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Wed., April 30, 1997, midnight

Tough love

When he was on scholarship as a long jumper at the University of Idaho, Orde Ballantyne wouldn’t stand for the national anthem - so there’s no reason he should have been expected to when he attended last summer’s Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Except that his mother was watching.

And now he’s been given a four-year suspension as track coach for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Olympic team because his mom - in her role as chief of the island nation’s delegation - ratted him out.

Gloria Ballantyne reported to the national Olympic committee that her son refused to stand for the United States national anthem at the Opening Ceremonies. Orde Ballantyne explained that he does not stand for any national anthem except St. Vincent’s.

“They have no constitutional right to ban me,” Ballantyne said. “They can recommend to my association what type of disciplinary action they would like to see take place, but they cannot ban me.”

Mom, however, may still send him to his room.

There’s no fool like an old fool

Unless it’s a young one. Keyshawn Johnson says he’s patched up his differences with Jets offensive coordinator Ron Erhardt - no matter what appears on the printed page.

The second-year receiver said last week at a book-signing in Manhattan that he and Erhardt spoke for more than 20 minutes about Johnson’s comments in his book, “Just Give Me the Damn Ball!” Erhardt was described in the book as an “old fool” and his offense was repeatedly characterized as unfriendly to Johnson’s talents.

“We discussed the book and the upcoming season,” Johnson said. While Johnson said he did not write the book primarily to discuss football - “I wrote it for the kids, so that they could know how to realize their dreams” - the football part has become a sensation at Jets’ camp.

“Coach Erhardt came into the weight room and said he wanted to talk to me,” Johnson said. “I explained to him I was writing about 1996 and this is 1997.”

Making Erhardt an older fool now, we presume.

Be a good sport, all ways

Delegates at the last NCAA convention were not given the opportunity to endorse motherhood or apple pie. But sportsmanship passed, 318-8.

That was the vote on a proposal to add the following words to Bylaw 23.2.1: “and (g) Embrace the principles of sportsmanship and ethical conduct.” Among Division I institutions, the tally was 114-2 - with only Cal and USC weighing in against the measure.

“We thought it was another exercise in empty ritual,” said Cal faculty athletic rep Jack Citrin.

The Trojans, on the other hand, are simply poor sports.

Brace yourself

Mario Mendoza established a baseball standard as a weak-hitting infielder back in the 1970s. Now, any player who hits less than .200 is said to be under the “Mendoza line.”

Now there’s a new standard for pitchers. It seems the Anaheim Angels’ No. 2 starter has a 3-0 record in the early going with a 2.45 earned run average.

That, for the moment, would be the Jason Dickson line.

Until he goes south, of course.

The last word …

“Hamilton won’t get a pro hockey team, because then Toronto would want one.”

- Newspaper reader in Edmonton, on Hamilton’s bid for an NHL expansion franchise

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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