How could you putCleveland running back Jamal Lewis on the cover of your NFL training-campsissue (Game On!, Aug. 6)? Putting a Brown there is like showing a Devil Raysplayer on your baseball spring training issue or an Atlanta Hawk on your NBApreseason issue. First, those teams need to earn respect and win.
Mark Weese, Monterey, Calif.
While the veteranTour de France riders again gave us reason to doubt the legitimacy of theirsport (thank you, Alexandre Vinokourov, Iban Mayo, Michael Rasmussen, IvanBasso and Christian Moreni), the emergence of athletes like Alberto Contador,Linus Gerdemann and Juan Mauricio Soler shows the Tour will survive. I was gladto see that Austin Murphy didn't just bash the Tour (False Positive, Aug. 6);he also detailed the final time trial, which led to the closest-grouped topthree ever. That one hour, two minutes and 44 seconds of racing helped meforget all the controversy and get lost in the pure excitement that I expectfrom the Tour.
Ken Rodgers, Massapequa, N.Y.
I am amazed atthe death sentence cycling is dealt for actually doing something about doping.Besides forfeiting a year's salary, the riders kicked out of this year's Tourde France will not be allowed to participate in any race for two years.Meanwhile, a steroid user in the NFL is suspended for four games and can almostbe named Defensive Player of the Year—a certain Chargers linebacker comes tomind. Baseball has a new home run king, and is anyone still wondering what"help" Barry Bonds got along the way to breaking the record? Maybe it'snot cycling that gets it wrong on performance-enhancing drugs. The Tour isalive and, if not well, at least getting better.
Neil Ward, Syracuse, Utah
The problems incycling may well be a direct result of its evolution into a team sport. The badbehavior grows from the peer pressure that exists within the team construct.Over time, an every-man-for-himself format could return the sport to its purerroots.
Jim Bracey, East Greenwich, R.I.
Joe Lemire quotesJon Lester, who recently returned to the Red Sox after being treated foranaplastic large-cell lymphoma (PLAYERS, Aug. 6), as saying, "I just wantto get attention for the way I play baseball. I want to get back to beingnormal." Jon, fat chance of that ever happening. There is nothing"normal" about the way you play baseball. Godspeed, son. And a heartywelcome back.
John Hamblin, Medway, Mass.
Soccer in Iraq
What a relief it was to read Grant Wahl's uplifting story on the Iraqi nationalteam and its success at this past Asian Cup (PLAYERS, Aug. 6), particularlyafter reading so many negative stories about our own sports icons. Soccer hasdone something in Iraq that even the president of that country could not do.
Ali Rasoulinejad, New York City
Thank you forcovering the Arena Bowl (INSIDE ARENA FOOTBALL, Aug. 6). Back in May, Iattended an AFL game between Georgia and Tampa Bay, and afterward fans wereinvited to come onto the field and meet the players. I'll be back there beforeI go to another NFL game.
Christopher Milford, Hartwell, Ga.
I was appalled toread the negative letters about David Beckham's efforts to bring his sport toAmerica (LETTERS, Aug. 6). The people who wrote in need to take a few minutes—Isuggest 90—to appreciate the finesse and athleticism that go into the beautifulgame we call soccer.
Patrick Phillips, Houston
To those who saythat soccer is boring, I guess the next time I tune into a baseball game, Iwill have to pay attention to how many seeds Lou Piniella spits between inningsso I can experience the excitement that baseball fans feel.
Jonathan Porras, Logan, Utah
In your listingof NFL and AFL backs who ran for 200 yards or more with a third team aftergaining 1,000-plus yards with two others (PLAYERS, Aug. 6), you omitted EarnestJackson. During the mid-'80s he almost became the first back to gain 1,000-plusyards with three teams—and he did it in consecutive seasons, too. After gaining1,179 yards with the Chargers in 1984 and 1,028 for the Eagles in '85, herushed for 910 yards with the Steelers in '86. Not bad for an eighth-rounddraft pick.
Steve Calandro, Eaton Rapids, Mich.
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THOMAS E. WITTE (COVER)
JOHN BIEVER (JACKSON)
TRIPLE THREAT Jackson just missed 1,000 yards in 1986.