In our six years, we have made some really dumb mistakes, but this one ranks as the dumbest to date.
In a story on the sports page in last week’s issue about the retirement of Tommie Smith, an Olympic gold medal winner, an American hero as well as a local hero, we ran a photograph of Smith.
Here’s the dumb part. It wasn’t a photograph of Smith. It was someone else – Lord knows who, we certainly don’t. Compounding the dumbness, we also ran the shot on the front page.
After Smith won the gold medal in the 1968 games, he settled in here, coaching track at Santa Monica College, and running the Santa Monica Track Club, which was almost as legendary as Smith himself, and home to countless champion runners.
Smith, a quiet, modest man, never boasted and seldom even talked about his own accomplishments, but was quick to praise his team members. Chances are that if he saw the photo of the mysterious stranger illustrating a story about his retirement, he would have ignored it, but his friends and admirers called us and the SMC athletic department to protest.
We offer profound and profuse apologies to Smith, his family, his friends and our readers, along with a photo of the actual Tommie Smith.Peggy Clifford, Editor