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The reason those jerks in the NFL are so adept at stupid gestures
is that they no longer block or tackle.
--DICK PERRY, Marcellus, N.Y.


If the essence of good writing is to help you feel what it's like
to be in a place you've never been, then Shall We Dance? by Leigh
Montville in the Dec. 6 issue is the best. Never been there. Felt
like I had. Will see football differently.

Orlando Brown of the Cleveland Browns says, "I love to see people
bleed." I've never read a more disgusting quote, and I can't
imagine that Brown meant it. If he did, he needs psychological
ERIC FERBER, Freeport, N.Y.

An article on two mediocre, overpaid linemen who helped their
teams to a collective six wins this season, barely respect each
other and say their objective is to hurt the other? The same
story could have been written about Bruce Smith and his battles
with any number of offensive linemen. The difference: That piece
would have included confrontations during conference championship
games and Super Bowls.
GREG MATZ, East Lansing, Mich.


Richard Hoffer is off base when he states that the throat-slash
gesture is fun (SCORECARD, Dec. 6). I am a practicing emergency
medicine doctor, and the kids I take care of who have been
stabbed, beaten or shot most often come into the ER wearing pro
team gear. These victims look up to pro athletes and emulate
them. To condone a gesture in the NFL that is so inherently
violent is asinine.
JAMES A. DAVIS, Charlotte

O.K., SI, which is your view? The rock 'em, sock 'em piece taking
the NFL to task for not being trashy enough or Steve Rushin's AIR
AND SPACE column three pages earlier taking the NFL to task for
allowing too much mugging and slashing? I certainly hope it is
the latter.
DAVID M. HOWARD JR., New Orleans


Rick Reilly's column about the troubles marathoner Khalid
Khannouchi has with the Immigration and Naturalization Service
had my wife and me laughing (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Dec. 6). My wife
is from Europe, and we have been enjoying our own endlessly
frustrating series of trials and tribulations with the INS.
Khannouchi is lucky to have friends in high places. Being told
that he has to wait 10 months for an interview may seem
outrageous to Reilly, but we have been told we will not see an
interview room for at least two years. The bureaucracy at the INS
makes clear that in our nation of immigrants, new arrivals are
unwelcome even if they run the marathon in 2:05:42.
MAURO STAIANO, Arcata, Calif.

As a parent of adopted children from overseas, I have also
experienced the frustrations of this agency that seems to take
forever to get the right paperwork in the right hands. I don't
doubt for a minute Khannouchi's sincerity, and I'm sure he's a
nice guy. However, each INS case represents a human being, and
many of those human beings are orphans, destitute refugees or
others whose circumstances are equally catastrophic. In our
celebrity-driven society, athletes expect expeditious treatment
whenever they desire something and are usually able to attract
the attention of the Chuck Schumers, Sue Kellys and Rick Reillys
of the world. So an athlete cuts in line to get his papers
stamped, and another infant waiting for approval dies of
FRANK LAMSON, South Royalton, Vt.

On behalf of America's high school runners, thank you. With few
U.S. distance runners to look up to, this generation of
cross-country and track athletes must turn to past greats like
Steve Prefontaine. Seeing the world's greatest marathoner run for
the red, white and blue would mean everything to American
JASON JONES, Bedford, Texas


Your auto racing awards were an insult to a great driver (INSIDE
MOTOR SPORTS, Nov. 29). CART's Juan Pablo Montoya accomplished
far more than Tony Stewart did. He won the championship as a
rookie, which Stewart did not. He also set a CART rookie record
for wins, with seven, while Stewart had only three in Winston
Cup. Montoya also led his series in wins this season, which not
even your Driver of the Year, Dale Jarrett, was able to do.
Montoya is the clear Rookie of the Year.
ROSS RAPOPORT, West Hartford, Conn.

While I admire what Stewart did on the Winston Cup circuit,
calling him a rookie is the same as having a guy who started four
or five years in the Canadian Football League and won a Grey Cup
come to the NFL and be called a rookie. Kudos to Stewart, but
let's call him what he is--a transfer from the Indy Racing League.
KEITH E. VILSECK, Lexington, Ky.



If Rick Reilly's column is to be taken at face value, Khalid
Khannouchi's bid for naturalization should be expedited with all
deliberate speed. It sounds like Khannouchi is already a better
U.S. citizen than many of us who count citizenship among our