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NFL Dads: The Sequels
Two weeks ago it was David Williams, the Houston Oiler tackle, who grabbed nationwide attention when he skipped a game in New England to witness the birth of his son. In a case of better timing, Chicago Bear tackle John Wojciechowski was at his wife's bedside as she delivered a son just before noon last Saturday, and by 10 p.m. he was in Green Bay for the Bears' 17-3 loss on Sunday. But a more frustrating odyssey was endured by Los Angeles Ram defensive end Fred Stokes.
Stokes was in San Francisco for a game against the 49ers when he got a call from his wife, Regina, early Sunday morning informing him that she was going into labor. Stokes checked out of the team hotel and, after getting permission to leave from coach Chuck Knox, grabbed an early flight to Orange County. Stokes made it to St. Joseph Hospital, but after a few fruitless hours, doctors told him that Regina would not deliver until evening at the earliest.
So Stokes, with his wife's blessing, hired a jet for $3,300 to whisk him back to San Francisco. Alas, he arrived at Candlestick Park only minutes before the Niners completed a 40-17 rout of his Rams. Stokes expected the team to withhold his $33,333 per-game salary, just as the Oilers kept Williams's $111,111. "I chose to leave," said Stokes. "I let the team down. I felt bad. I didn't earn my money."
But he undoubtedly wasn't thinking of money late on Sunday evening when his seven-pound, five-ounce son, Landon, arrived safely with Dad in attendance. Then, on Monday afternoon, in a welcome precedent, the Rams announced that they won't dock Stokes.
The chlorine-scented stink surrounding University of Florida women's swimming coach Mitch Ivey will linger. Ivey was fired last Monday, just before ESPN aired a story that charged Ivey, 44, with improper sexual involvement with athletes he had coached at other schools and clubs.
The real question is why Florida hired Ivey in the first place. Donna Lopiano, the former women's athletic director at Texas, where Ivey had applied for a job before going to Florida, told ESPN that she had called Florida's associate athletic director for women's sports, Ann Marie Lawler, before Ivey was hired. In that call Lopiano warned Lawler of Ivey's past, which was well known in swimming circles.
Lawler defended her decision last week, saying, "I spoke with Olympic coaches and athletes plus many others who endorsed Mitch as the appropriate person to lead our swim program."
Others would find his past behavior singularly inappropriate. Consider his involvement with one of his athletes, Noel Moran Quilici, who, at 18, married Ivey, then 30, in 1979. Quilici told ESPN that she "rebuffed his sexual advances" when she was 15 but began a sexual relationship with him at age 17. At the time, she was swimming for Ivey at the Santa Clara Swim Club. Six months after their marriage she discovered his involvement with a 17-year-old swimmer and filed for divorce. As of Monday, Ivey had not responded to the ESPN report beyond criticizing Florida for not standing behind him.