The Long Gray Line
When I saw Frank Deford's article on the 1950 West Point cheating
scandal, I feared another liberal-media bashing of one of the
country's best institutions, and more disrespect for the military
(Code Breakers, Nov. 13). To my surprise, I found that Deford hit
the nail on the head: West Point and Annapolis have standards of
honor that have stood the test of time. Army and Navy haven't
been to bowl games since 1996 and struggle to compete at the 1-A
level. The serious mission of the two academies transcends
football, and it would be a sad day for the country if that
RIK DILGREN, Charleston, S.C.
I respect the academy, yet I have significantly more admiration
for the 90 expelled cadets. Cheers for their accomplishments and
scorn to the General Harkins of the world who spun the lies of
the Vietnam War. I'm a proud Vietnam veteran but detest those who
didn't tell the truth to Americans.
ROD GAJEWSKI, Las Cruces, N.Mex.
You will not find last year's national championship trophy for
football at West Point. However, Army football players, because
of the honor code, know that when they go shopping in a
department store like Dillard's, they will pay the same price as
anyone else for their clothes.
GEOFFREY TINELLI, Grasonville, Md.
December 18, 2000
West Point's honor code does not need to be dismantled; it needs
to be emulated. With the exception of our military academies and
a dwindling number of churches, there are no other institutions
in the United States that teach honor as a lifelong guiding
principle. Our sports teams do not. Nor do our universities, law
schools, business schools or corporations. Certainly our
JOHN R. BERGER, West Hartford, Conn.
Deford's observation that "playing football bound cadets together
more than playing soldier did" misses the point. A West Point
cadet isn't playing soldier--he is a soldier. West Point isn't a
college; it's a military academy.
RORY QUIRK, Washington, D.C.
Rapping on Priorities
Allen Iverson should consult the two What Would Jesus Do?
bracelets he wears to help guide his life (It's About Time, Nov.
13). I'm sure Jesus would not denigrate women, promote
discrimination and murder, fail to fulfill his obligations and
responsibilities, father children out of wedlock or, most
important, set such a horrible example for young people.
KIRK NEAL, Blacksburg, Va.
I know what Jesus wouldn't do: listen to the vulgar lyrics
Iverson wrote in his rap song.
CHRIS WATTS, Lynchburg, Va.
Farewell to Arms
As a hunter, I got a kick out of the remarks in the Nov. 13 issue
on whether hunting is a sport (SCORECARD). But you could have
chosen a less controversial figure than John Rocker as a
representative hunter-athlete. Rocker's teammate Chipper Jones
would have fit the bill, as would have Will Clark, Bo Jackson,
Karl Malone, Jack Nicklaus or Nolan Ryan.
WARD DAVIS, Little Rock
Playing the Ivory
Thanks for mentioning that Furman beat defending I-AA champ
Georgia Southern 45-10 (INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Nov. 13). You
wrote that Georgia Southern's superb fullback Adrian Peterson
missed the game because of an injury. You failed to mention that
Furman's even better running back, Louis Ivory, rushed for 301
yards, on his way to a 2,000 yard season and the Southern
Conference single-season rushing record. Last time I checked,
Peterson didn't play defense, so his absence did not affect
Ivory's rushing totals.
BRUCE LANCASTER, Alpharetta, Ga.
The Cup Runneth Over
Accolades to Rick Reilly for taking Lord Stanley's Cup to a
loftier place--at least for one day--and for his entertaining
article (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Nov. 6).
PAUL LISTER, Bethlehem, N.H.
Don't know a thing about hockey. Can't name a player. Never read
about it. Not sure what the Stanley Cup is. But after reading
Reilly's column, I believe I would have driven up to Chicago just
to touch it.
ANNE CRAPO, Indianapolis
Hats off to the NHL for giving Reilly the Cup for a day and
having a bigger impact on the lives of the people Reilly
encountered than a season full of slap shots.
STEVE WALSH, Fall River, Mass.
I felt the lump in my throat when Reilly described the kids in
the burn unit, the whisper of the junior league player and the
blind man's touching the Cup.
TIM PEDERSEN, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii
The closest other sports have come to this is when George
Costanza of Seinfeld dragged the World Series trophy around the
parking lot of Yankee Stadium.
DON WALSER, Germantown, Wis.
Amen to Steve Rushin's article on the ever-changing world of
sports (AIR AND SPACE, Nov. 13). Who can keep up with all this,
and who wants to for that matter? We think sports have come so
far and that we are so sophisticated, yet this so-called new era
reminds me of the ABA days of the early 1970s, when the players,
teams, uniforms and even cities changed from year to year. It is
becoming harder to stay a sports fan.
THANE R. KOLARIK, Pittsburgh
The article on Oregon State's Ken Simonton was a treat (Eager
Beaver, Nov. 13). It's not often that one reads a story on how a
student-athlete wants to expand his horizons in the classroom.
More kids need to challenge themselves as Simonton does, so they
have knowledge outside of athletics when their pro careers end.
ROY KIEVIT, Harrison, N.Y.
Jinx, Jinx, Jinx
Are you trying to ruin the NFL season? You begin by placing the
Chargers' quarterback Ryan Leaf on your cover (Sept. 4), and San
Diego loses its first 11 games. Then the Rams' Kurt Warner gets a
cover story (Oct. 9), and two weeks later he breaks his pinky.
Finally, you proclaim the Titans the NFL's best team and put them
on the cover (Nov. 13), and they promptly lose their first game
ever at Adelphia Coliseum. If you really want to help, why don't
you put Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the cover?
NICHOLAS AGIUS, Windsor, Calif.
Duty, Honor, Country
Your article has helped more than you know. As a father trying
to help a 14-year-old, sports-loving son grow into honorable
manhood, I'm glad you make the point that life is about choices.
As unpopular as those decisions may be, they have to be made.
I've told my son that even 50 years later we should feel empathy
for the players on the 1950 team (above with coach Red Blaik)
who were expelled from West Point.
RON RANDOLPH, Danville, Ind.
Hunting: a sport? How can anything be called a sport if one of
the competitors doesn't even know that he's playing?
--SIG MEJDAL, Sunnyvale, Calif.