per year?
Wes Santee has been imprudent in many of his past actions. There seems to be no doubt that he lacked discretion in accepting too much money to defray expenses in the meets in question and that a just punishment is merited. But banishment for life? Justice should be tempered with mercy, wisdom and a cognizance of the case history of the perpetrator.
The decision of the Executive Committee certainly can't be construed as in the best interests of amateur sport. Wes Santee has been a good friend to American track. The tragedy of contemporary American sport is that we have too few with the hearty blood of Wes Santee. Men willing to sacrifice through thankless years of unremitting toil toward self-improvement that is measured in such a minimal thing as a second, or even a fraction of a second....
I eagerly await news of the promoters "not at the moment under attack" in the Santee case. What delays the attack? Surely the evidence against Santee is evidence against them. Should their sentence be any less severe than Santee's?
with which the AAU judges amateurism is truly ambiguous. They are repulsed by
Santee, while smiling benignly at the basketballers who perform in both their
national tourney and the Olympics. Here are found men paid by summer resorts
while being groomed for college competition, proselyted through college, and
"kept," in spirit if not by the letter of amateur law, after college
days by industrial corporations, ostensibly as employees....
The AAU is most
certainly a bumbling, crippled kind of thing and is much to blame for allowing
the promoters to have taken over in track and field. But with Wes Santee, an
arrogant and rather untalented athlete who has gotten the publicity breaks,
they have made a beginning towards re-defining amateur sports and enforcing
that definition. More power to them.
Some of the AAU officials hereabouts are connected with sporting goods manufacturers and retail people. In other words, they make their living from sports. I think that is fully as incongruous as Wes Santee's expense account.