The following is an excerpted version of a letter written by Playboy representative Gary Cole on May 16, 1996 in response to an article the Carolina Blue newspaper printed about Linnea Smith and her efforts to disaffiliate college athletics departments and athletes from pornographic magazines like Playboy, and her protests against the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (Kaylor; May 4, 1996, p. 6).
     It is clear that Cole is not interested in directly addressing any of the issues Smith raises in the article, or in her work. His letter was written to the news reporter who wrote the article, not the more appropriate Letters to the Editor section. In that public space Cole would have had to defend
Playboy and SI without resorting to personal attacks, and juvenile name calling.
     As the subsequent letter by
Carolina Blue Editor clearly indicates, people can see through Playboy's strong-arm tactics, and will not allow them to censor the efforts of inquiring journalists, or prevent them from reporting on those who dislike pornography.      [(Smith in Kaylor, Carolina Blue, May 4, 1996, p. 6). See how Playboy responds to this article on Smith, and how they have responded directly to Smith].

Dear Mr. [Michael] Kaylor,
     I'm writing to you in reference to an article you wrote that was published in the May 4, 1996 edition of Carolina Blue concerning Ms. Linnea Smith. Most of the information included in the article in reference to Playboyis inaccurate and I'm sorry that you or someone at Carolina Blue didn't pick up the phone and call us to get our side of the story and check the facts before publishing the article.
     ...There have been only a handful of
players who have turned down the opportunity to accept the PlayboyAll-America designation and attend our weekend. In a few instances, it was because, as Ms. Smith states, the player felt his own personal beliefs were at odds with the philosophy of the magazine. No problem. Playboybelieves in freedom of opinion, freedom of choice, freedom of speech. In a few other instances, most particularly at North Carolina and, even more particularly, in the basketball program, players have sometimes not attended because they were pressured not to by Ms. Smith. Kenny Smith [no relation to Linnea Smith] is one example. Eric Montross is another although Ms. Smith neglects to mention that Eric did attend one Playboy All-America weekend (copy of photo enclosed). When we invited him again the next season, he told me that he wanted to come very much, that he had no problem with any aspect of Playboy or the weekend, but that Ms. and Coach Smith had 'made life miserable' for him for attending the previous year. ...In the few instances when a player has declined (Kenny Smith) and there was another player of comparable skills, we then selected the other player to receive the award. However, we do not substitute players because they can not attend the weekend if we feel they are dominant at their position and that there is no comparable player at that position. ...
      Now about our Coach of the Year award. Along with our All-America players awards, we also select a Coach of the Year. ...[M]any legendary names in coaching ... have attended our football and basketball weekends over the years. You read [the list of names] and tell me what you think about the legitimacy of Playboy's All-America preseason selection process.
      Oh, and one other coach that Ms. Smith forgot to mention. Coach Dean Smith [Linnea Smith's husband] who happened to be the PlayboyCoach of the Year 20 years ago on that very first Playboy All-America team in basketball. Coach Smith attended the weekend at the PlayboyResort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and had, as I remember, a great time.
      Ms. Smith is wrong when she indicates that schools 'pressure' any of their athletes to attend. ... And how do the schools 'profit' from activities such as the PlayboyAll-America weekend? Do they profit from the Heisman? Do they profit from being on TV? Do they profit from being featured in SI or Carolina Blue? What is she talking about?
      ...The truth of this whole controversy with Ms. Smith can be found in the fact that she finds a photo of Christie Brinkley clothed with her three-year old daughter, not clothed, to be evil or pornographic. Or that she thinks the problems of the world can somehow be solved by getting rid of the Sports Illustratedswimsuit issue. Look at studies of child abuse. Look at the histories of serial rapists, sex offenders, etc. You'll find that the vast majority of these people came from sexually repressive environments, that they had dysfunctional families, alcoholic and abusive parents, etc. Do you think the Catholic church has had so many problems with priests/sex because they all subscribe to Playboy Magazine?
      Ms. Smith is to be condemned because she cloaks her puritanism, her prudishness, her repressive attitudes in the cloth of academia and knowledge when, in fact, they are the fruits of ignorance and misinformation.
      If you are a student studying to be a reporter, please remember that you have an obligation to look for both sides of the story and to check your facts. If you're a working reporter, shame on you. I know that the Smith's have lots of clout in Carolina country. But I don't think that entitles Ms. Smith to use Carolina Blueas a slander sheet to promote her own personal philosophical agenda. If Ms. Smith's attitudes accurately reflect the editorial viewpoint of your paper, perhaps it would be better to retitle it 'Carolina Bluenose.'

Gary Cole


PlayboyAll-America Teams [Cole's actually works as Playboy's photography director]

The following is the letter (reproduced in full) written by Carolina BlueEditor John Kilgo on May 22, 1996 in response to Cole:

Dear Mr. Cole,

"Your letter to Michael Kaylor, a reporter on our staff, was arrogant, misleading, insulting to Linnea Smith, as well as a complete misrepresentation of the truth. You should be ashamed of yourself.
      Dr. Smith has demonstrated the courage to take on giant publications such as yours, and to personally attack her in the way that you did in your letter is reprehensible. Dr. Smith has explained in detail why she opposes your publication's association with college athletics, and to try to make her the villain in this case exposes your own ignorance and indifference to common decency.
      I asked Eric Montross to confirm your account of his refusal to attend one of your so-called 'weekends' ('Coach Smith made life miserable for me') and he says there's not a shred of truth to it. I wasn't surprised.
      You can rest assured that your heavy-handed letter to reporter Kaylor has been filed as garbage, recognized for what it is--yet another attempt by you and your magazine to bully individuals and publications that dare to try to shed light on a matter of great importance.
      Your personal, mean, uninformed and cheap shots at Dr. Smith are another matter all together. I have forwarded your tirade to her. She won't be surprised. She's known for a long time that going against trash peddlers is no easy challenge, especially those with big money behind them who also try to cloak themselves in the disguise of legitimate journalists.
      I'm sure your venom will only strengthen her will, as it does ours."


John Kilgo
Carolina Blue"

Coles letter continued.

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