Adrian Peterson has been hit many times, physically and emotionally, and he is still standing (Full Speed Ahead, April 30). His strength of character is something that the NFL has been lacking lately, and any franchise would be lucky to have him. To the teams who think he runs too recklessly, I have one word for you: Fools.
Dee Horner, Owasso, Okla.
Peterson is a class act. When TCU defeated Oklahoma 17--10 on Sept. 3, 2005, in Norman, I saw him walk over to the south end zone where the TCU players were standing in front of the few Frogs faithful who had made the trip. Peterson and one or two other Sooners congratulated the TCU players and shook hands before their fans. That kind of dignity puts him in the rare company of players like LaDainian Tomlinson—small-town Texas boys whose mamas raised them right!
Kuni Michael Beasley, Frisco, Texas
We fans watch hour after hour of the NFL draft not because, as Tim Layden's story says, "every team and all their fans think they're a winner" on draft day or because it is "the birth of a year's optimism" (Next!, April 30). We watch because the draft determines a team's future for the next five to 10 years. Ask Jimmy Johnson. Ask Bill Belichick. Those decisions on draft day will either haunt that coach, G.M. and owner for years to come or bring the love and cheers of their fans.
Jerry Turner, Fishers, Ind.
Called to Account
Jack McCallum says suspended referee Joey Crawford is "prepared to offer [NBA commissioner David] Stern a mea culpa" (PLAYERS, April 30) after his ejection of Tim Duncan. Big deal. The real question is, Will Crawford apologize to Duncan and the Spurs' fans? Lord Acton said it long ago: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." NBA zebras have absolute power during games, and Joey Crawford has demonstrated just how corrupting that power can be.
Daniel R. White, Los Angeles
Something to Hit
Pitching around star players like Michael Burgess (HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS, April 30) should not be allowed in high school baseball and softball. Seasons are too short, and the window for learning and experience is too small. A simple rule change could help: When a batter is walked, send the last previously retired batter to first as a pinch runner and start the count over on the walked batter for one additional at bat.
Jim Scoggins, Yakima, Wash.
When I read your original piece on Mark Lemke and his late son, Cory (LIFE OF REILLY, Aug. 21, 2006), I fought tears on a crowded commuter train out of New York City. Then, coming back from a golf trip with my own 17-year-old son, I read your story about how Tony Dungy has reached out to Lemke and others who are grief stricken (LIFE OF REILLY, April 30). What an example for all of us to follow. I've been a lifelong Patriots fan, and I hate the Colts. But I will root for Tony Dungy for as long as I live.
Tom Morgan, Millburn, N.J.
Sometimes I wonder if we place too much emphasis on sports. But without a national stage, people like Dungy would never have the opportunity to touch so many lives.
Rink Murray, Collierville, Tenn.
I'm the former football coach referred to in your article. On June 11, 2006, my son Mark took his own life. Since then coach Dungy and I have had many caring and healing conversations. He returns all the calls; in fact, during Super Bowl week I held up my cellphone for my sixth-grade reading class to holler, "Good luck, Coach Dungy" and "Go Colts." Of course my students didn't believe I was really calling coach Dungy, but the next day he called back from Miami and thanked the sixth-graders. They were amazed.
Craig Miles, Balsam Lake, Wis.
As the parent of a Virginia Tech student, I was pleased that you shared various tributes to the VT community from the sports world (LEADING OFF, April 30). While I'm a Yankees fan, I was most moved by one tribute you did not include: the VT logo on the sleeve of the green Red Auerbach--Celtics tribute jersey the Boston Red Sox wore on April 20 against the Yanks. Although we choose up sides for sports, these tributes remind us that we are all part of a larger family and that we're willing to help one another in times of need.
Bob Hoffman, Schenectady, N.Y.
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Boston's Kevin Youkilis was one of many to honor Virginia Tech.