Off the Wall
This is an article from the March 9, 2009 issue
My two sons recently resumed a tradition that I started as a child: When a new issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED arrives each week, the cover is carefully removed and they hang it on a wall of the bedroom they share. It's probably no surprise that your cover of Alex Rodriguez did not make it onto their Wall of Fame.
Bill Schwartz, Milwaukee
Alex Rodriguez (Confronting A-Rod, Feb. 16) says that he took performance-enhancing drugs because he felt the pressure to live up to his $252 million contract. My colleague, who has a five-month-old baby, will be out of work in six months because the Boston public school system is cutting jobs. I have students who are in and out of foster care. My family is from the Congo, where many struggle to overcome corruption, war and starvation. And this guy wants to talk about pressure? Give me his kind of pressure, and I'll do a lot more with it than use it as an excuse to become a national embarrassment.
Pata Dibinga, Boston
As a fan whose childhood heroes are being exposed as frauds, I hope that A-Rod can get through this. He did the right thing by admitting his use of performance enhancers.
Mike Shoer, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Terminate A-Rod's contract and ban him from baseball. Or leave him alone and show the world that we really don't care about drugs.
David C. Larsen, Honolulu
The Steroid Era should be renamed the Selig Era. All of the records set should be honored, and drug use should have no bearing on voting for the Hall of Fame. If anyone deserves an asterisk next to his name, it is commissioner Bud Selig for letting it happen.
Bruce McCloy, Sunapee, N.H.
No Lovers of Lane
Your story about Lane Kiffin's arrival at Tennessee (Rocking Rocky Top, Feb. 16) is another example of college athletics gone wrong. Should we be impressed with a football coach who thinks he's so important that he fires someone because a driver arrived 25 minutes late to pick him up at the airport? Should we be impressed with a guy who seems to take pride in saying, "You can't count the number of people we've run off because they couldn't keep up, and I'm including secretaries," to show how he's in charge? Tennessee is giving this guy the store in the hope that he will resurrect their once-proud football program. Maybe Kiffin will, but it appears there will be no pride in how he goes about doing it.
Philip Summers, Monroe, N.Y.
Kiffin's antics in Knoxville sure make it appear that Al Davis was right when he fired Kiffin as Oakland Raiders coach last year and publicly castigated him as an immature and arrogant machinator. Who would have expected that anyone could make Davis appear so upright?
Ken Stret, Davis, Calif.
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