The National Broadcasting Co. left issue wide open yesterday for ACCESS reaction, picking up the John Tate-Gerrie Coetzee fight for the World-Boxing Association heavyweight championship for live showing Saturday afternoon, Oct. 20.
ACCES? That's American Coordinating Committee for Equality in Sports and Society which will be up in arms over such a favorable development for apartheidland, South Africa, in whose capital of Pretoria the bout is scheduled. Tate (19-0) and Coetzee (22-0) are to meet in a 90,000-seat rugby stadium for purses of $400,000 and $300,000, respectively.
Bob Arum, chairman of Top Rank Inc., the already under-siege New York outfit promoting the bout in collaboration with South Africa's Southern Sun hotel chain, says ACCESS is off base in its protests. The audience in Loftus Stadium, Arum said, will be "fully integrated." Arum went on to tell the New York Times he has "firm assurances" from the South African minister of sport that seating at all future boxing matches will be desegretated.
"Those signs saying black or white around the restaurant facilities, lavatories and water fountains are coming down," Arum told the Times, "and they're never going back up . . . What I'm doing is much more effective and much more appreciated by the black community of South Africa than those mindless protests that do nothing except create bitterness."
An ACCESS spokesman: "Who does Arum think he's kidding?" . . .
Another Maryland Terp getting a look in Baltimore Colt camp; Chuck White, the receiver from Woodbridge who almost made the N.Y. Jets and Hamilton Ti-Cats in '78 . . . On tap today, Shoreham-Americana, the Washington Star International's 1979 draw party making matches for the tournament starting Saturday at Rock Creek Tennis Stadium. Open to the public; free tennis clinic, 4:30 p.m., official draw at 5:30 . . . Redskins remind customers July 27 is the deadline to pick up season tickets at RFK Stadium, 9 to 6 Monday through Friday, 9 to 1 Saturdays . . .
So it's Friday the 13th. So it's also the 90th birthday of Stanley Coveleski, who came out smokin' from Shamokin, Pa., to win 171 games in nine Cleveland Indian Campaigns (plus three five-hitters over Brooklyn in the 1920 World Series), then to go 20-5 his first year with Washington to help the Senators to the 1925 pennant. Coveleski now resides in South Bend, Ind. . . .
Nolan Ryan, 81 victories shy of Coveleski's 214 aggregate, declares that after this season, I'm going into the free-agent market and determine exactly what my value is. That doesn't mean I won't be back here (in Anaheim) next year. It means I'm going to let the other clubs set the price." The Angelic strikeout king, 32, said, "I'd like to pitch another four or five years, even if it means becoming more of a curve-ball pitcher . . . I haven't been to the bank to check how many (fast balls) I have left" . . .
And a pall has fallen over Cleveland, just a couple of days after Indian President Gabe Paul brightened things up by announcing the 1981 All-Star Game will be in Municipal Stadium. Bobby Bonds, last month sounding like the world's most contended Tribesman, quietly changed his tune to a demand to be traded (from his sixth team in 13 big-league season). Bonds currently is in the second year of the five-year contract he signed with the Texas Rangers and which the Indians steadfastly refuse to negotiate (noting he makes a reported $440,000 a year as is). CAPTION: Picture, Nolan Ryan