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Original Issue



Regarding your article on the NBA lockout: Who cares?
--STERLING EMBRY, Gainesville, Ga.


As a typical NBA fan who had to start saving for months in
advance to take my son to see his hero, Michael Jordan, I have
trouble feeling sorry for either side in this sad dispute
(Lockout Limbo, July 20). Probably the sanest solution could be
called the Ultimate Cap: No player may earn more than $1 million
a year; no owner may earn more than $2 million profit. The rest
of the money generated would go to the local school system.
Wouldn't that put some real teeth in the NBA's Stay in School
SCOTT E. BLAKEY, Redlands, Calif.

Tom Gugliotta said the players talked it over and couldn't figure
out how to represent the league and the owners at the World
Championships in Athens. Am I missing something, Tom? I thought
you would be representing the United States.
WILLIAM J. REGAS, Indianapolis

You want me to feel sorry for Chucky Brown, "who has never made
more than $650,000"? My heart should bleed for Nazr Mohammed,
turning his back on a free education? I should choke up over the
frustrations of Tom Gugliotta after he made only $5.5 million
last season? Save the space in your magazine for articles about
sporting events and the athletes actually competing in them.
JOSH KOCH, Wichita, Kans.

Fans are the reason why any of these greedy monsters have jobs.
It is not their game, it is our game. Shut up and play ball.

Isn't it interesting that the last of the six groups mentioned
were the fans?
ROGER LOWE, Princeton, Ill.


Jeff MacGregor's article on the Mangum Rattlesnake Derby was not
just well written, it was hiss-terical (Snakes Alive!, July 27).
The proficiency of Oklahoma's snake hunters is almost enough to
make me feel sorry for the slithering creatures. Almost.

Snakes are not a "renewable long-term resource." The roundup of
snakes is purely for entertainment. I can't imagine that removing
thousands of indigenous animals can be good for the local

Would the First Ladies of Arkansas and Oklahoma have shown the
same sadistic glee while gutting a dog, stomping on a bee or
beheading a teenage driver? After all, they each kill and maim
far more people every year than do snakes. Shame on you, SI, for
giving even the slightest publicity to such redneck barbarism.
BAILEY JONES, Auburn, Ala.

The Stuart Littles that the rattlesnakes are protecting us from
are not preventing disaster, but helping to create it. Mice or
rats produce a new litter every 21 days, rattlers every 10-plus
years. Mice and rats have killed millions of people by spreading
everything from the plague to Hantavirus. Reliable records of
deaths by rattlesnakes that were unprovoked by humans are rare
and anecdotal. Mice and rats also destroy millions of dollars of
corn, wheat and other crops every year. Vietnam has learned this
the hard way. For years snakes were shipped to China as food.
Now Vietnam is overrun with rodents, and the fear of disease,
famine and starvation has caused the government to ban all
exports of snakes.
ALLEN SALZBERG, Forest Hills, N.Y.

This is not Snakes Illustrated.
SETH D. FINBERG, Fort Lauderdale

Jeff MacGregor is a very talented writer. It's just that I'm
profoundly embarrassed by the Rattlesnake Derby, a macabre event
that brings dishonor to us Oklahomans. Mr. MacGregor, please
come back. Next spring you might want to visit the Beaver
(Okla.) Cow Chip Throwing Festival. And bring Joel Sartore along
to take more terrific pictures.

COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO [Rex Hudler batting]


Thank you for mentioning Rex Hudler's retirement (SCORECARD,
July 27). It wasn't always easy to keep up with him, since he
wasn't chasing Maris. I'm glad to see that the attitude he
brought to the ballpark did not go unnoticed. I'm going to miss
his enthusiasm and dirty uniform.
ERIC TELLEZ, Las Cruces, N.Mex.