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I am also an admirer of the frequently controversial work of Rick Telander, but please, Rick, do not call Ali a fraud, a clown, a dancing minstrel or a willing victim. Ali remains a revered man who was perhaps history's greatest heavyweight and certainly boxing's greatest promoter.
I am sure it was just a coincidence that in the same issue you wrote about Ali you also reported on the near death of Nigerian boxer Akeem Anifowoshe (SCORECARD). The bloody pictures of his fight with Robert Quiroga made me stop and ask, At what price sport? It is time to end the carnage of boxing.
The Joys of Summer Camp
The shame of it all is that such wonderful educational institutions, which instill the virtues of teamwork, tolerance and appreciation for the out-of-doors, are now under siege because of well-meaning parents with a different orientation: forcing their children to become grown-up, sophisticated and specialized instead of letting them relax and grow in a less pressurized world where the smoke of campfires still smells sweet and the loon still shrieks at night. It was great to be one of the guys in a simpler and, yes, better time.
Murphy scoffs at the suggestion that student-athletes steal because they have too much free time during the off-season. If that leads to stealing, he says, the offenders belong in day-care centers, not universities. It is a point well taken.
But Murphy then lends support to the theory that these young adults commit crimes because they are not provided with sufficient spending money through their athletic scholarships. I, too, believe athletes in major-revenue sports should receive more money, but I fail to see how a student who steals out of greed is better suited for university life than one who steals out of boredom.
Maybe coaches should take a closer look at the people they are inviting into their programs. Believe it or not, there are young people out there who can live on free room and board plus $250 a month without breaking the law. I don't know what their 40-yard-dash times are, though.
Since when is it the university's responsibility to compensate an athlete for the unfortunate fact that he was born into a disadvantaged socioeconomic situation? Athletes should stop crying about what they don't have and start appreciating the opportunities they do have to better their lives.