Two well known Harvard graduates, Lieutenant Governor Roger Wolcott '70, and Civil Service Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt '80, the one at the annual dinner of the Yale Alumni Association of Boston and the other at the Harvard Club of Washington, gave their views on the football question Thursday night.
Mr. Wolcott's remarks, so far as they related to football, were as follows:
"The game of football is not free from startlingly objectionable features. The moment that game is clouded by any whisper of bitter personal animosity or intentional violence, or unfairness, it degrades the game, those who play it and the crowds of spectators who give it their approval.
"I care very little which side begins it if both are guilty of ungentlemanly play. I do not stand here to make any statement in condemnation of one side or the other, but I am compelled to recognize that this spirit has developed. It must be stopped. It is foreign to the spirit of true emulation. If the question is, what remedy can be applied? I am at a loss to answer. I should not care to vote for the suppression of intercollegiate football, but I express the sentiment of many graduates that certain things have manifested themselves that should be forever stamped out and stigmatized.
"If instead of one umpire there should be half a dozen or more, it does not meet the case. In boxing contests blows are struck too rapidly to allow the eye to follow them. When you multiply that by 11, I fail to see how half a dozen or a dozen umpires can correct this game. The correction must come from the manly opinion of the college. The alumni and undergraduates of all colleges may well work together that this disgrace shall cease. It is un-American and uncollegiate. Let each one try to raise the standard of play and say that no quarter shall be given to the unfair player.
"I have seen games at Springfield and have made it my business to inquire about rough play. The very men who are most impressed by these evil manifestations are those who know most about it and want to keep athletics on a high plane.
"I throw myself on your generosity. I am jealous of the credit of American sports, and I ask you to join all your efforts to say that bitterness and hatred shall cease. This spirit should be banished from any field where college men meet."
Mr. Roosevelt said, after declaring his inability to agree with President Eliot:
"I believe in athletics and I believe in football. We don't want to abolish football - at least not till we beat Yale.
"And I want to say right here that I decline to subscribe to the doctrine of the sacredness of the human arm or leg. What matters a few broken bones to the glories of football as an intercollegiate sport? It is all nonsense to say that football is a game that benefits only a few. Look at the youngsters on every vacant lot in Washington during the fall season playing at football! Does anybody suppose that there would be these activities if it were not for the great heroes on the big teams whom these boys read about and look up to and glorify?"
Mr. Roosevelt went on to say that he was an emphatic believer in devotion to studies and the demands of the curriculum; he would not belittle these a particle, but the student was not the most important person for the college to produce. The college should produce men first, students afterwards.