John F. Kennedy photo

Statement by Senator John F. Kennedy on National Sportsmen for Kennedy Committee

October 21, 1960

The formation of a National Sportsmen for Kennedy Committee with an all-star membership of many of the Nation's past and present sports immortals, was announced today by the Citizen's Committee for Kennedy-Johnson.

Virtually every sport is represented - from football to figure skating and from skiing to tennis. Among those listed as committee co-chairmen are such sports greats as John Unitas, Willie Mays, Leo Durocher, Bob Cousy, Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, and Gene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb.

Although the full committee is now in formation, the list of co-chairmen is already long and distinguished. These sports personalities have pledged their support to the Kennedy-Johnson Democratic ticket in the November presidential election.

Few segments of our society have contributed more to the reinforcement of our traditional values than the men and women of our sports community-

said Senator Kennedy in commenting on the committee's formatior.

Our Nation's athletes have long personified the best values of democratic society: honesty, fairplay, courage, teamwork, physical fitness, and a standard of success based on ability.

These values set the high standards for our Nation's youth.

They provide one of the best methods of combating the spread of juvenile delinquency.

I am a firm believer in the theory that one method of coping with the complex problem of juvenile delinquency is through active partiCipation in athletic competition.

In the difficult years ahead - when our Nation must lead the world to peace - we must not only be strong as a nation, but as individuals. Far too many of our young people are rejected from military service because they are in poor health or in poor physical condition. A national program of physical fitness is as important to our success as a democracy as is a national program for economic growth.

Certain members of the world community think we have gone soft, both as a nation and as individuals. They find false reinforcement for their arguments in our falling behind in the Olympic games.

As a nation that develops its athletes without stimulation from the state, we find pride in our accomplishments.

In this regard, I applaud the work of our Olympic Committee for their activities to increase interest in sports, which, as of now, are not widely known here. I sincerely hope they will continue to expand their activities in this area, and I know the American people will continue to support their work.

I hope we can have a yearly national competition - a minor Olympics - in the lesser known sports.

I also want to congratulate the A.A.U. for its encouragement of local competitions throughout the country in preparation for the Olympic games.

I applaud the athletes who, by their personal well being, their athletic conduct, and in their personal life, set the high standard by which our country must be judged-

concluded Senator Kennedy.

Following are the cochairmen of the National Sportsmen for Kennedy Committee:

Hank Aaron, Milwaukee Braves; Alan Ameche, Baltimore Colts; Henry Armstrong, former featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight boxing champion; Elgin Baylor, Los Angeles Lakers; Earl Battey, Washington Senators; Chuck Bednarik, Philadelphia Eagles; Al Besseling, leading golf money winner; Orlando Cepeda, San Francisco Giants; Terry Brennan, former all-American and head football coach, Notre Dame University; George Connor, Chicago Bears coach and former all-pro; Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics; Dan Currie, Green Bay Packers; Joe DiMaggio, former New York Yankee baseball great; Leo Durocher, former major league manager; Tom Fears, former NFL all-pro and now coach, Los Angeles Rams; Bob Feerick, athletic director and basketball coach, Santa Clara University; and Bob Friend, Pittsburgh Pirates.

Also, Gene Fullmer, world middleweight boxing champion; Willie Galimore, Chicago Bears; Joe Giardello, leading middleweight boxer; Grant Golden, amateur tennis champion; Johnny Gottselig, alltime Chicago Blackhawk hockey great; Paul Harney, outstanding golf money winner; Woody Held, Cleveland Indians; Whitey Herzog, Kansas City Athletics; and Don Hoak, Pittsburgh Pirates.

Also, Glen Hobbie, Chicago Cubs; Sam Huff, New York Giants; Art Hunter, Los Angeles Rams; Clarence Iba, Tulsa University basketball coach, Oklahoma State University; George Ireland, athletic director and basketball coach, Oklahoma State University; George Ireland, athletic director and basketball coach, Loyola University; Sam Jones, San Francisco Giants; Johnny Jordan, basketball coach, Notre Dame University; Walt Kesserling, Pittsburgh Steelers coach; George Kotlarek, former national ski jumping champion; Joe Krupa, former Purdue all-American; Fidel Labarba, former flyweight champion; Richie Lemos, former featherweight champion; Gene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb, Baltimore Colts; Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants; Mike McCormick, San Francisco Giants; Murle MacKenzie, top woman pro golfer; and Lloyd Mangrum, former national open and world championship tournament winner.

Also Jim Martin, Detroit Lions; Ralph Metcalfe, track immortal Ray Meyer, athletic director and basketball coach, De Paul University; Bob Mitchell, Cleveland Browns; Eric Monte, top pro golfer; Lenny Moore, Baltimore Colts; Willie Mosconi, former world pocket billiards champion; Ira Murchison, former track star; Stan Musial, St. Louis Cardinals; Milt Pappas, Baltimore Orioles; Eddie Perkins, leading lightweight boxer; Fritz Pollard, Jr., former track star; John Revolta, former PGA champion; Sam Richardson, Davis Cup winner; Art Rooney, president, Pittsburgh Steelers; Barbara Ann Scott, former world and Olympic skating champion; Duke Slater, former University of Iowa all-American; and Al Smith, Chicago White Sox.

Also, Joe Stydahar, former Chicago Bears all-pro; "Bud" Taylor, former pro boxer; Frank Thomas, Chicago Cubs; John Unitas, Baltimore Colts; Norm Van Brocklin, Philadelphia Eagles; Lou Varnall, basketball coach, University of the South; Frank Varrichione, Pittsburgh Steelers; Jersey Joe Walcott, former world heavyweight boxing champion; Mel Walker, former track star; Ron Wailer, Los Angeles Chargers; and Buddy Young, former University of Illinois all-American.

Late additions to the committee:

James J. Braddock former world heavyweight boxing champion; Buzz Fazio, crown-prince of bowling; Ron Hansen, Baltimore Orioles; Johnny King, top TV bowling money winner; Bill Lillard, former national match-game bowling champion; Eddy Lubanski, world's match game bowling champion; Nick Pietrosante, Detroit Lions; Buddy Wilson, San Francisco 49'ers; and Bill Vessels, former University of Oklahoma all-American.

John F. Kennedy, Statement by Senator John F. Kennedy on National Sportsmen for Kennedy Committee Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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