Tuesday, September 27, 2016

the last book I ever read (American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst, excerpt nine)

from American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin:

Jack Scott was born in 1942 and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where his father ran a prosperous family tobacco business until his alcoholism drove the operation into ruin and his family into near destitution. Jack found a refuge from his chaotic home on the playing fields of his high school, where he captained the football team and set records as a sprinter. He was offered athletic scholarships to Villanova and Stanford. He spent a year at each school before a foot injury ended his athletic career and cost him his scholarship. The stark reality of college sports, where an injury could cost a student his education, left him with a sour impression. Scott spent a year in Greenland, graduated from Syracuse, then went west to Berkeley to study for a Ph.D.

Even before he received his doctorate, Scott made a national name for himself. He founded the Institute for the Study of Sport and Society, which aimed to capture and focus national attention on the exploitation of athletes in the college and pro ranks. Scott’s group challenged the authority of coaches, denounced racism in sports, and questioned the medical treatment of athletes. Scott helped write Dave Meggyesy’s 1970 best-selling insider’s account of playing in the NFL, which described rampant drug use and violence against women. As sports editor for Ramparts, a counterculture magazine based in San Francisco, Scott made exactly the enemies he wanted. Spiro Agnew, the vice president of the United States and a great sports fan, denounced Scott by name for questioning the verities of the national pastimes. The most famous visitor to Scott’s institute in Berkeley was Bill Walton, the UCLA center who was at the time the best college basketball player in the country; later, Walton and Scott would become close friends.

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