Tonight, from Boston, The Advocates. With Howard
Miller and William Rusher and the moderator, Michael Dukakis.
Good evening, and welcome to The Advocates. Every week at
this time we look at an important public issue in terms of a practical
choice. Tonight our issue concerns the Olympic games — specifically, our
question is this: "Should the Olympics be open to professional athletes?"
Advocate Howard Miller says "yes."
A small group
of self-selected men, in the name of false virtue penalize Olympic athletes
by requiring hypocrisy and penalize everyone by denying excellence. With me
tonight to urge an Open Olympic Games are Olympic skier and member of the
President's Council on Physical Fitness, Suzy Chaffee; gold medal winner in
the hammer throw in the Olympic Games, Harold Connolly; and TV sportscaster
and columnist for the Boston Globe, Bud Collins.
Advocate William Rusher says "no."
In a world
that sometimes seems money-crazy, the Olympics stand as a great and
honorable tradition of amateur athletics. With me tonight to support that
tradition, are Harold Zimman of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Congressman Bob
Mathias of California, and the one-and-only Jesse Owens.
Thank you, gentlemen. And now for some background on
tonight's question. The recent expulsion of Austrian skier Karl Schranz from
the -winter Olympic games has stirred new controversy over the Olympic
eligibility rules. Olympic rules state that an athlete must observe the
traditional Olympic ethic, which means he or she must not earn income from
any sport; cannot have been a professional or semi-professional athlete;
cannot have coached a sport for pay; and cannot permit his or her photo to
be used for advertising purposes. Schranz was disqualified by the
international Olympic committee because his photo was used to promote some
ski equipment. French skier, Annie Famose, was disqualified a few days later
by the International Ski Federation for a similar incident involving Radio
Luxembourg. Since it's well known that many skiers and other Olympic
athletes make a good living from sport in one way or another, it is probably
fair to say that Mr. Schranz and Miss Famose were chosen as examples. To
illustrate the Olympic committee's insistence that the ideal of amateurism
is central to the Olympic Games.
chairman of the IOC and arch champion of amateur competition is so dismayed
at the scandals, the obvious and not-so-obvious violations of the Olympic
rules, that he even suggested that the winter games be canceled. Tonight we
consider a challenge to at least part of the traditional ethic of the
Olympics — specifically, a proposal that would follow the lead of
international tennis, golf, and open the Olympic games to all athletes,
including professionals. Under this proposal the Olympic committee would
retain control over an athlete's conduct during the games, but eligibility
for participation would no longer depend on some so-called standard of
"amateur" standing. Now to the cases. Mr. Millar, why should the Olympics be
open to professional athletes?
Olympic committee chooses itself and perpetuates itself. Its rules are
absurd; athletes cannot receive money for coaching, unless it's beginner;
they cannot train full time over 60 days a year; they cannot receive money
for anything at all connected with athletics; there can be no athletic
scholarships for those who compete in the Olympic games. That absurdity of
course leads to widespread hypocrisy and even perjury on the part of many
Olympic athletes. And when enforcement comes, it's swift. Jesse Owens lost
all his gold medals from the 1912 games because he'd accepted fifty dollars
for a semi-pro game years before. Paavo Nurmi, the great Finnish runner was
disqualified from the 1932 Olympics because of too high a previous expense
account. And that's why Karl Schranz could not compete this year. Of course
Japan spent 60 million dollars to build facilities for the Olympic games and
American television networks spent six million dollars to televise, and
probably make a profit from them. Apparently everyone benefits from honest
payments in the Olympic games except the athletes themselves who are
responsible in the final analysis for the success of the games. And what are
the results? The best are disqualified. Let's see for example what the
American basketball team would be if we had a genuine open Olympic
Good evening, ladies and
gentlemen, this in Johnny Most introducing the United States open Olympic
basketball team. At the forward, from Ohio State and the Boston Celtics,
John Havlicek. From Houston University and the Houston Rockets, Elvin Hayes.
And from Detroit University and the Seattle Supersonics, Spencer Haywood. At
center, from Kansas and the Los Angeles Lakers, Wilt Chamberlain. And from
UCLA and the Milwaukee Bucks, Kareem Jabbar. At the guard, from the
University of Cincinnati, and the Milwaukee Bucks - the Big O - Oscar
Robinson. From Southern Illinois University and the New York Knickerbockers,
Walt Frazier. And last but not least from the University of West Virginia,
and the Los Angeles Lakers, Jerry West.
Of course it was Jim Thorpe who lost his medals in 1912
because he accepted the fifty dollars for a semi-pro game but even Jesse
Owens or Bob Mathias or any other athlete would hove lost his too if he'd
accepted fifty dollars for a semi-pro game. To talk to us about the results
of those rules, I've asked to be with us tonight Miss Suzy
Welcome to The Advocates.
Suzy Chaffee is an Olympic skier and a member of the
President's Council on Physical Fitness. Miss Chaffee how did we get these
rules of what an amateur is and what are their effect?
Well it's unfortunate that the public has been greatly
deceived that amateurism is a good force in the world. It's actually left
over from the nineteenth century, when sports were reserved for the
aristocracy and rules were made to keep out the lower classes and the poor.
As a result of this rather inhumane, unrealistic set of rules, it doesn't
give all the people in the world an equal opportunity to enjoy competition
What is the effect on athletes who
compete in the games and sign oaths that they've complied with the rules?
I'm an example from the U.S. Ski
Team representing the majority of athletes who sort of buck the rules that
athletes can train full time for competition only 50 days a year. Which
would not be an example of Olympic excellence and no one would want to see
the games if that were carried out. Most of the male athletes of the United
States receive scholarships. Of course, women don't have this opportunity.
The third thing is that governments support the majority of teams all over
the world except in the United States and this is probably why we are a
fourth rate power in the world.
most athletes say they have complied with the rules, have they in fact
Yes, in fact this present amateur
system is very conducive to perjury and if the youth of the world who are
having to compromise themselves to be able to compete in the most
significant event in the world have to sign an oath saying that they had
obeyed all these rules then this thing is in fact condoning perjury and
making the youth of the world feel that they're going to have to start off
their life compromised and it gives a false sense of values for the rest of
Miss Chaffee, Mr. Rusher has some
Miss Chaffee, you are the author I
believe of a ten-point plan for an Olympic awakening. Is that
I'd like to discuss with you your ideas of improving the Olympics. You
define in your ten-point plan, as I understand it, about five different
types of athletes: the Olympic purist - I guess that's self-explanatory -
the amateur, the professional, the commercial athlete, and then a category
that you call practitioners of out-and-out commercialism. Which of these, if
any, 'would you ban from the Olympics?
these athletes as I said - now that I represent the majority of athletes
that have actually signed this as well as the press to back them up so they
won't be bad-mouthed by the Brundage side - uh - they have - uh, we feel
that we want an overall responsible plan which would not - would keep up the
beautiful tradition of the ancient games, where open competition was the
cause that they were so successful...
which of these five categories...
these categories...uh? Well, the category of cut-and - out professionalism,
of course. And we feel that the person who wins the Olympics would not
receive a cash award but would receive a cultural thing and bring some
culture back into the Olympics.
I want to come
to the award you speak of. You speak also of open competition involving
minimal use of drugs. What is 'minimal use of drugs'?
Well, aspirin, vitamins...
I am not a great authority on this. I
think this should be very carefully looked into because the present system
has not been ...
...HAS not been good.
I mean the Olympic committee has suggested
that the present system is not working and they have to go over it. And this
is what the athletes hope is done.
As you said
your-self, you propose that cash awards not be given in the open Olympics
that you propose but original works of art should be given instead. Why not
Because cash...I think it's similar to
the Academy Awards where the award should be the greatest thing in the
sports world where one doesn't receive cash but one receives the greatest
esteem in the world. If it is in fact the highest standard of excellence in
the world - which we would like - and it is - if does have integrity, which
the present system does
There's cash in tennis,
Why do you like cash?
I wouldn't my dear lady. But I was trying to find out why
you wouldn't like cash, if you are in favor of professionalizing the
Olympics to some obscure degree, which I frankly don't understand.
Well, frankly, we - in having the highest esteem -that is
in fact a great thing. But bringing this cultural work of art would be done
by the best artist in the world… it would be worth something.
It would be a subterfuge in any case if you can give more
and more expensive works of art instead of cash. You could give some guy who
won the prize a picture of Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer, or
something like that, couldn't you?
in sports there's a need to bring back arts to sports and raise the level of
for instance then the Duffy trophies that are given out this way today...I
think by having copies of this trophy given out to the Olympians.
Mr. Rusher, I'm going to have interrupt at this point.
Miss Chaffee, our time has run out. Thank you, very much for being with us
on The Advocates.
Thank you very
The Olympic committee would of course
retain their jurisdiction over the taste of what occurs at the games but
they could not bar someone because he had received payment for being an
athlete - being the best in the world. To talk to us today about how the
rules hurt athletes I've asked to join us tonight, Harold
Welcome to The Advocates, Mr.
Harold Connolly is a gold medal
winner in the hammer throw in the Olympic games. Mr. Connolly, how do these
existing rules hurt you and other athletes?
Well I don't think too many Americans are conscious of the struggles of an
American hammer thrower, but I'm somewhat representative of other athletes
under our system. I, and others, have to train many hours after eight hours
of work each day. I have to climb over fences into vacant lots in order to
be able to practice for my events, and frequently an athlete has to practice
early in the morning before he goes to work. And since I graduated from
college I haven't received a single communication or any support from any
administrator or official in the Amateur Athletic Union or the Olympic
committee, or from Olympic coaches. They haven't spoken to me. They don't
even care what I'm doing until I make the team again.
Well now, you have to hold down other jobs. One of the
things the rules prohibit is commercial advertising for example. How would
being able to do a commercial on television help you?
Well, right at this moment, in the case of myself and my
wife, we’re both trying to make the United States Olympic team again. We’re
the parents of four children. I think just one washing machine commercial
and the few thousand dollars it would realize for us would make the task a
hell of a lot easier and it gripes me a little bit to see our staunch
supporters of amateurism – like Mr. Owens and Mr. Mathias -- when they
finished their days of competition they did cigarette commercials that were
shown during the 1964 Olympic games and Mr. Owens has done whiskey
commercials. It's alright for him but it's not alright for us.
Your wife competed for another country - you're familiar
with athletes in Communist countries. What kind of conditions do they work
This will have to be a very short
answer, Mr. Connolly.
Well all I know is that
when they visit this country and see the conditions under which I have to
train - and other American athletes - they're absolutely astonished and I
can assure you and the listening public that they in no way have to
struggle. It's a part of their society and the fabric of their life. They're
highly supported from all sides.
some questions for Mr. Connolly.
necessarily well off.
Take these girls from
Northbrook, Illinois who won gold medals for speed skating in Japan this
month. According to Time Magazine they had to travel to the Olympic rink in
Wisconsin, in a carpool operated by their parents. One of them, Dianne
Holum, worked as a waitress last year to support her training, and some
Northbrook mothers take similar jobs for that purpose. Well — so that if a
town even like Northbrook can produce two Olympic winners like that you
can't say that it is impossible by any means for Americans to do very well
indeed. Although Miss Chaffee described us as a 'fourth-rate power' we have
won more Olympic gold medals than any other country, isn't that
That's a misconception because you start
counting them from the modern Olympic games, let's say from 1960
I'm not counting the ancient Greek
You're counting back to 1896 when we
dominated the games, but the tables are turned now. And as far as those
people from Northbrook, Illinois you are not privy to the actual situation
under which they trained and you might be very surprised to see the support
they got from that community. It might go way beyond the Olympic
Were Floyd Patterson, and Cassius Clay,
and Joe Frazier from wealthy families?
not have been from wealthy families
their start in the Olympics.
supporters may have been supporting them.
undoubtedly. Undoubtedly there was help given to them. But isn't there a
difference between a subsidy given for the purpose of getting to the
Olympics or getting to a game or getting your training even, and getting a
profit from making a living out of a sport? For example, you --when you won
the gold medal for the hammer throw in 1956 — you were not a wealthy man,
were you? And you managed to do it.
And I'm not
And you're not today. Would you tell me
just how much money could a professional hammer thrower make?
In our society?
Well, one beer company asked me to do
a commercial recently and they assured me that the shot would be far enough
away that I wouldn't be recognized. And I refused.
How about professional weightlifters? How much could they
It's very difficult to say, but a hell of
a lot more than they're making now.
professional fencers? These are all Olympic disciplines, you know.
And they might very well make a great deal
And professional marathon runners — do
you see a big future in that, if they went pro? Why don't you turn pro? How
old are you?
I am forty years old.
Forty years old. And with a wife and four children? And
you're still trying to get back into the Olympics. Why don't you turn
Because perhaps my presence in the Olympic
games will initiate some changes.
How will it
I think if people speak what they
really believe in sooner or later people listen and changes will come
Can you tell me if the British have ever
asked to have their professional soccer players admitted to the
Ask the soccer players?
The British haven't is the
answer to the question.
But the soccer players
may very well like to be.
I have no doubt that
some would. It would be obviously easy to have -- and delightful to have the
best of both possible worlds but there are plenty of them who don't
A world without hypocrisy is what I'd
like to see.
So would I. Tell me, do you
believe that -- to nail the point down — that in professional competition
you could make a living? As a hammer thrower?
wouldn't want to.
What would you want to
I'd want to remain as a teacher, but have
more support for my efforts at my hobby, which is hammer throwing.
Get more outside help. How much do you think — wouldn't
it be true that if the Olympics were professionalized in the way that you
You don't know the way that I
Well, in the way that Mr. Miller
proposes. You may have a secret way. I know the way that he proposes. In
that way, if the Olympics were professionalized wouldn't it simply harm
those disciplines — those sports disciplines — which are not the big
spectator sports, the one that don't draw the large...
I think it could only help the whole Olympic
No further questions.
Thank you, Mr. Rusher. Thank you, Mr. Connolly. All
right, Mr. Miller.
The implications of the
cross-examination of course go precisely to the point. There probably is no
big money for hammer throwers or discus throwers or fencers. That's not the
reason to professionalize. But as Mr. Rusher said the difference between
subsidy and profit. It's not because there's a profit. It's because basic
elements that athletes are entitled to as subsidy — money for coaching,
money for expenses -- as he himself said, a subsidy to become an athlete is
what defines a professional in our society. It's precisely because there may
be no profit and because a subsidy is required that we must open the rules
of the Olympic games. What happens today? Many countries simply don't
participate in some sports. Canada for example, which is one of the
originators of hockey, does not send a hockey team to the Olympic games
because it cannot send its best. Let's see who Canada could send, if it
would send its best.
And now, ladies
and gentlemen, here is the starting lineup for Canada in this opening round
of the Olympic tournament. In the goal, veteran Jock Plant of the Toronto
Maple Leafs: at defense, the sensational Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins and
Brad Park, the fine young defenseman of the New York Rangers. At center, the
highest scorer in the NHL, Phil Esposito — also of the Bruins. At left wing
the Golden Jet, Bobby Hull, of the Chicago Blackhawks, and at right wing,
the breakaway threat from the Montreal Canadiens, Yvan Cournoyer.
Thank you, Mr. Miller. We'll return to you later for your
rebuttal case. And now we turn to Mr. Rusher who will tell us why
professional athletes should not be permitted to participate in the Olympic
In a world that seems to be growing
increasingly materialistic, increasingly cynical, the Olympics for over 50
years have upheld the ideals of excellence for its own sake, sport for the
clean and wholesome sake of sport itself, without fat six-figure contracts
or indeed any reward at all except a medal. Now, I have nothing in the world
against professional sports or against professional athletes. They usually
are the best in their fields and deserve every dollar they earn. But is
there any reason we cannot preserve in the Olympics an opportunity for
non-professionalism too? For those athletes, in those sports such as fencing
and weightlifting, that cannot attract huge throngs of paying spectators,
and for those amateur athletes in every sport who will train for long weeks
and months and have perhaps a magnificent hour as a gold medal winner and
then go on to lead ordinary lives in other careers. It has been a little sad
to see here tonight the other side's desperate effort to downgrade and
deprecate the Olympics; to accuse them of encouraging hypocrisy, dishonesty,
even perjury. It is almost as if the professionals feel impelled to prove
that the whole world shares their materialistic standings and that the proud
title of "best athlete" must always and everywhere come to mean the "best
athlete money can buy." It doesn't have to be that way. Thank God it isn't!
To discuss the modern Olympics as they really are I call first upon a member
of the U.S. Olympic committee, Mr. Harold Zimman.
Welcome to The Advocates, Mr. Zimman.
Zimman is a sports publisher and as I said a member of the Olympic committee
from right here in Massachusetts. Mr. Zimman what about these charges of
secret subsidy and hypocrisy and perjury?
just isn't true. The rules allow for certain subsidies. In fact, the college
scholarship, the special service athlete who's in the special service
In the Army or in the other branches of the armed forces. That is an
indication of an opportunity to have the poor kid be able to excel or at
least bring his activities to a level, hopefully good enough to make the
Olympic games in whatever discipline he may be concerned with. One thing
that they are concerned with is the commercialization — the profit from
participating in sport.
Well, what would be so
wrong about letting professionals, people who are in athletics for a profit,
participate in the Olympics? .
destroy the Olympics.
The concept. The small nations would be wiped out. The
young athlete would not have the opportunity. There would also be the
problem with developing the kind of interest in the minor sports that the
Olympic program now includes -- those sports that don't have a large paid
And what about the charges
that the Russians, for example, don't obey the rules anyway — that their
athletes are really pros in disguise and it's unfair to exclude our pros
Well that just isn't true either. That same
kind of subsidy that is available to the college scholarship winner or a man
in the service or the boy that has a program provided for him on the local
level is the same kind of activity that is provided for the athlete from
They don't have these luxurious
country homes and limousines?
No, they do not.
And it is a myth to continue to say that the rules that govern the
participation in Olympic sports are closely guarded by the international
federation's governing the individual sport.
Mr. Zimman, Mr. Miller's got some questions for you Mr. Miller.
Mr. Zimman, let me read to you from rule 26 of the
eligibility code for the Olympic games - rule three, A3. A competitor is
permitted to accept scholarships granted in accordance with academic and
technical standards, dependent upon the fulfillment of scholastic
obligations and not on athletic prowess." Is that the kind of scholarship
you’re saying that permits us to support our athletes?
on scholastic obligations? An athlete who gets an athletic scholarship at a
university may not compete in the Olympic games?
There are no athletic scholarships. The structure of the scholarship
provided for need usually is the scholarship that the athlete is able to use
to perfect his talents and bring him to athletic capabilities for the
It is your testimony that in
the United States, there are no athletic scholarships? Is that what you're
There are no athletic scholarships?
are no athletic scholarships.
football team at the many universities - none of them are on an athletic
scholarship? No track...
The NCAA meeting in
January of this year, in Miami, went on record as not allowing an athletic
scholarship per se. Need....
And the kind of
integrity you call for by the Olympic rules is an integrity that says no
Are you impugning
the integrity of the colleges that make up the NCAA?
You are? All of the
Let me read to you from rule 5 if
Gentlemen, let me interrupt for
second. I take it, Mr. Zimman that what you're saying is that we do give
scholarships to people who are athletically good but what you're saying is
that we require ...
That isn't the criteria.
The criteria is need.
Well then let me read to
you from something where there may be even less doubt to the extent that
there may be any in the other. Rule 5 reads, "For national aggrandizement
governments occasionally adopt methods and give athletes positions in the
Army/ on the police force, or in a government office." Positions in the
Army. The rule then says, "recipients of these special favors, which are
granted because of athletic ability are not eligible to compete in the
Olympic games." You told us the Army is a way of supporting athletes. Is
Special Services of the Army - you said that....
The Special Services of the Army has in it, built in, a service that
requires them to perform other duties than improve on their
Are there men who get in the
Special Service who don't happen to be good athletes? Are you saying that
Yes, yes, of course....
You're saying that this rule is complied with when an
athlete is put in Special Services and goes to the Olympic games. Is that
complying with this rule?
It does? Explain to me how small nations are going to be
wiped out? In fact, if they had the capacity to support their own athletes
won't it strengthen their ability to compete in the Olympic games?
Small nations will not have the opportunity of
developing the kinds of support that will be possible to the professional
athlete in a country that has the additional capacity to make this
And so, for that reason, the country that has -- that are just interested in
participating now — and there are a hundred and thirty nations that are now
affiliated with the International Olympic Committee, more than are in the
UN. And they wouldn't be interested — that number of nations — to
participate in the games if it wasn't something that they felt was
worthwhile and that had value for the young people of their
Let me ask you....
No, I have to interrupt. Mr. Zimman, I've run out of
time. Thank you for being on The Advocates.
All right, Mr. Rusher, another
In 1948, at the age of 17, a young man
from Tulare, California, startled the world by winning the gold medal at the
Olympic Decathlon in London - ten track and field events. Four years later,
at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, he did it all over again, setting an
Olympic and world record. He typifies all that is best in the modern
Olympics. He is with us tonight, the distinguished United Slates Congressman
from California, Bob Mathias.
Welcome to The
why, in your opinion, should professionals be kept out of the
Well, I think first of all, the
spirit of amateur competition is completely different from professional
competition. And when I had the honor of competing in the Olympic Games —
well, I did it for the love of sport and not for money. I think today we can
all say that materialism is creeping into everything we do and I honestly
feel that we need to keep and honor and respect something — some value,
especially for our young people coming up, something of value that is not
What would be the effect of
professionalizing the Olympics in your opinion, sir?
I think eventually it would do away with the Games,
would kill the Games. And the reason I say this — say the
pros were admitted
to the Olympic Games, a red hot promoter
could organize another meet during
the Olympic Games and pay-
more money and steal the competitors away. In
they'd pay you more money
could have rival Olympics running against each other,
Why not, why not?
shouldn't the Olympic medals go to the very best athletes?
I certainly agree with that, and I think they should go
to the very best amateur athletes. The pro's can organize their own sports
events and give medals away, or money, or --like Miss Chaffee said -- they
can give away works of art, whatever they want.
Was anything though, really accomplished in your opinion by the
exclusion of Karl Schranz from the Games, in Japan?
I'm not familiar with the facts, but evidently he did
violate the rules and regulations of the Olympic Committee. He should have
been discharged if he broke the laws, like everybody should. I recall a year
after I competed in 1952, I was approached to make a motion picture, called
the Bob Mathias Story I knew If I made that film I would become
professional, and 1 couldn't compete in the 1956 Games. I made the picture,
I knew what I was doing - I became professional, so I knew it. And Karl
Schranz knew the same thing when he did it.
Lastly, is Avery Brundage the big villain that he is so often depicted as
This will have to be a very short
I don't agree with Mr.
Brundage on every point, but we do need a strong man in that position, and
he is very strong.
Thank you. Mr.
We can agree he's very strong!
Congressman Mathias, tell me how you'd enforce these rules. Do you think Jim
Thorpe should have been denied all his medals because of $50 in a semi-pro
At that time, he violated a rule and he
should have been kicked out.
He violated the
rule, and that takes care of that?
Let's talk about the effects in track
and field, for example, your area. What would be harmful in allowing a
person to be paid for coaching track and field athletes and still
participating in the Olympic Games?
think this is one of the regulations that perhaps should be changed. Now the
reason I think we're discussing today is, if it's money in the pocket, if
you make a profit in sports, then you're professional. Like was mentioned
earlier, I think it's fine to get subsidized. We're doing that today — every
country in the world is being subsidized in one way or the other. But when
you get paid for a commercial or for running track and field, you're then a
O.K., so we can agree on one
thing at least. Those rules that do not permit countries to subsidize their
athletes ought to be changed. You ought to be able to coach and get
I think that's a very reasonable thing
and, as has been mentioned, some things are out of date.
What about training more than sixty days full time a
year. Certainly we ought to permit our athletes to do that too?
Listen, I trained about the same time. I went out
But you trained more than
sixty days full time a year?
For track and
field, for the Olympic Games, I trained sixty days.
More than sixty days?
About sixty in track and field.
very cautious because you know about your answer on Jim Thorpe. Tell me, in
fact, don't the rewards shift the interest of our young athletes? In fact,
haven't many sprinters, the outstanding sprint runners now, gone into
professional football as ends, because of the rewards in football? And isn't
that hurting our track and field program?
don't believe so. For example, when I quit, perhaps I might have tried out
for the 1956 Games. I also might have been over the hill. Now Bob Hayes,
who's a great football player now, won. He's Olympic champion. One hundred
meters, two hundred, the relay. Maybe he was smart enough to get out while
he was ahead and go ahead and turn pro.
fact, all the successful Olympic athletes do make a killing don't
I mean the Peggy Flemings and the others, they are the ones
— their Olympic success does guarantee the kind of profit you're talking
about. The only thing that's prevented is the ordinary athlete getting what
Mr. Miller, can you name on your
five fingers other athletes, Olympic champions, who have made out?
Well, I could name you.
I could name Miss
I would like to interject at this
point to say that Congressman Mathias was elected by the people of his
I consider it a compliment to your
success and a compliment to the Olympic Games.
Well thank you, but what I was trying to say was that not many people can
really -- once they win the Olympic Games it's difficult to go out and
capitalize on that. You really can't name a lot of people.
Well, tell me about the problem of equipment, for
example. Do you think that athletes ought to be able to accept equipment and
give endorsements for it?
I think so. In
college — you know, in football -- I got the pads, the shoes and everything.
In track I got the shoes. This is part of the subsidation and I think that's
So the only thing you object to is the
question of profit?
And if, in fact, an athlete has the capacity and can
make a great deal of money as a basketball player, for example, what then
would be harmful simply in making him whole? Not giving him a profit, but
saying he'd be making several thousand dollars playing for the Los Angeles
Lakers, so during that period, because you're giving up that income, we're
going to make you whole and permit you to play in the Olympic Games.
Anything wrong with that?
Well, I'm not sure, but
let me go back to
No, I'm sorry, because that
happens to be very
important, the way we've broken it down. You say subsidy
profit, no! I want to know about the person who is making
money as a
professional basketball player, but in order to
play in the Olympic Games,
he has to give up that salary.
Anything wrong then, with simply compensating
him for that --
Mr. Miller, I'm afraid I'm
going to have to leave that question to Mr. Owens.
I don't agree with that.
Thank you, Congressman, thanks for being with us. Mr. Rusher, another
And now, let us consider one of the
great moments in sports history.
Greatest headlines of the century Dateline - Berlin, August 1st,
1936. The eleventh Olympiad was to be held in Berlin hosted by a man whom
the entire globe had good reason to fear - Adolf Hitler. The Brandenburg
Gates were draped with swastikas the day of the initial parade. At the Games
themselves, America won the majority of the gold medals in the track and
field events while Germany amassed the overall highest total of points. The
undisputed star of the competition was Ohio State University track star,
Jesse Owens. The "Buckeye Bullet" took gold medals in three events — the one
hundred and two hundred meter men's sprint and the running broad jump. But
Hitler was to snub Owens, as he did all of the American winners. He
officially announced that he would forego meeting the victorious athletes of
the various events because it was impossible for him constantly to remain at
the stadium. And failure to greet all, he said, would arouse ill-feeling.
Ladies and gentlemen -- Mr.
Welcome to The Advocates, Mr.
Mr. Owens is now in private business in
Chicago. Mr. Owens, should the Olympics go professional?
Well no, I don't really think they should. I think that
the Olympic Games, built upon the premise on which it was built and may I
preface this by saying that the Olympics really belong to the young. As we
look down through the years at the number of young men that have
participated in this particular sport, we're looking at the average ages. I
remember 1968 — just about the average age of our swimmers at that time was
fourteen point some years. The average track age was about eighteen point
nine. And I remember when I was a child, there was a man that came to our
school at that time known as the world's fastest human being, und he talked
about the Olympic Games of 1928 in Amsterdam, Holland, and I wanted to be
very much like that man. And eight years later, I was in Berlin, using him
as a model, to the things that I wanted to do.
Would the incentive to you and other young people like you have been less if
we admitted pros to the Olympics?
Well I think
that when we take away the incentive as far as youth is able to achieve — a
fourteen-year-old, a fifteen-year-old, a sixteen-year-old, a
seventeen-year-old child and then you're going to replace him with a man
that has matured to the point of where he is now receiving gratuities for
the job he is doing representing this country, then I think that we're
losing some of the things that young people of this nation would aspire to
be. I think that, when we get down to the point where we're paying for
everything that we have --we have chaotic conditions, we have them now in
our professional sports.
What other results
might there be if we admitted pros to the Olympics? With respect to other
countries, for instance.
Well, I'd say that —
all right, take for instance a country like Kenya.
country. Came out of the 1968 Olympic Games with several gold medals -
Mexico City, won its first gold medal in 1968. There are other countries
that won their first gold medal. This is a great thrill to the people of
that country. Here they are competing against the best that the world has to
offer as far as the amateur sport is concerned, in a sense, as we understand
Thank you, Mr. Owens. It's time for
Mr. Miller and some questions from him.
Owens, there was a time in this country when football was only an amateur's
game played in the colleges. Then the pros came along and we now have
widespread professional football in this country. Do you think that's been
harmful to the country?
I don't think that
professional football — because it's a profession. You see, you've got to
understand one thing Mr. Miller. Before you became a law professor, you had
to study somewhere, didn't you? Before you started getting paid, you had to
study something in order to be able to achieve this point to be a law
professor at your university.
professional football was a profession, it was played simply in the
colleges, just as track and field would become a profession, as professional
football did, if it went professional.
right, when he has finished his amateur days. When he has finished his
apprenticeship. If it so happened that he can move over into another field,
another area, then he becomes — and that is his profession. Then he is
entitled to be paid in that sense — if you're going to do it day by day to
the point where you're not going to do anything else.
Well you don't think there would be anything wrong, for
example, with widespread professional track and field in the
You can't make money out of it,
that's why it's not here now.
Well, maybe one
of the reasons you can't make money at it is because the incentives don't
The incentives are there. The
incentives are there, but from the standpoint of promoters and promotions
and stadiums, people — the number of people to do it is not there. You will
not go to a track meet if you see one man win the 50 yard dash every week,
or sixty-yard dash. You would not go to a track meet if you saw the same
pole vaulter win every week. The competition isn't there.
Tell me now, what would happen to the games if a pole
vaulter or a hundred-yard dash man, or someone who was getting his expenses
paid and perhaps even a little more so that he'd choose that. How would that
hurt the Games? What would happen to the Games that would be harmful? Who
wouldn't go that now goes?
connotation of inspiring a youngster that's sitting in this audience — let's
say for instance — in 1968, 90% of the youngsters that went in 1968 will not
go in 1972. Why, because youth takes over. There is many a youngster that is
striving today to make that team. We have ten sprinters in this country
today that are able to do 9.3 or better - we're going to pick
But some of the best sprinters are
playing professional football.
they've finished their days in college.
You see, you have to have
Well, we're not
talking about apprenticeship
Yes we are -
we've got to talk about something. How are you going to be — are you going
to come out of the cradle and be a professional?
Well, let me ask you this. Did professional football hurt the
development of college football athletes?
College football helped professional football.
And didn't professional football help
provided for professional football the stars that it has today.
Exactly. And didn't the development of professional
football help college football bring more people into the amateur college
There are more kids out for athletics
today than ever before - and you've got two factors.
Professionalism is one.
That's right, and you've got amateurs for the other.
OK, but doesn't professionalism aid the
Don't more kids play college football and basketball.
No, you’re wrong. The amateurs aid the professionals.
This is where you get your ball players, this is where you get your baseball
players, this is where you get your basketball players. And they have to be
a feeder group in order for that professional rank to exist.
And you think there'd be as many college students, as
many kids interested in football, playing college football today, and
college basketball today and as much national interest if
there were no
Listen, you've got — how
many professional teams have you got in the country, how many have you
Well, thirty or so pro-football
How many men have you got on the
Well, we can do the multiplication -
thirty-three times thirty is nine hundred and ninety.
All right, nine hundred. How many college teams have you
got throughout the country?
Well, you have
several hundred - times ten is fifteen hundred.
All right, this is what I'm saying. This is the feeder group to the
Well now that we know the
mathematics of the question… the question is, do you think that without — we
still have professional football the way it was — do you think we'd still
have the same number of college teams without professional
Tell me about — do you agree with Congressman Mathias
and perhaps with what Mr. Zimman implied, that it maybe all right — and Mr.
Rusher implied — it maybe all right to subsidize athletes so that they are
able to compete?
This will have to be a very
Well, I can't answer that
shortly, because it takes time to answer that question. Because it's unfair
to the child that is in college today trying to get an education, and his
education is hinged upon the need and the help that he can get in being able
to continue that education. Because from there is coming the leadership of
this nation and those children are in our institutions of learning
Thank you very much, Mr. Owens, for
being with us on The Advocates. Mr. Rusher.
Cynicism is so easy and we heard it tonight in respect to the Army program
to help the athletic members of the Army. I think it is worth noting that
one soldier was sent from Vietnam to Sapporo to play on the American hockey
team in the recent Olympics and I don't think he was just loafing or on any
special cushy assignment in Vietnam.
you, Mr. Rusher. And now let's return to Mr. Miller and his rebuttal
argument in favor of opening up the Olympics to professional
The example of what our words do to
us is Mr. Zimman's testimony that there are no athletic scholarships or the
ones in the Army program are not there because they are athletes. Of course
they are a.id of course they are athletic scholarships. We go through all of
these contortions and even Congressman Mathias thinks there ought to be a
subsidy — there ought to be different rules, we ought to allow coaching. Of
course we should and today we don't. The result is harmful. To talk to us
directly about that harmful result, I've asked to join us tonight, Bud
Welcome to The Advocates, Mr.
Mr. Collins is a TV sportscaster and
columnist for The Boston Globe. Mr. Collins is there widespread evasion and
so-called under-the-table payments to Olympic athletes?
Well, I don't know if you can say that of Olympic
athletes themselves, Howard, but I think what really makes me upset about
the whole thing is this term 'amateur'. You show me a true-blue amateur,
I'll show you a virgin hooker…it's as simple as that. It just doesn't exist.
And these people like Avery Brundage -- you know Avery Brundage of course is
J. Edgar Hoover in disguise -- he died many years ago and they've
perpetuated the myth of Avery Brundage. But these people are trying to
perpetuate something that Mr. Mathias holds dear, we all hold dear, but it's
a phony concept. There is no amateurism. We don't respect amateurism really
and we spend most of our time' trying to get around it to preserve an
appearance of amateurism. Now Harold Connolly couldn't make any money as a
hammer thrower. And he got very upset, Jesse, when you said the Olympics
were for the young. He's forty years old and he's going back there this
year. Maybe forty is young the whole thing about Harold Connolly being
professional — he doesn't want to be a professional, he wants to be an
athlete. He wants to put forth excellence and honesty. When he tells his
kids -- I'm sure Harold Connolly if someone came up here and questioned him
closely could show somewhere he had probably broken one of these Olympic
rules. But he's been very clever and skirted them as all athletes must skirt
them and all Harold Connolly wants to tell his kids is that he's been the
best in what he's doing and that he’s been honest about it and has said he’s
an athlete, not an amateur.
In fact, Mr.
Collins, does success in the Olympic games yield later material
Oh sure, they must — just as success
in the Olympics has yielded success to Mr. Mathias now. Who would vote for
him? Who would ever have heard of him if he hadn't been in the Olympics? And
I don't mean that certainly as anything derogatory. Why shouldn't he
capitalize on his excellence as an athlete? Anyone who saw him in London in
1948 as I did would have been very thrilled by his performance. But why call
him an amateur? He was a professional athlete. He was given a scholarship to
perform. Nothing wrong with that! Nothing wrong with that! That's where I
think we have to differentiate here.
would being more candid about letting professionals participate, being more
candid about what we're doing, would that cut down on participation as has
been implied or would that really increase it?
Oh no, because everyone know that no matter what his course in life was —
whether he signed with the Boston Celtics, the Montreal Canadiens, the
Cleveland Indians, he could still someday compete for this country if he
were the best. And he might not be the best certainly. But I think what we
want to see in the Olympics is the best of everyone gathered in a great
festival. Certainly Mr. Mathias and Mr. Owens who've been part of this know
that there's nothing like this festival of great athletes from all over the
world gathering together.
Mr. Collins, let me
break in at this point because Mr. Rusher wants to ask you a few
Yes, Mr. Collins, you saw as we all
did, that spectacular example of athletic overkill at the beginning of Mr.
Miller's case where he showed us the imaginary 'open' basketball team. You
Pretty good team.
It certainly was. But isn't it a fact that the U.S.
amateur Olympic basketball team has won every Olympic basketball competition
Absolutely! And I don't think
that's our point... Yes sir, go right ahead.
What could the pros have done? Run up the score?
Who cares? These are all pros too, that's our point. These boys are
subsidized to play basketball for their colleges.
Why was it necessary if we have won every single basketball competition
from the beginning, to put on the team that Mr. Miller showed at the
To have the best there. You're being
nationalistic, we haven't been. We don't care about gold medals.
I'm not being nationalistic, I'm merely inquiring what
they could have done?
They would have
won...they would have won, to answer your question.
Do me a favor, let's be internationalistic. What would
have been the effect on other countries?
they're using their best and we'd be using our best.
Yes, and they would be absolutely out of the
competition, As far as that goes, further than they are today.
come on! You think they'd beat the pros by more than they beat the
There’re only forty minutes in a
So that the pros could only run up a
certain score. Tell me - er - how many tennis tournaments, now that tennis
is open, have been won by amateurs? Or, are won by amateurs?
Well, tennis is no longer open. Tennis is having its
problems too. But tennis has come out with one good thing Mr.
I'd like you to answer the
Yes, one major tournament in that
span -- Arthur Ashe won the U.S. Open....
out- of five hundred?
That's right. One of
about five that year. Then they all.
Well, you're wrong.
No, I'm not. I'm quoting at least, if I'm
William F. Talbot, chairman of the 1972
U.S. Open Championship is wrong, because he's the one from whom I have the
He's wrong, and you’re right? I'll go this far with you
and say one of you is wrong, Mr. Collins.
Tell me, when did an amateur last win
an open golf tournament in the United States? If you're an authority on
I'm not an authority because I
can't remember back that far.
Fifteen years ago.
Is that when it was? Thank
Uh huh. Fifteen years ago. So this is
what happens to amateurs when we open up the games.
Wait a minute I What has happened to amateurs?
What has happened to amateurs in the case of tennis
which you're familiar.
No, nothing has
happened to amateurs. They have their own competitions for purebred amateurs
but the best rise up to the top in open competition, which is what we want
from the Olympics.
What is the Olympics but an
open competition for purebred amateurs?
it isn't. We've proven that.
Well, yes, but it
certainly is not for those who are in the game for profit is it?
We have said nothing about being in the game for profit,
we have ...
Well, I have, however.
You have, but we have said we want the best. That's
Should the Golden Gloves admit
Because it's for people who get
absolutely no compensation I believe. But we have shown that the athletic
scholarships, and the subsidy by countries — which Mr. Mathias says we
should have, and we agree that we should have.
How about college athletics? Should they be open to pros?
They're all pros now!
pros now. That's a pretty sweeping statement.
Well, anybody you care about.
You're an expert
at the sweeping statement — "ALL PROS NOW!" How about Little League
baseball? They're "ALL PROS NOW” too ?
betch your life. You see that's where we want honesty, Mr. Rusher. They're
all pros from Peewee football, Pop Warner football ....
I must say, Mr. Collins, that with the particular
jaundiced view you have of life and of people, I don't think there’d be an
awful lot to lose by opening the Olympics to pros. Let me ask you one last
question. You say that admitting pros to the Olympics would insure that the
best athletes would win, but don’t you think that the best athletes
Would attend - not win.
The best, presumably would be competing but it would be
the best money could buy.
No, I don't think
Because some of them wouldn't compete.
The price wouldn't be high enough.
And so you'd have the spectacle perhaps of
a planning an Olympic team with Bobby Orr on it but Bobby Orr holding out
for a hundred thousand but Texaco wouldn't pay him that - would only pay him
seventy-five or something like that.
have to find another hockey player
to find another hockey player and he wouldn't be the best, wind up with less
than the best.
On that note gentlemen, I'm
going to have to interrupt. Thank you very much. And Mr. Miller, you have
one minute to summarize your case
those horrors simple don't occur where there's international professional
competition as in World Cup soccer which does not have competing promoters,
luring the players away. What are the goals of the Olympic games? Suppose we
could say they are honesty and excellence: the way the games are run now,
they are unfortunately neither honest nor excellent. And it is not cynicism
to say so, it is simply to call for those standards. Honestly requires doing
what in fact Congressman Mathias, and apparently Mr. Rusher, do want to do,
which is to subsidize they can compete in the Olympic games. That major
revision in the Olympic rules and what today would call 'professional'.
Excellence requires letting everyone compete and have the best man win.
Those goals of honesty and excellence are what the Olympic games are about
and when we remind ourselves of that and move them to that we shall have
better athletes and better games.
Mr. Miller. Mr. Rusher, you too have one minute to summarize your
We have been speaking tonight mostly
about the modern Olympics. And I hope that you have not allowed all the
charges of hypocrisy and secret subsidies to distract you entirely from the
proud and wholly honorable record of the great Americans like Bob Mathias
and Jesse Owens who never took a dime for their magnificent achievements and
who have appeared here tonight to ask your vote against this proposal. But
in closing let me tell you a little bit about the ancient Olympics. They
were held uninterruptedly for eleven hundred years. In the beginning, like
the modern Olympics, they were for amateurs only. But after the conquest of
Greece by Rome, the Romans slowly muscled their way into the games and began
that very process of professionalizing them that has been urged upon you
tonight. By the fourth century of the Christian era, the scandals and
controversy had become so widespread that the Emperor Theodosius finally had
to abolish the Olympics altogether. Let's not make the same mistake all over
again. Let the professionals have their own contests, but let's keep the
Olympics as they are and were always meant to be!
Thank you, gentlemen. Now it's time for you at home to act and to
express your views on tonight's question. The question you'll be voting on —
and first let me add that you should write to us at The Advocates, Box 1972,
Boston 02134 — but the question you'll be voting on is this: "Should the
Olympics be open to professional athletes?" Send us your yes or no vote in a
letter or»on a postcard. We will tabulate your views and make them known to
members of Congress and to the White House and others concerned with the
issue. Every one of your votes is important. So remember that address, The
Advocates, Box 1972, Boston 02134. Recently The Advocates debated the
question: "Should gambling be legalized?" Of the more than 2100 viewers
across the country, who sent us their votes, 903 - or 41% - were in favor of
the proposal, and 1268 - or 58% - were opposed. Eleven expressed other
views. And now let's look ahead to next week.
(Promo for Statewide School funding show)
Thanks to our advocates, and to our witnesses. I'm Michael Dukakis. Please
join us again next week at the same time. Thank you and good
The Advocates as a program takes no
position on the question debated tonight. Our job is to help you understand
both sides more clearly. This program was recorded.