We humans will forever struggle with our place in this world, and few of us want to admit our faults. S.L. Price's piece on Ray Lewis showed a balance between brokenness and redemption in a man who has become one of the NFL's most beloved and hated players (The Gospel According to Ray, Nov. 13). Price gave no excuse for Lewis's behavior, but he explained Lewis's background, leaving the judgment to the reader.
Nikki Troxell, Spencer, S.D.
As a youth ministry leader I have had enough of athletes covering their bad acts and irresponsible decisions by proclaiming to be disciples of God. Lewis is perceived as a villain because of what he has done, not because of some "master plan." His "trials" are the result of his own arrogance, entitlement and poor decision-making.
Michael Bricker, Harrisburg, Pa.
Pity poor Ray Lewis. He lost his street cred—outside of Baltimore, anyway—for testifying, sort of, against his thug pals but gained no good-citizen points because the web of lies he orchestrated resulted in a not-guilty verdict in a double-murder case. Perhaps he should open his Bible to Galatians 6:7, "...for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Thomas M. Moriarty, Niantic, Conn.
If Ray Lewis is "God's linebacker," as your cover says he is, then O.J. Simpson is God's running back.
Zack Faris, Batavia, Ohio
Patriotism, charity and religion are the last refuges of a scoundrel.
Allan Silverstein, Hamden, Conn.
I'm glad Lewis is making progress in his life, but his preaching is deficient. The Bible doesn't say, "Use a condom." It states unambiguously that sexual activity of any sort is to be restricted to married couples. God does care about "how many women you see." He wants you to "see" one. Also, the greatest gift a man can give his child is the indelible image of being committed to the child's mother.
Reverend Robert McLeod, Oracle, Ariz.
I wonder how the friends and families of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar—the two men whom Lewis was charged with murdering—felt when they saw his picture on the cover of SI?
Rob Picciotto, Brooklyn
Lewis appears to be mixed-up: Jesus was persecuted, Ray was prosecuted.
Ed Glass, Albuquerque
Sooner the Better
Steve Rushin's column about Carl Pendleton's giving up football to care for his young cousin, Kierstan, really hit home (AIR AND SPACE, Nov. 13). The most important thing that needs to happen now is for Oklahoma president David Boren to step up and award Carl a complete scholarship for his postgraduate education.
David H. Schock, Emerald Isle, N.C.
I am a physician who specializes in sports medicine, and I want to thank Rick Reilly for his illuminating column on Giants running back Tiki Barber (LIFE OF REILLY, Nov. 13). I can't imagine my beloved Giants without Barber, but as much as I am dismayed to see him go, I am 10 times more angered by the resounding criticism of him for leaving the game. Memories fade and new ones are created, but cartilage is irreplaceable. As doctors we can fix many things, but we cannot yet fix arthritis. The pain and debilitation are forever.
Dr. Andrew M. Blecher, Los Angeles
Reilly quotes Michael Irvin describing Barber as a quitter. I wonder if Irvin would say the same thing about Jim Brown, who left the NFL when he saw fit. One thing is certain: He wouldn't dare say that to Brown's face.
Jim Primock, Boulder, Colo.
If you have to paralyze yourself in order to be put on the list at Canton, maybe we should rename it the Hall of Lame.
John Wyatt, Dallas, Ga.
My thumb crunches and hurts when I move it, an injury I got as a 15-year-old playing the offensive line. Barber owes me nothing, and I commend him for placing his family—and his body—before thoughts of a ring or the Hall of Fame.
Tim Speciale, Iowa City
Every time athletes sign a big contract, we call them selfish. We recall those who we thought played for the love of the game, but when Barber confirmed he is going to retire and leave several million dollars on the table, we labeled him a quitter and questioned his heart.
Robert Dulgarian, Maricopa, Ariz.
Lance Armstrong breaks the three-hour barrier in his first marathon, and he's referred to as "a midpacker" (SCORECARD, Nov. 13)? According to race results, 38,368 runners started, Armstrong finished 868th overall (that puts him in the top 2.25%), and only the top 889 finishers broke three hours. The rest of us true "midpackers" would love to do that well in any marathon, let alone our first.
Andrew Hitchings, Sacramento
You should know that tennis star Kim Clijsters is Belgian, not Dutch (SCORECARD, Nov. 13). I realize many people outside of Europe still think that Belgium is part of the Netherlands or, worse yet, Germany. The world's No. 1, Justine Henin-Hardenne, is also Belgian. Not bad for a country with about the same population as greater L.A. Just because Clijsters speaks Dutch doesn't mean she is Dutch. Sixty percent of Belgians speak Dutch, just as most Americans speak English.
Jim Kelly, Schriek, Belgium
I take exception to labeling a fantasy Congress game as a "Sign of the Apocalypse" (SCORECARD, Nov. 13). As a high school history teacher, I have started a school league on this website. The students are extremely excited about it, and it encourages them to pay more attention to the issues being debated by our elected officials in Congress, thereby encouraging them to be attentive voters in the future.
Ryan Wandyes, Danielson, Conn.
Andre' Davis may think that he and Andra Davis are "probably the first guys to have their full names on their jerseys" (PLAYERS, Nov. 13), but Jim and Jack Youngblood wore their first and last names with the Los Angeles Rams in the 1970s and '80s.
Steven Vanderpool, Los Angeles
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MICHAEL O'NEILL (COVER)
DOUBLE TROUBLE The 1980 Rams D had two Youngbloods.