Reggie Bush's hotdog flip into the end zone for the first touchdown of USC's regular-season-ending 29-24 defeat of archrival UCLA, immortalized on your Dec. 13 cover, justifiably resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for excessive celebration. If across the country next season there's a rash of impressionable high school players pulling similar stunts, Sports Illustrated will have only itself to blame.
Gene Miller, Huntington Beach, Calif.
One Pill Makes You Larger
January 10, 2005
While Richard Hoffer may have intended to make a point about human nature in The Blind Pursuit of Perfection (Dec. 13), he whiffed badly. While noting that people like to improve themselves in sundry ways, he let dishonest and immoral athletes off the hook by saying that "character is sometimes neglected in the pursuit of perfection." Athletes who use drugs to enhance their performance are not only breaking the law but also being dishonest with themselves, their fans, their teams and, most important, the sport they often profess to love. Drug use is the coward's way. Making excuses for pampered cheats does not serve sports well.
Doug Magill, Solon, Ohio
I think my son Jason should be on the cover of SI. He not only takes steroids, he also injects himself daily with growth hormone--just like the athletes. Jason is fighting a battle, but there isn't a pennant at stake. He's fighting for his life. The real story isn't that million-dollar athletes are cheating to get to the top of their field; the real story is that children who truly need growth hormone can't afford to get it. Our family had to rely on a charitable foundation called Genetec Access to Care to obtain the growth hormone that enables Jason to fight the chronic disease cystic fibrosis.
Linda Robichaud, Lanesborough, Mass.
I teach personal trainers and know that when a trainer recommends dietary supplements, the trainer may stand to benefit financially by making a commission on the sale of the supplement. Before taking any over-the-counter nutritional supplement, people should consult an appropriate medical professional. Many supplements have not been laboratory tested, and taking them could cause an adverse reaction with other medications. If a personal trainer encourages you to purchase any nutritional supplement, run, do not walk, away (consider it a free workout).
Pete McCall, Washington, D.C.
I agree with Rick Reilly's skepticism about Barry Bonds (Life of Reilly, Dec. 13), but why has Reilly yet to criticize former Raider Bill Romanowski for his relationship with BALCO? I remember Reilly defending Romanowski's work ethic and clean living on "supplements" (Life of Reilly, Sept. 1, 2003), but then Romo tested positive for steroids two months later. If we are going to attack dishonesty, let's not attack only those who have snubbed us for interviews.
Matthew Noel, San Francisco
I believe Barry Bonds too. Except I also believe that you are innocent until proven guilty. I believe that if the Feds had even a single shred of evidence that Bonds lied on the stand, they'd be trying him for perjury instead of trying him in the court of public opinion. And I believe that a decade of petty attacks and snide comments about Bonds makes Reilly seem like a bitter hack.
Matt Morin, Berkeley, Calif.
Vice and Easy
What a disgrace it would be to have a professional sports franchise in Las Vegas (Why Not Vegas?, Dec. 13). There are enough moral issues in the NBA and MLB the way it is. Do we really need to add strippers and slot machines to the mix?
Troy Steven Johnson, Iowa City
David Stern is "concerned that moving a team to Las Vegas would harm his league's image." Exactly what image are you worried about, Mr. Commissioner?
Gary Chaize, Bradenton, Fla.
Given the recent actions of NBA players and fans, a move to Las Vegas might actually improve the image of the NBA.
Joseph M. Hanlon, Mokena, Ill.
As a Notre Dame alumnus I watched in dismay as the Irish were dismantled by a superior Southern Cal team, but I still took great pride in knowing that Notre Dame would never compromise its high academic and ethical standards to win a football game. Or so I thought until Ty Willingham was fired (Scorecard, Dec. 13). Today the shine is clearly gone from the proud traditions that once made Irish football unique. It will take time to get it back, but let's start now by handing Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White his walking papers. Never has one man done so much damage in so little time. And by the way, we wish you well, Coach Willingham.
Adrian Davoli, Enon, Ohio
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