We are kidding ourselves if we think major-college football programs are ever going to let something like a criminal record get in the way of their fervent pursuit of a prized high school athlete. The recruiting motto is: The better the player, the more blind the eyes of universities become.
This is an article from the March 28, 2011 issue
Joseph Ambrosio, York, Pa.
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While I enjoyed your article on the criminal backgrounds of players on Top 25 football teams (Rap Sheets, Recruits and Repercussions, March 7), I have to ask who, if anyone, deserves a second chance if not these young men who have yet to reach adulthood? The question brings to mind Pat Tillman, who as a teenager was arrested and charged as a juvenile and pleaded guilty to felony assault. To some, Tillman's crime should have kept him in jail and off the Arizona State football team—and we would have been deprived of a hero.
Gig Harbor, Wash.
Of the 204 players with rap sheets, I wonder how many used performance-enhancing drugs? After all, extreme aggression is a side effect of sustained steroid use. If in fact there is a link between the two, then these players and their crimes become a symptom of a much deeper problem in college football.
In your mention of Utah recruit Viliseni Fauonuku, you wrote that his coach at Bingham High, Dave Peck, told SI during an interview that he was unaware of details regarding Fauonuku's alleged crime. However, when The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Fauonuku's possible first-degree-felony charges for aggravated robbery in its Sept. 24, 2010, issue, Peck acknowledged that he was aware of the charges that Fauonuku faced. "Until he's proven guilty," Peck told The Tribune, "it would be a shame to take things away and do things that would harm that kid right now."
Michael A. Anastasi
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City
Back in the Day
I was looking at your shot of Duke Snider (LEADING OFF, March 7) and noticed that not a single fan was looking down and texting or talking on a cellphone during the game. Start up the DeLorean because I want to go back to 1956.
Paul Pica, Oshkosh, Wis.
That glorious photo of the Duke of Flatbush at the Polo Grounds reveals a great deal about mid-century fans. Nearly half of the men in the picture are in suits and ties. More than a dozen are wearing fedoras. One young lady is even decked out in her prep school blazer. Unlike the fans of today, when people went out to the ball game in '56 they were dressed to the nines.
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
In reading your essay on the NBA's future (SCORECARD, March 7), I couldn't help but note how different basketball is from other major sports in that the loss of a single player could mean that a team with the best record one season could have the worst record the next. The NBA needs to adopt the NFL's franchise-player tag, which would enable teams to retain their stars. Otherwise, why would fans risk buying season tickets when the loss of just one player can turn their team into a laughingstock?
Adam R. Geldhof
The Good Fight
I would like to commend Joe Posnanski for his excellent column on Nick Charles (POINT AFTER, March 7). I remember when Nick was the anchor at WJZ in Baltimore. I always enjoyed the way he delivered the sports reports—he maintained an air of professionalism while making you feel as if he were talking directly to you. It will be some time before we find another like him.
Glen Burnie, Md.
As a high school student in the early 1980s, I vividly remember forcing myself to stay awake each night to watch CNN's Nick Charles and Fred Hickman give me the sports recap. Long before the current firehose of instant sports information, Nick and Fred were my only source of the day's events. I read your account of Charles's battles with cancer with great remorse, but ultimately, with great hope. His outlook on life is all I could hope to emulate if I were in the same situation.
Bill Hamilton, Augusta
I was greatly saddened to read about Nick Charles's illness. We worked together at CNN's inception, and along with his passion for boxing, Nick loved the old Honeymooners sitcom. As his producer, I would often talk in his earpiece during our sportscasts to try to get him to smile with a classic line from the show. As Ralph Kramden would say, "Baby, you're the greatest!"
San Anselmo, Calif.
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