Bob Ryan


To the Editors of The Crimson:

In its article on the Institute of Politics' study groups for next fall, The Crimson failed to mention exactly why Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan was chosen. I can only assume, then, that his group's subject will not be "Racism in Sports"--the only topic which he is qualified to discuss.

Ryan is a choice which should be disturbing to the entire Harvard community. True, he is well respected among national basketball writers, but that is most likely because they, not reading him daily, are not constantly bombarded with his pro-Celtic drivel. I have heard Harry Caray announce many Cubs games, but Ryan's biased cheerleading makes Caray sound like Judge Joseph Wapner.

What is most distressing about Ryan, though, is the undertone of racism which he uses to praise the Celtics and downgrade the accomplishments of the NBA's other fine (predominantly Black) athletes. Last month, as a guest of the CBS Game of the Week's halftime show, Ryan was informed that a poll of NBA players would name Michael Jordan (65 percent) as the league's MVP over Boston's own Larry Bird (19 percent). In response, Ryan used this poll as evidence for his theory that the players are "too stupid to understand" their own game. Is it Black Jordan, despite leading the league in scoring and steals, who cannot figure out the game, or the league as a whole, 78 percent Black, which lacks intelligence.

At best, Ryan's comment represents a condescending attitude wholly inappropriate for a person in his profession; at the other end of the spectrum is the type of racism which has terminated the careers of Al Campanis and Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder. Either way, Bob Ryan can only be an embarassment to the Institute of Politics and its educational goals. Jim E. Golen '89