But Steiner gets higher marks in the answer department than Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka, who ran aground in trying to explain why he cut the team's punter, Bob Parsons, a 12-year veteran, with two weeks to go in the season. Although Parsons, who had played in 167 straight games, more than any other Bear in history, was having a poor season, Ditka said that he'd released him not for that reason but, rather, for disloyalty. The 33-year-old Parsons, apparently reckoning that his NFL days were numbered, had approached the Chicago Blitz of the USFL about a coaching job for next season, and Ditka felt that the punter should have held off contacting the Blitz until after the season. But hadn't Ditka, as an assistant coach with the Cowboys, written the late George Halas, the Bears' owner, during the 1981 season about the Bears' head coaching job? Asked by a sportswriter to explain the difference between his action and Parsons', Ditka called the question "asinine" and said, "If you can't surmise the difference, I'm not going to tell you."
Next question, please.
Speaking of Ditka, SI has learned that he received a written reprimand from NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle for telling Bears Safety Dave Duerson to "get" Lions Placekicker Eddie Murray on a kickoff late in the fourth quarter of a 31-17 loss to the Lions on Oct. 16 (SCORECARD, Oct. 31). Duerson blocked Murray far from the play; Murray, who writhed on the ground in pain, later said he'd suffered a dislocated shoulder that snapped back into place. Curiously, the NFL doesn't routinely announce fines or reprimands, a policy that tends to vitiate the deterrent effect of such discipline.
An action that may carry a stronger warning was the NHL Board of Governors' decision two weeks ago to uphold the 20-game suspension that Referee Dave Newell imposed on Chicago Black Hawk Center Tom Lysiak for intentionally tripping Linesman Ron Foyt during a game on Oct. 30 (SI, Nov. 14). Lysiak, the first player to receive a 20-game suspension mandated by a tough new rule intended to deter abuse of game officials, won a court restraining order blocking the suspension but dropped the suit when the NHL amended the rule to allow for appeals, something not provided for originally. The Governors were acting on Lysiak's appeal when they upheld the 20-game suspension, a decision that runs encouragingly counter to the league's ludicrous position that fighting by players is an acceptable emotional "escape valve." After all, if players have to control their emotions when dealing with officials, why can't they be expected to do the same when it comes to fighting with one another?
During a recent series of seminars for trial lawyers sponsored by the American Bar Association at the Los Angeles Hilton, San Diego Padres First Baseman Steve Garvey participated in a mock salary arbitration hearing in which an agent, Steve Greenberg, argued in favor of a big salary for Garvey, and Padres President Ballard Smith pushed for a smaller one. One of Greenberg's points was that Garvey's presence on the Padres would draw thousands of extra fans to the ball park. Really, Steve? While a concurrent seminar on Settlement Techniques and Civil Litigation in an adjoining ballroom attracted a packed house of more than 200 lawyers, fewer than 30 lawyers took in the Garvey case.
THE INCREDIBLE ALL-AMERICAN HULK
How did it happen that Dean Steinkuhler, Nebraska's 6'3", 270-pound offensive guard, was named lineman of the year by United Press International, won the Lombardi Award as the nation's best lineman and received the Outland Trophy as the top interior lineman of 1983, yet was relegated to the Associated Press's All-America second team at his own position behind Doug Dawson of Texas and Terry Long of East Carolina? Pete Brown, the Cincinnati Bengals' director of player personnel, who believes that Steinkuhler and Dawson should have been the All-America choices, blames the poster shown here. The poster, which bills Long, a top-ranked powerlifter, as the "nation's strongest football player," was mailed to members of the media at the season's start by East Carolina's sports information department, and Brown suggests that the AP selectors were unduly influenced by it.
"Long's an excellent player, but as a professional prospect I don't think he'll be taken nearly as high as Steinkuhler or Dawson," said Brown. Nevertheless, Brown lauded East Carolina tub-thumpers for a "creative publicity endeavor," and neither he nor any other Steinkuhler boosters betrayed any interest in trying to wrestle the All-America certificate away from Long, whose incredibly hulkish measurements include a 58-inch chest and 21-inch neck.
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