This is a hard-hitting letter to the editor sent to Newsday by Gene Borio of It draws attention to the mainstream media bias in the coverage of the renaming of the National Tennis Center.

Your Sept. 1 editorial "Drug Pushing" said "Lying is as natural to tobacco executives as breathing." The editorial cited Judge Gladys Kessler's Federal Court ruling which found that the industry's deceitful activities have led to "a staggering number of deaths per year, an immeasurable amount of human suffering and economic loss." Your outrage was triggered by just one example of what the Court also found: that the fraud is still going on today.

And yet, Newsday this week has gushingly eulogized Billie Jean King, a woman who shamelessly advanced tobacco's cause for over 30 years. Your articles not only pointedly omitted the name of her Virginia Slims tour which helped brand cigarettes as a badge of women's freedom, they also failed to note that King was a Philip Morris board member when many shameful acts -- delineated in the Kessler verdict-- occurred. At the USTA ceremony King even thanked one of those "lying...tobacco executives" you refer to: Philip Morris' Joseph Cullman III. Cullman was also mentioned in the Kessler's verdict--but not thanked.

Within the next few years, as the disease toll from Ms. King's activities comes due, and as the industry's depredations continue to be exposed, her name will rightfully be removed from the Tennis Center.

If addiction, disease and death is now accepted as the cost of success, then ethics in tennis has certainly come a long way down, baby.

Gene Borio

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