Letters

February 10, 2003

Crunching the Refs

I don't know why Peter King was defending the officials
(SCORECARD, Jan. 20). Sure the refs are only human, but
shouldn't we expect them to properly perform their jobs? They're
getting paid to officiate the game, and there is no excuse for
those officials' helping the Giants lose a game.
RICK HANSEN Providence, Utah

King writes, "the league has heard renewed cries that it hire
full-time officials." Can someone tell me what full-time
officials would do 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year?
ALBERT BETTS Glassboro, N.J.

True West

L. Jon Wertheim wrote an excellent story about Jerry West (The
Agony of Victory, Jan. 20). The best move West made for the
Grizzlies was when he hired Hubie Brown to coach the team. I
hated to see Hubie leave his job as a TV commentator, because he
was the most knowledgeable analyst, but now these young pros will
begin to learn the game of basketball.
GERALD L. GUINDON, Escanaba, Mich.

Your superb article appealed to the virtual G.M. in me, but I
noticed a huge omission. How could you forget that West drafted
Eddie Jones? Jones was a surprise as the 10th pick in 1994, but
until he was traded so that Kobe could do his thing, Eddie, in
his own quiet way, accomplished a lot for the Lakers on and off
the court.
STEPHEN KIM, Conshohocken, Pa.

Red-Light District

You picked Eddie Belfour as the All-Star goalie (NHL Midseason
Report, Jan. 20) although Martin Brodeur has a better
goals-against average and more wins. There is an even more
powerful rebuttal to your pick on the very next page. Twelve NHL
coaches out of 30 picked Brodeur as the best goalie. No one else
received more than seven votes, and Belfour was not mentioned
once. You'd think after one of the best decades ever by a
goaltender--including two Stanley Cups--Brodeur would begin to
get his due from the media as the best goalie in the game.
KEVIN FITZPATRICK, Bayonne, N.J.

Shaq's Crack

After reading about Shaq's racially insensitive comments
regarding Yao Ming (SCORECARD, Jan. 20), I was reminded of a
similarly insulting statement in his book, Shaq Talks Back, about
getting "dunked on by a white boy." I don't know whether Shaq
understands it, but he is spewing racist comments that,
thankfully, we never tolerated from Jimmy the Greek or Fuzzy
Zoeller.
MARK CURZYDLO Wichita, Kans.

Racial insensitivity goes beyond Shaquille O'Neal. The Miami Heat
had the profound idea to hand out fortune cookies at Yao's first
game. What would have happened if Augusta National had handed out
fried chicken and watermelons at Tiger Woods's first Masters?
KYLE WAGNER, Sugarloaf, Pa.

A Wonderful Life

Steve Rushin's beautiful piece on the well-lived life of Buck
O'Neil (AIR AND SPACE, Jan. 20) should be required reading for
pro athletes. O'Neil's philosophy of faith in God's love of human
beings and doing the right thing constitutes the essence of this
man of uncommon wisdom.
JIM KING, Mequon, Wis.

Fans have known for the past 50 years that O'Neil is one of the
greatest ambassadors of baseball the game has ever known. Thank
you for reminding us that he is also a great ambassador of life.
BRANDON T. SHEUMAKER, Atlanta

Rushin's eloquent description of his encounter with O'Neil paints
the image of a man of great compassion and overwhelming
tolerance. He truly is one of a kind. That's the problem. There
aren't enough Buck O'Neils to go around.
DAN ZIMRING, Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Terrific Taurasi

I had written a blistering e-mail about your lack of attention to
the UConn Huskies women's basketball team's winning streak. Boy,
am I glad I finished the magazine before I hit SEND! What a great
article about Diana Taurasi (Driving Force, Jan. 20). What you
didn't mention is that she is genuinely a good person, always has
time for the fans and is a true leader of her team at the age of
20.
CATHLEEN A. CODY, Glastonbury, Conn.

Comeback Candidate

Kelley King lists the 2003 Heisman front-runners (INSIDE COLLEGE
FOOTBALL, Jan. 20), but how in Hades could Georgia Tech's Tony
Hollings not at least be included under "Also Keep an Eye On"? At
the time of his 2002 season-ending injury--after four
games--Hollings led the nation in rushing and was second in
scoring.
KACEY WELLS, Grayson, Ga.

Blind, Not Immobile

I am a blind person who subscribes to the talking book edition of
SI. I enjoyed Rick Reilly's column about the blind Islanders fan
who waited 30 years before attending a hockey game at Nassau
Coliseum (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Dec. 30--Jan. 6). I am concerned,
however, that many of your readers will conclude, wrongly, that
blind people as a group are not able to attend sports events on a
regular basis. While I tend to go with friends because I enjoy
the group experience, I could, if I chose to, attend events by
myself with no great difficulty. I am sure that neither Mr.
Reilly nor SI want to inadvertently reinforce a negative
stereotype about blind people that is all too pervasive.
ARIE GAMLIEL, Jerusalem

COLOR PHOTO: BRAD MANGIN

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