Letters

January 09, 1995

Thurman Thomas has himself to blame for not being accorded the respect he thinks he deserves.
Louis F. RICH, MEADVILLE. PA.

In Defense of Thomas
Your Dec. 5 SCORECARD section contained what I felt to be a one-sided depiction of Thurman Thomas. I believe your readers deserve to know more about this man with whom I have worked closely during the past seven years.

Thurman is not to be excused for any profane language or rudeness. He knows that, and he has apologized publicly for those actions. But I don't recall Thurman complaining that he wasn't drafted in the first round, although he was disappointed and surprised (so was I). And yes, he did miss the first play of Super Bowl XXVI because he misplaced his helmet. O.K., already! How about finally forgiving him? He put his helmet down for the playing of the national anthem, and a teammate inadvertently moved it. Thurman missed two plays. And you also mention that in two Super Bowls he gained unimpressive yardage, but make no acknowledgment of his numerous outstanding achievements.

Thurman is an intelligent, honest, hardworking, caring person. He has a heart as big as Texas, both competitively and in his relationships with family, friends and those who are deprived and unfortunate. No one prepares more thoroughly for a game or competes more intensely than he does. He plays with countless beaten body parts at a position where maximum physical punishment is incurred. Off the field he has given quietly, generously and unstintingly of his resources, his time and his energies to many charities and youth organizations.

It has been an honor for me to coach Thurman Thomas.
MARV LEVY
Coach, Buffalo Bills
Buffalo

The YMCA has been fortunate to know a positive side of Thurman Thomas during his years in Buffalo, and we would like to share this with your readers. When Thomas was a rookie with the Bills in 1988, he donated the $5,000 he received as one of the top vote-getters for Old Spice's Rookie of the Year award to the YMCA of Greater Buffalo. We learned that he had practically grown up in a Houston YMCA and that he'd had the same desire to give something back to the YMCA when he was a student at Oklahoma State. He used to talk to inner-city kids about setting goals, achieving dreams and living lives guided by values and ideals. He has donated $250,000 to his alma mater for a scholarship for needy students. When Thomas was honored as the 1991 Miller Lite NFL Player of the Year, he split the $30,000 prize money evenly between the Greater Buffalo YMCA, the Special Olympics and the United Negro College Fund.

Like all of us, Thomas is not a perfect person. But in addition to being a superb athlete, he has seized the opportunities he has been given and has made Buffalo a better place for our families and children.
JOHN D. MURRAY
President, YMCA of Greater Buffalo
Buffalo

The Shooter
In Jack McCallum's article on the resurgence of the Big East (Bouncing Back, Nov. 28), Boston College coach Jim O'Brien cracks wise about the shooting pointers that his prize freshman guard, Chris Herren, was given by journalist Bill Reynolds. If Herren doesn't shoot well, O'Brien quips, he will "blame the press." O'Brien should know that during the late '60s, Reynolds, known as the Shooter, was a 6'3" guard at Brown who averaged 15.4 points per game during his senior year.
GREG DONALDSON, New York City

Monk's Miracle
While I admit that I haven't attended an NFL game since I retired from the Green Bay Packers following the 1978 season after nine years as a linebacker in the league, I still like to read about the game. I was amazed by Peter King's comments about Art Monk's record of catching a pass in 178 consecutive games in which he played (INSIDE THE NFL, Dec. 12). "Big deal," King wrote. I have news for King: It is a big deal, a really big deal. I don't know Monk. I never played against him. But I know he is a great player who has accomplished a great feat. Just to play pro football for 15 years is amazing, but to play for 15 years and stay healthy enough to play in 178 games and catch a pass in every one of them is a miracle.
JIM CARTER, Eau Claire, Wis.

Wrong Call?
If Louisiana State football coach Curley Hallman is half the man depicted in your article (Last Call, Dec. 5), then athletic director Joe Dean has made a serious mistake in getting rid of him. Hallman is the type of man every father would want his son to be coached by.
JOHN F. SPEAR, Northfield, N.H.

PHOTOJOE TRAVERLevy (right) rushes to the defense of his star rusher.

Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.

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