As much as I admired Jack McCallum's The Ugliest Game (Nov. 29) for its depiction of the free-for-all attitude of fans and the poor-me attitude of overpaid pro athletes, I question why race was mentioned at all. As a former correctional officer, I have witnessed the most racially tense environment on earth, the American maximum security prison. I saw no evidence that race played a part in starting the brawl. Professional athletes and their fans do, however, have something in common with my former charges: The really selfish ones never grow up and never take responsibility for the things they do. Shame on everyone involved.
Reid Joy, Dallas
You should've put Kurt Busch on the cover for winning the first Nextel Cup (The Race to End All Races, Nov. 29). Instead, you chose a loser who disrupted a game.
Brian Neal, Bellingham, Wash.
If I'm either stupid enough or drunk enough to throw a drink at an athlete who can bench-press a truck, I deserve to get the crap beat out of me.
Carl Singer, Passaic, N.J.
If Ron Artest had pointed out the fan who threw the cup at him instead of bum-rushing the stands, the fan would have been ejected, the game would have continued, and Artest would still be on the court with the Pacers. That's better than being suspended for the season and heading into a court of law to fight the charges that have been filed against him.
Brook Buxton, Baltimore
The hit Ben Wallace gave Artest after the foul was cause for an ejection. Why did the refs then allow Artest to lie down on the scorer's table? Wallace's throwing a towel at Artest was another opportunity the refs missed to restore order. I hope the NBA officials are held accountable for their nonactions.
Vera Farrell, Bend, Ore.
Chris Ballard listed several scenarios under which the brawl could have been avoided (The Eye of the Storm, Nov. 29), but he overlooked the most obvious and basic one: Had Artest not committed the foul against Wallace in the first place, the ugly chain of events would never have started.
Jack Cipoletti, Charleston, W.Va.
It's time to put Ron Artest where he really belongs--in a hockey uniform.
Paul Vagnini, Windsor, Conn.
Sam Cassell says, "If the fans throw something, we've got to protect our honor." This seems to be the mentality of Artest and many other pro athletes--their image is everything and common sense is nothing.
Jeff Lesserson, Port Washington, N.Y.
On Sept. 15 a soccer match between AS Roma and Dynamo Kiev was abandoned at halftime after a spectator in Rome's Olympic Stadium hit the referee on the head with a thrown object. The league ordered AS Roma to forfeit the game 3--0 and to play its remaining two first-round home games in an empty stadium. If the NBA emulated this penalty, the loss of revenue might persuade teams to get serious about arena security.
Bob Altizer, Phoenix
It's hard to believe that about 10 years ago the biggest problem in the NBA was a forward wearing a wedding dress.
Joey Liccar, Lee's Summit, Mo.
Not once, not twice, but three times your graphic designers used the Oklahoma State logo when they should have used the OU logo in the photo illustration depicting The BCS Mess (Nov. 29). Come on, guys, you're better than that.
Brian Speers, Oklahoma City
•SI regrets the error. --ED.
Going the Distance
Pat LaFontaine (SCORECARD, Nov. 29) trained for countless hours in order to complete a 13-hour triathlon that raised $40,000 to build a playroom in a children's hospital. Barry Bonds (AIR AND SPACE, Nov. 29) will make $750,000 "in the for-profit section of Barry's portfolio" by talking to some fans for five minutes. Bonds may very well hit more home runs than anyone in history, but as a man he is quite a few triathlons behind LaFontaine.
Thomas France, Warminster, Pa.
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Luck of the Drew
SI PLAYERS' Who's Hot/Who's Not (Nov. 29) mentions two hot Drews, Brees and Henson, who happen to be ex--Big Ten quarterbacks. How about another hot Drew Big Ten QB? Iowa sophomore Drew Tate finished off a fantastic regular season by putting the running-back-starved Hawkeyes on his back and beating the highly ranked Wisconsin Badgers to claim a share of the Big Ten championship. He then was named the first-team All--Big Ten QB by the conference coaches. Is it too soon to start a 2005 Heisman campaign?
John Diederich, Aurora, Ill.