Warning: Sports Stars May Be Hazardous to Your Health

By DeParle, Jason | The Washington Monthly, September 1989 | Go to article overview

Warning: Sports Stars May Be Hazardous to Your Health


DeParle, Jason, The Washington Monthly


Sports celebrate health. Cigarettes cause death. So what's that Marlboro sign doing at Shea Stadium?

In case you missed it, this year's press guide to the Women's International Tennis Association is an impressive volume. Its 456 glossy pages bear tribute to what the guide immodestly calls "one of the greatest success stories of the modem sports world"-how women's tennis stepped from obscurity into the limelight of the Virginia Slims circuit, where this year players will compete for more than $17 million in prize money. Just twenty years ago, the nation's best women tennis players languished before small crowds on high school courts. Now, the guide says, with their own massage therapists and "state-of-theart forecasting system," they've become "synonymous with style." They're synonymous with wealth, too: Chris Evert's $8.6 million in lifetime earnings places her a distant second to Martina Navratilova's $14 million. But most of all, they're synonymous with fine physical form. Sprinkled throughout the media guide are photos of athletes in peak physical condition: Manuela Maleeva bends "low for a forehand volley," "Hana Mandlikova intently awaits a return," "Gabriela Sabatini puts to use her smashing' backhand."

Those of us less physically gifted than Hana Mandlikova can't help but envy the strength in her legs, power in her arms, and stamina in her lungs as

she pauses, racket poised, before exploding into her backhand. It's precisely the rareness of these qualities that brings us to admire her so, and to pause a moment when looking at her picture. Because as Hana Mandlikova intently awaits a return, she does so in front of a big sign that says "Virginia Slims"-a product not known for promoting the powers of heart and lung that lie at the center of her trade. In fact, throughout the guide-not to mention the nation's sports pages and television broadcasts-we find these stars showeasing their enviable talents in front of cigarette ads. The bold corporate logo of the Virginia Slims series emphasizes the bond: a woman, sassy and sleek, holds a racket in one hand and a cigarette in the other. This is odd. Tennis champions, after all, are models of health, particularly the health of heart and lungs, where endurance is essential. And cigarette smoking, as the Surgeon General recently reminded, "is the chief avoidable cause of death

in our society"-death, more precisely, from heart and lung disease.

Struck by this seeming contradiction, I called Renee Bloch Shallouf, whom the guide lists as Media Services Manager for the players union, and asked if she, too, was impressed with the incongruity. "I think I'll defer this one over to Virginia Slims," she said. "They're the sponsor. We're just the players union. All I can do is give you a personal opinion."

"What is your personal opinion?" "Noo-hoooo," she said, keeping the answer to herself.

Shallouf ended the conversation by saying, "If I find somebody opinionated-someone willing to give their opinion-around here, I'll call you." Turning back to the media guide, I flipped to the section marked "Virginia Slims Personnel," and, to my surprise, found a familiar face on the page. There, bearing the impressive title of "Director, Worldwide Operations," was Anne Person, a college classmate of mine. Perhaps she would have some thoughts on the compatibility of tennis and tobacco. But, though she answers a phone at Philip Morris headquarters, she said she was only a "consultant" and that she worked "only on the tennis end." As for her thoughts about tobacco, she said, "I just can't do it. I don't choose to do it. . . . Regarding the tobacco issue, I don't choose to share my opinions." She suggested I call Steve Weiss, the manager of media relations for Philip Morris, U.S.A. When I did, Weiss sounded astonished. He said he found the question-is there a contradiction between the vigor of athletics and the disease caused by cigarettes? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Warning: Sports Stars May Be Hazardous to Your Health
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.