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Original Issue


Spicy Stuff

I like to think ofthe Bengals as a bowl of Cincinnati chili and Chad Johnson (It's Good to BeChad, Oct. 30) as the hot sauce. The chili is pretty good in its own right, butwhen you add that sauce—it's just soooo much better.
Deb Price, Independence, Ky.

Disco Bengal

I'm sure Johnsonhad a serious jones to grace the cover of SI. How ironic then that he wouldappear on the cover looking like Grace Jones (left).
Jeff Funnekotter, Calgary

Do I have to buyinto Chad Johnson, Good Guy? When compared to Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, Iguess I do. But—his sometimes rocky upbringing aside—when Johnson acknowledgesthat he's missing time with his kids and their mothers, yet can find time tohang with his friends in South Beach, I find it a much harder sell.
Mark A. Tyrrell, Huntington, N.Y.

If Johnson, whohas fathered four children with more than one woman and drives his convertibleLamborghini around the Miami area at close to 100 mph, is the "positive badboy," I would really hate to see what the really bad boys are like.
Kathryn Dolan, Andover, Mass.

This summer Ilogged on to's Classic Covers search engine to see how many times theBengals had graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. The result: only twice inthe past 17 years. Now they've been out front three times in the last sixmonths. Talk about moving up in the world.
Brad Burke, Peoria, Ill.

Buc Up

I was thumbingthrough my new SI and wondering if any mention would be made of thegame-winning 62-yard field goal kicked by Tampa Bay's Matt Bryant when I cameto a glorious two-page spread of the winning kick captured forever in print(Leading Off, Oct. 30). The fine line between winning and losing is clearlyshown in the photo, with scant inches between the outstretched hands of theEagles' special teams unit and the ball.
Ray Krause, Hope Valley, R.I.

House ofCards

Thanks to TomVerducci for writing what many baseball traditionalists believe: that thewild-card era has robbed the World Series of its integrity (A Series of UnusualEvents, Oct. 30). It's no longer a match between the best teams in each league.Second place—or mediocrity in the case of the Cardinals—is good enough to getin, and the commissioner, far from being embarrassed, is happy to keep the F oxTV money rolling in.
Michael Bink, Northville, Mich.

Does the regularseason mean anything anymore? The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl as theNo. 6 seed from the AFC; George Mason reached the Final Four as an 11th seededmid-major; the Edmonton Oilers got to the Stanley Cup finals as the eighth andfinal seed in the West with only a. 500 regular-season record; and now the St.Louis Cardinals earn a trip to the World Series with only 83 wins.
Joseph Ragozzino, Passaic, N.J.

Crime andPunishment

Count me amongthe thousands of Americans you hear applauding Rick Reilly's comments on theBALCO fiasco and the price the two reporters are likely to pay (Life of Reilly,Oct. 30). I would like to think that the mail Reilly gets could be bundled andshipped to the Oval Office—accompanied by someone who would read it and explainit to the president.
J. R. Hudson, West Des Moines

The foundingfathers recognized—and put in the U.S. Constitution—the need for a strongpress. The press, however, like every institution created in the name offreedom and democracy, is limited by rules and laws. When members of the presscome to believe that they know better than the law and that the end justifiesthe means, then the risk of the fourth estate's abusing its enormous power istoo great. It may not be fair if the two reporters go to jail, but it is thelaw, and personally, I'd rather see that than a press or a government (seeNixon, Richard M.) that believes laws are merely behavioral suggestions and canbe ignored in favor of a personal agenda. By the way, I also agree that theseguys deserve a Pulitzer Prize.
Peter V. Gelderman, Trumbull, Conn.

I'm only 13, butI don't understand how the Giants' Barry Bonds gets to break home run recordswhile the Chronicle's Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams are likely to spend18 months in prison. Ridiculous.
Ben Bartelmay, New Buffalo, Mich.

Reilly hasuncovered the answers to some of the burning questions that have been keepingme up at night: Who is responsible for the BALCO steroid scandal? And who isresponsible for the two San Francisco Chronicle reporters' breaking the law andsubsequently being sentenced to prison? Now, thanks to Reilly, we know. Is itVictor Conte? No. Is it the two reporters themselves? No! It's George W. Bush!I agree with Mr. Reilly. Let's look the other way and completely ignore the lawconcerning the disclosure of grand jury testimony. Perhaps, then, these tworeporters can remain at liberty to investigate whether President Bush is alsoresponsible for the pine tar smear on Kenny Rogers's hand, Terrell Owens'soverdose and the Bowl Championship Series.
R.T. Christopher, Wilmington, Del.

Reilly's columnon Fainaru-Wada and Williams is a public service. Perhaps they'll win thePulitzer while they're in jail. Surely justice and decency will eventuallyprevail.
Margye S. Baumgardner, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Cold Comfort

I enjoyed MichaelFarber's Farm-Fresh, NHL Ready (Oct. 30) about the four Staal brothers: Eric,Marc, Jordan and Jared, the first and third of whom are already playing in theNHL. I'm not a hockey enthusiast, but every true sports fan can appreciate kidswho are "impervious to the lung-searing Ontario winter"—or those whotake batting practice in 100° weather, scrape snow off the basketball court orare willing to tackle a football carrier into a mud hole. It's nice to knowthere are still some young athletes who are committed to sports and to beinggood citizens. Thank you, Mr. Farber.
Jay Kennedy, Frankfort, Kans.

Home Games

Homeschooled kidsdon't belong in high school sports (High School Players, Oct. 30). Theirparents forfeited that opportunity when they took their children out oftraditionally organized schools. Participation in interscholastic sports is aprivilege, not a right, earned through a combination of regular attendance,passing grades and good citizenship—none of which can be verified withhomeschoolers. If these parents want to teach their kids at home, perhaps theyshould start with the lesson that choices have consequences. Apparently, schoolteachers aren't good enough for these kids, but coaches are?
Tom Danehy, Tucson

Owl Power

The Templefootball team, based on its play on the field, has been in a dismal class byitself for a long time. Their donation of $1,500 in meal money, however, to theNCAA-approved trust fund designed to aid Clemson freshman safety Ray RayMcElrathbey—who has custody of and is raising his 11-year-old brother,Fahmarr—shows a different kind of class (Scorecard, Oct. 30). Congratulationsto Temple for making college football fans proud.
Chuck Clausius, Landenberg, Pa.

Mountain Men

The excellentMile-High Low (Inside the NFL, Oct. 30) quotes Denver Broncos middle linebackerand defensive captain Al Wilson as "past worrying about whether the mediasays I'm one of the best linebackers in the game," compared with Chicago'sBrian Urlacher and Baltimore's Ray Lewis. That's not surprising. QuarterbackJohn Elway is the only Bronco to be inducted into the Football Hall of Fame asa Bronco. Denver's Steve Atwater, Randy Gradishar, Floyd Little, KarlMecklenburg and Gary Zimmerman are among those not honored in Canton, but theyprobably would be had they played for a big-city team such as the Giants or theBears. Wide receiver Rod Smith has certainly had a Hall of Fame career, butwill he be honored as he should?
Budd Pippin, Venice, Fla.

The SportingNudes

I enjoyed SteveRushin's Stuck on the Package Tour column (Air and Space, Oct. 30) about howthose who cover sports often find themselves confronting male nudity. As asmall-town sportswriter, I have had my own experiences in this area, mostrecently just a few weeks ago when a high school defensive back was so excitedthat I wanted to interview him after his game that he didn't bother to finishshowering before coming out to talk to me.
Erik Hall, La Salle, Ill.

Since Rushin grewup in Minnesota, I'm surprised he didn't mention the most infamous case ofnudity ever in Eden Prairie. In 1987 North Stars rightwinger Dino Ciccarelliwalked to the end of his driveway to get the newspaper while wearing only hisT-shirt—exposing what I guess could be called his "little dinosaur." Asit turned out, Dino was spotted by a neighbor's child, and the neighbor calledthe police.
Tim Hocking, Des Moines

School Bus

As an alumnus ofFurman, it was great to read Franz Lidz's article showcasing some of thefootball stars of Division I-AA (Good Hands People, Oct. 9). I only wish he hadmentioned Furman junior running back Jerome Felton. Through 10 games he has runfor 636 yards and has scored 22 of the Paladins' 29 running touchdowns,including six against Western Carolina. At 6 feet, 248 pounds, he must have NFLscouts looking his way. Hopefully some of those scouts are from Pittsburgh,and, remembering Jerome Bettis, they see a purple-clad "bus" wreakinghavoc on the Southern Conference.
Josh Loughren, Fort Lauderdale

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 MOVINGTHE PILE A punishing back, Felton is a star on short-yardagedowns.