All the Answers Fit to Print--And Even Some That Aren't

Dear Answer Man . . .

I read that Nike canceled its contract with Carl Lewis. It was something about Lewis violating the contract by wearing non-Nike apparel. What's the story?

According to my impeachable sources, Nike suspected Lewis of being unfaithful to the contract vows. So Nike hired a detective, and the shamus produced some incriminating snapshots of Lewis in bed with a pair of Puma pajamas.

Didn't Mike Ditka stoop too low when he accused Redskin defensive end Dexter Manley of having the IQ of a grapefruit?

Once again Ditka, a sensitive man, has been grossly misunderstood. His comment was meant as a compliment.

Serious botanists--is there any other kind?--consider the grapefruit to be among the most intelligent of fruits, an intellectual equal of most vegetables, in fact.

As one noted botanist told me, "Hey, check it out--grapefruits have developed an ingenious system of self-defense. They taste sour, and when attacked they squirt you in the eye."

Wasn't Walter Payton's locker room scene after his final game Sunday incredibly dramatic? Like an episode of "Green Acres." With dozens of reporters desperately sweating out deadlines, reverently gathered around his shrine--er, locker--for a quote or two, Walter leaned back and lapsed into a Zen-like coma for several minutes, then woke up and declined to speak, saving his comments for a brief statement before the TV cameras.

Who is this, Greta Garbo Jr.? Sure, it was an emotional day for Sweetness. But those humble media wretches Payton stiffed were the same ones whose prose and poetry have helped propel him into the pantheon of jock gods.

Oops, my phone is ringing. It's Walter Payton. Excuse me while I put him on hold.

What's the story behind the big colleges cutting off study of a football playoff system? Naked fear. The colleges are terrified that they might anger the bowl people and endanger the annual $50-million bowl-game bonanza.

In other words, the same colleges that supposedly teach our children to value integrity and excellence over greed have wimped out for money.

However, if every college football fan sends a dollar to the National Collegiate Athletic Assn., it will be able to afford some courage.

Houston Oiler Coach Jerry Glanville calls a gimmicky "Stagger Lee" play to open the game, and it blows up in his face. What an idiot, eh?

Actually Glanville has the IQ of a grapefruit. The press, the public and often the players criticize coaches for becoming ultra-conservative in big games, being afraid to take risks.

So this coach shows guts and imagination, and the play backfires because a veteran running back drops a pass your mom could catch in her apron.

In my book, Grapefruit Glanville is a hero.

Don Mattingly signed his Yankee contract and said, "There's not a club out there that can beat us." What do you think? Is there a club out there that can beat the Yankees?

Just one. The Yankees.

What do you think of the Chicago Cubs naming Billy Williams their special player consultant?

I'm a little suspicious, since the Cubs don't have any special players to consult.

It would have been nice if the Cubs had hired Williams as manager, but when you have a chance to hire a proven genius like Don Zimmer, you jump, baby.

For Williams, this has got to be like running for governor and being elected grand marshal of the parade.

What do you think of this? Larry Holmes' manager says Larry won't attend any press conferences before his fight with Mike Tyson, because "This fight doesn't need hype."

That's wonderful. It's usually the other way around.

When he signed to pitch for the Dodgers, Don Sutton said, "I decided to pitch again in 1988 when all the jobs I applied for were taken." What jobs did he apply for? Manager? Broadcaster?

Peanut vendor. No agreement could be reached because Sutton wanted to work only six innings. Besides, the Dodger concessionaire worried that fans would be complaining about scuffed peanuts.

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