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Original Issue


Funny, you use the word sleazy on your cover regarding the XFL.
In what league do Rae Carruth, Ray Lewis and Mark Chmura play?

Football in February

Obviously the XFL has kinks to work out, but it was nice to watch
games without hearing about poor, mistreated multimillionaire
players (The X Factor, Feb. 12). If NFL players made money based
on wins and losses, they probably wouldn't wait until their
free-agency year to turn it up a notch.
J. TIMMER, Wichita, Kans.

This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse: There's something called the
XFL on the cover of the SI that showed up in my mailbox.
PHIL GLENN, Wichita, Kans.

So glad you're addressing the issue of the XFL using sleaze to
help sell itself. Would that in any way be comparable to your
swimsuit issue?
LIZ DUGGAN, Budd Lake, N.J.

No Mercy

Please spare me Mark Chmura's religious fervor (Jury's Out, Feb.
12). As a practicing Catholic, I'm offended by his using the
church as a cloak. In Catholicism the "trials" Chmura refers to
are those endured by saintly people unjustly accused. I don't
believe God views a drunken professional athlete in a hot tub
with teenage girls as someone whose faith is being tested.
MICHAEL MURPHY, San Carlos, Calif.

If I (or any guy I know) were in the situation Chmura put himself
in--underwear-clad, liquored up, hot-tubbing with high school
girls--there would be one thing on my mind: scoring. And I'm not
talking touchdowns.

I can't believe Chmura still calls himself "a role model." What's
his message? I am a hypocrite with enough money to do what I
STEPHEN E. COHEN, Alexandria, Va.

The Baltimoron

The story of Peter Angelos had a familiar ring to it
(Birdbrained, Feb. 12). I wonder if he has ever met Donald
Sterling, inept owner of the Los Angeles Clippers (Up and Down
in Beverly Hills, April 17, 2000)?

As a Red Sox and a Yankees fan (don't ask), all I have to say is,
Keep it up, Mr. Angelos.

All about Perspective

I've never been a Miami Hurricanes fan. That's changed (Butch
League, Feb. 12). What Butch Davis did to his players was
despicable. He then cries about how hard this has been for him?
The man who brought character back to Miami football has none
MARY PARENTEAU, Lancaster, Mass.

Gold-digging baseball free agents leave Cleveland fans hanging to
chase the big bucks in other cities, where they are hailed as
heroes. A gold-digging football owner abandons Cleveland fans for
the big bucks in another city, where he's hailed as a hero. Now
Davis leaves Miami to chase the bucks in Cleveland. Don't hold
your breath for any sympathy around here, Miami. Welcome to
Cleveland, Butch. It's good to have a big-time coach in our town.
Let the dirt fly. It doesn't stick. Just ask Albert Belle, Art
Modell or Manny Ramirez.
ROB DAVIS, Cleveland

Davis will find out what Buddy Ryan told Jimmy Johnson when
Johnson became coach of the Dallas Cowboys: "There ain't no East
Carolinas on his schedule now." That's a good thing for Davis,
because he lost to the Pirates the last two times he played them.

I found it curious and revealing that in the same issue that
Davis is taken to task for leaving Miami, Matt Doherty is not
criticized for leaving Notre Dame (Duked Devils). Yet in some
respects Doherty committed an act of desertion far more egregious
than Davis's. At least Davis had the decency to stay at Miami for
a reasonable amount of time. Doherty bailed on Notre Dame after
one season.
JIM TAL EVANS, Valley Center, Calif.

Lasting Impressions of Al

Having worked with Al McGuire on the NBC college basketball
circuit in the late 1970s, I enjoyed Alexander Wolff's fine
tribute (SCORECARD, Feb. 5). Al may have saved his most important
lesson for last. As he gave away the simple treasures of his
life--toy soldiers, photos, etc.--to friends and loved ones, he
made it clear he was meeting death on his terms. From his tearful
championship in '77 until his dying day, Al was the master of the
graceful exit.
TOM MERRITT, Peekskill, N.Y.

Risky Business

For those readers who think that backyard wrestling doesn't occur
frequently, I beg to differ (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Feb. 12). I know
a kid who does backyard wrestling with his brother. On two
occasions the brother had to go to the hospital for stitches in
his forehead.
Sterling Heights, Mich.

Rick Reilly's attempt to blame professional wrestling for the
acts of these idiotic kids is ridiculous. When I was a kid, my
next door neighbor thought he was Superman. He ran through his
house and leaped from the top of the basement stairs, thinking he
could fly. All he did was slam face-first into the basement wall.
Should we have banned comic books? How about the X Games? Are you
going to tell me those skateboard and bicycle stunts can't get
you killed? Stupid is as stupid does.
KEITH MCINTOSH, Lansing, Mich.

Fighting Words

I don't expect to read about animal abuse issues in SI. I want to
thank you for writing about dog fighting (SCORECARD, Feb. 12). I
shudder to think of the horrible death Diane Whipple suffered as
a result of people breeding dogs as death machines. People who
"pull lawn chairs up to the pit" to watch two animals try to
devour each other until one suffers a horrible death must be

Waxing Poetic

Steve Rushin outdid himself with his Poetry in Motion (AIR AND
SPACE, Feb. 12). Amazingly, he came up with six great poems and
never once had to resort to the line "There once was a man from
Nantucket." He has proved himself to be the Poet Laureate of
TOM GAFFNEY, West Springfield, Mass.

I greatly enjoyed Rushin's rendition of The Raven. Not only did
it consistently adhere to the style and rhythm of the Poe
classic, but it also served as an equally chilling reminder that
today's so-called sports heroes leave a great deal to be desired.
Will we see the class of legends past in the Super Bowl once
more? The likely answer: Nevermore.
JEFF RICE, State College, Pa.

In Praise of Brandel

Ever since reading his last story in SI, I've been trying to
chase down Brandel Chamblee to commiserate about having the same
shoe size. After reading his latest piece (Hanging Tough, March
5), I want to shake his hand and tell him that he and his wife
are fine people and better parents.
JOHN PEARSON, Dearborn Heights, Mich.

Unfair Rap on Phoenix

Why is it that you can only find bad things to write about the
Phoenix Open (Mood Swing, Feb. 5)? Let's not allow one bad apple
(or orange thrower) to tarnish the hard work that the Phoenix
civic organization called the Thunderbirds and others do each
year. They raise millions of dollars for different charities.
I've been attending the Open for five years with friends, and
we'll continue to do so for many years to come.
PHIL RICHARD, Minneapolis

Cheaper by the Dozen

Recreational golfers don't buy $500 drivers to cheat (No Time for
Trouble, Feb. 26). We buy a dozen illegal golf balls. Much
cheaper, and we get more distance.

Yin and Yang

Jaime Diaz points out what is known to most golfers, not just to
touring pros (NOTEBOOK, Feb. 12). Rush Limbaugh is not a rude
showoff, and he respects the game. Bill Murray is the exact
opposite and should be sent back to basketball games,
inappropriate slapstick antics and all.
KEN MCCABE, Pueblo, Colo.

As a lifelong golfer and Democrat, I don't want to know that
Limbaugh plays golf.
JAMES D. LARSON, Minneapolis

Enough Tiger, Already

Rather than write about the so-called slump of Tiger Woods
(Grating Expectations, Feb. 19), the outstanding performances of
Davis Love III and Phil Mickelson should have been your focus.

Mickelson wins the Buick Invitational in a bizarre finish. You
give the tournament one paragraph. Tiger gets three pages.
Perhaps you can explain this journalistic logic.


COLOR PHOTO: J.D. CUBAN When Mickelson (above) won the Buick Invitational, readers asked why Woods got all the ink.

Rare Missing Bird

There's one more gaffe to attribute to Mr. Angelos: his
inexplicable refusal to retain Jon Miller as the Orioles'
radioman. Summer evenings on the radio have not been the same.