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Punished for Being a Model Citizen

Times Staff Writer

Justin Reyes, a sixth-grader, was suspended for three days from his middle school in Belpre, Ohio, across the Ohio River from Parkersburg, W.Va.

His offense? Bringing Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue to school.

NBC television affiliate WTAP in Parkersburg reported that Superintendent Tim Swarr said the magazine’s pictures of models -- some in swimsuits, some not but strategically covered -- were “in violation of school policy as set in the school handbook.”

Who would ever have thought the day would come when a young boy could get into trouble for carrying around Sports Illustrated?

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Trivia time: What year did Sports Illustrated publish its first swimsuit issue?

Rationalization: Reyes’ mother, Nicole, apparently doesn’t believe her son did anything wrong. “I doubt my 12-year-old is the only one looking at Sports Illustrated,” she told Pittsburgh’s WPXI.

Said Justin: “You saw bad stuff on the Super bowl halftime show. You could see more on that than in here.”

A different view: Michele Tafoya disagrees with Justin Reyes. “If Janet Jackson had a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ at the Super Bowl, this is a full-fledged fashion disappearing act,” she said on ESPN’s “Sports Reporters.”

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What swimsuits? Wrote Diane Bell in the San Diego Union-Tribune: “Sports Illustrated: What has gotten into you? These aren’t bathing suits. They’re minuscule ribbons of fabric.”

Money talks: Sports Illustrated senior editor Diane Smith, appearing on Charlie Rose’s PBS show, said the swimsuit issue would earn $50 million. “It’s a blockbuster by every term you can possibly say,” she said.

Another ace: The Houston Astros have already signed Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, and now comes word they have also signed Nolan Ryan. However, Ryan, who spent a record 27 years in the major leagues, isn’t going to pitch again for the Astros, his team from 1980 to 1988. Associated Press reported he has agreed to a five-year personal services contract.

Time to practice: Charlie Sheen, who played high school baseball, was a guest on Craig Kilborn’s “Late Late Show” Friday. During the taping, Kilborn called the Florida Marlins’ Josh Beckett on his cell phone and asked if he would pitch to Sheen during batting practice the next time the Marlins played at Dodger Stadium.

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Beckett agreed to do it. But the Marlins don’t play at Dodger Stadium until Aug. 16-18.

Looking back: On this day in 1980, the U.S. Olympic hockey team, the subject of the movie “Miracle,” won the Winter Olympics gold medal by defeating Finland, 4-2.

Trivia answer: 1964.

And finally: David Letterman, noting the debut of Regis Philbin’s “Super Millionaire” show, said: “A contestant can win $10 million. And you know, I was thinking, well, for Alex Rodriguez, that’s like four at-bats.”

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Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com.


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