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Original Issue


For every story about someone such as Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who has dedicated himself to helping rebuild New Orleans, there are at least two about athletes like Gilbert Arenas and Mark McGwire. How I wish it were the other way around.

Sue McDonald Doron, Zionsville, Ind.

As a graduate of the New Orleans public school system, I was overcome with emotion after reading the article about Brees (The Heart of New Orleans, Jan. 18). I remember not having enough textbooks, limited sports and other activities, and no marching band—and this was 25 years before Katrina. Brees is doing what no politician has ever done for New Orleans. Win or lose, he is truly a Saint.

Scott E. Kalassay

La Habra, Calif.

Americans respond quickly to a crisis, such as the one in Haiti, but I wonder how many people will still be helping five years from now? People like Brees see the big picture. He's in New Orleans for the long haul, and that makes all the difference.

Bill Cornish, Saginaw, Mich.

Ready to Roll?

Alabama (Staying Power, Jan. 18) has many star players coming back and Nick Saban has not jumped ship (yet), but let's see the Crimson Tide string together multiple BCS championships before anointing them the next dynasty.

Jon Lested, Glendora, Calif.

Before we crown Nick Saban the next Knute Rockne, let's not forget that he lost the 2009 Sugar Bowl to Utah, in what was essentially a home game, and almost gave away the BCS championship game against Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who had taken only a handful of snaps during the regular season.

Neal B. Rosen

San Mateo, Calif.


I enjoyed reading Lee Jenkins's story on Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (Open and Shut, Jan. 18) almost as much as I enjoyed watching Revis render Chad Ochocinco speechless.

Bob Short, Littleton, Colo.

Regretfully Yours

Mark McGwire knew he couldn't get back into baseball as a coach unless he admitted what everybody already knew (SCORECARD, Jan. 18). If he were truly sorry, he wouldn't be looking for a quid pro quo—he'd be traveling the country warning young people about the dangers of steroids.

Rob Nikolewski, Solebury, Pa.

Has the bar been set so low that we're praising athletes for an admission of lying and cheating?

Jennie Ehrlich Williams

Los Angeles

There is a peculiar silence about the responsibility of the managers of players involved in steroid scandals. Could men as insightful as Tony La Russa and Joe Torre really not have noticed any signs that their players were taking performance enhancers?

David Machlowitz

Westfield, N.J.

McGwire has finally admitted using steroids, but he still insists that these performance-enhancing drugs had no impact on his performance. How exactly is he worthy of our forgiveness?

Tom Griffo, Hillsborough, N.J.

Lefty Leanings

Joe Sheehan's argument declaring Randy Johnson the greatest lefthander of all time (SCORECARD, Jan. 18) has a major flaw. He compared Johnson with Sandy Koufax instead of with Warren Spahn, who has more wins than Johnson (363 to 303), more complete games (382 to 100), more shutouts (63 to 37), more 20-win seasons (13 to three) and a lower career ERA (3.09 to 3.29).

Wendell Uutala

Ladysmith, Wisc.

If I had to win one game, I'd go with Koufax.

Don Parsons, Norwalk, Iowa

Taking on Detroit

Michael Rosenberg's piece on Dave Bing (Having Fun Yet, Mr. Mayor? Jan. 18) captures him in office exactly as he was during his Hall of Fame basketball career—talented, dedicated, honest, caring and fair. He is just what Detroit needs as it tries to resurrect what was once a great city. I cheered for Bing the player when I moved to Detroit in 1968. As marvelous as his basketball career was, this chapter of his life may turn out to be more significant.

Ronald Gries

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Rosenberg's story was a well-written, informative and moving piece of writing. I'm pulling for Mayor Bing to make Detroit a better place.

Don Ringgoenberg, Pella, Iowa

It is so refreshing to read about someone who holds a political office for all the right reasons. Dave Bing appears to be the real deal—someone who wants to make a difference and isn't looking for compromise.

Paul Morelli, Clinton, Conn.

During my first season of coaching high school basketball, 35 years ago, I attended a basketball camp in Maryland with Dave Bing, who had just been traded to the Washington Bullets. In five short days with him I learned so much. His influence has lasted my entire career. Detroit is very lucky to have him.

John Kemmerer

Cape Coral, Fla.

As a fellow Syracuse alum, I have followed Bing's successful sports and business careers for decades. Now that I'm a producer at ESPN, I work with his protégé Jalen Rose, whose can-do attitude is greatly appreciated by his colleagues. After reading this story, I asked Jalen if his work ethic is the result of lessons learned from Mayor Bing. Without hesitation he said, "Absolutely!"

Bruce Bernstein

West Hartford, Conn.

A Different World

Phil Taylor's column about Gilbert Arenas (Point After, Jan. 18) was just about the best I've ever read. Athletes need to minimize the huge disconnect with their fans.

John Nolte, Frederick, Md.

David Stern's taking a hard line with Gilbert Arenas for bringing unloaded firearms to the arena seems like a great step to curtail the misbehavior of NBA players. Stern must also dispense similarly harsh punishment for the routine occurrences of driving under the influence, reckless driving and domestic violence, which are arguably far more dangerous than Arenas's transgression.

Manuel Provedor Sr.

Elk Grove, Calif.

While I'm hearing about Arenas's poor judgment during sports shows, I'm also seeing ads for TV programs, movies and video games that celebrate gun violence. His behavior is the result of a larger issue, but it is not being addressed that way.

Doyne Loyd

Pie Town, N.Mex.

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