What if David Duke becomes the next governor of Louisiana'?
Like it or not, sports and politics often clash, and nowhere is that more evident just now than in Louisiana, where David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi sympathizer, is running for governor in a Nov. 16 runoff election against former governor Edwin Edwards. Although Duke says he's no longer a racist, he was selling neo-Nazi literature out of his office in the state legislature as recently as 1989. If he's elected, there's every reason to expect that some black recruits will scratch Louisiana colleges off their lists and that the proprietors of major sporting events will say bye-bye to the bayous. Says Dave Dixon, a New Orleans art dealer who was instrumental in the construction of the Superdome and the acquisition of the Saints, "Some people say David Duke will hurt the convention industry. That's nonsense. He won't hurt the convention industry. He will eliminate it."
Of course, threats by outside interests to withhold sports events from Louisiana as punishment for electing Duke could backfire. That's what is believed to have happened in Arizona last year, when the NFL warned that it would move the 1993 Super Bowl out of Phoenix if voters of that state didn't approve a proposition to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a state holiday. The measure was rejected, and resentment by the voters over what they perceived as meddling by the NFL was believed to be one reason. Mindful of that precedent, the NFL (which, in fact, did move the '93 Super Bowl to Pasadena) has remained mum on the subject of Duke.
Yet given what the league did in Arizona, there would seem to be no way, in the event of Duke's election, that the NFL could consider New Orleans as a future Super Bowl site. If Duke wins, the NCAA would also be under pressure to reconsider its plans to hold the 1993 Final Four in New Orleans. Another event that might be pulled from the city is the U.S. Olympic track and field trials scheduled for June 19-28 at Tulane. The Athletics Congress, the governing body for the sport in the U.S., will see if Duke is elected before exploring new sites for the trials.
Concern about the effects of a Duke victory is also manifest on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. Tiger coach Curley Mailman stiff-arms the issue by saying, "I'm a football coach, not a politician," but senior cornerback Corey Raymond, who is black, expressed trepidation about the prospect of a Duke victory. "We would hope that he would not become governor," Raymond told The Orlando Sentinel. "Nobody would want to come here. Maybe a recruit wouldn't mind, but his parents wouldn't let him come."
It isn't fair to depict all Louisianians as racist, whether or not Duke is elected. Nevertheless, it seems dead wrong to stage national-championship-level events in a state whose chief executive is a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. Sports organizations have the same right as other groups to use economic pressure to influence public policy, and a sports boycott to protest Duke's election would be a clear signal that racism will not be tolerated, much less rewarded.
—WILLIAM F. REED
A Big Turnover
The New Jersey Nets blow Kenny Anderson's debut
While one point guard. Magic Johnson, left the NBA last week with grace and valor, another much-heralded one entered the league with a distinct lack of class. It was only partly Kenny Anderson's fault that his long-awaited debut with the New Jersey Nets was so badly handled; the rest of the blame falls on the Nets' management. Still, you would have to question Anderson's ability to run the transition game, judging from his transition into the pros.
As have many of the NBA's other first-round draft picks, Anderson gave his new team fits during contract negotiations. Anderson and Richard Howell, his agent, were looking for a three-year deal worth $10 million, while the Nets' opening offer was a six-year contract at $2.25 million a season. By the time the two sides came together last week, at $14.5 million over live years, training camp, the preseason and the first week of the season had gone by, leaving Anderson out of shape and out of sync with coach Bill Fitch's system. But that's all standard stuff these days.
The real snafu came when the Nets tried to restructure their payroll to get under the NBA's $12.5 million-per-team salary cap. Without Fitch's knowledge, the Nets' owners—a group known in the local media as the Secaucus Seven—waived two players, center Dave Feitl and forward Jud Buechler, to get under the cap. Said one owner, Joe Taub, "If it comes to signing Kenny Anderson or keeping two marginal players, I'm going to sign Kenny Anderson."