No Spiking, Please
Editor: In years past, sports figures were gentle men who exhibited a modicum of modesty following a heroic feat on the ball field or tennis court. One recalls Lenny Moore, Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry and gentlemen of that stripe.
There were no football spikes, suggestive dances or gloating wiggles when they accomplished a sparkling play. Their education had accomplished something more than mere athletic skill. Many current sports figures degrade themselves and their sport while providing appalling examples for young fans. Whatever happened to good sportsmanship?
Big-time college football has become a commercial enterprise controlled by money-oriented college officials who seem to have little regard for the educational needs of the participating students. Student-players are kept distinct from the real student body. With few exceptions, the curricula afforded the players is inadequate.
Payment under the table to students seems to be endemic. High salaries for successful coaches make winning an economic necessity. High television fees to teams that win have distorted the real meaning of higher education.
Many gifted athletes are pushed through high school and college, majoring only in football or basketball. They are deluded by the expectation that athletic success in school will lead to big money as a professional. Yet relatively few become pros, and the majority are left with an incredibly poor education and little hope for the future. The athletes are cheated in the process, and the shame belongs to those responsible.
It is probably too much to hope that our colleges and universities will cease the mad scramble for money and return to the process of providing a sound education for all of their students. Our educational institution should not be the minor leagues for professional sports.
William C. Vergara.
No Way, NFL
Editor: I have to agree with John Greenspan's assessment ("NFL to Arizona: Won't You Go My Way?"; Nov. 15) of the pending NFL battle over the rights of the Super Bowl for the city of Phoenix. I don't see how the NFL can have the audacity to try and influence the rights of voters anywhere because of a game -- even if it is the Super Bowl.
It's high time football pay attention to it's own problems and worry about the game, not its political agenda. Considering the types of games we've been getting lately for "the big game," maybe Arizona citizens will be considered fortunate to not get the game.
Editor: While I agree with the first two lessens enumerated by the Nov. 7 editorial, ''Lessons in Gilchrest's Win,'' I must take serious exception to the third.
Once again The Sun chastises the Republican Party for demanding ''ideological purity.'' The claim is that a larger umbrella ''representing the gamut of political philosophy'' will help Republicans win elections.
First, let me suggest that an endorsement of the concept of a large umbrella tends to confirm the belief that large city newspapers have lost touch with average Americans.
Politicians who think in terms of number of votes are inspired by the large umbrella because it covers more people. It also increases internal conflict and is of absolutely no use to the voters.
The Democratic Party has long since lost its identity and consequently the loyalty of its membership. Republicans capitalized on that during the '80's by shedding their liberal wing (called moderate by the press) and consequently attracting most of the conservative Democrats.
Now the Republicans seem to be moving to the left, thus broadening their base, and the consequent internal conflict has begun. They have also lost much of the support of the conservative Democrats.
The recent election was a mishmash because both parties had identity problems and voters tended to ignore party affiliation.
Maybe this is good, but it brings up the larger question as to why we need political parties except to serve as a sort of union for professional politicians.
Do these politicians expect us to be loyal to their party as we are loyal to, for instance, a football team? We can be completely irrational in our choice of a team, but we don't care because football is more fun if we have a team to root for.
Are we expected to choose a party for the same reason? I guess the answer is yes because there seem to be no rational reasons left.
James R. Kniss.
Editor: We are just beginning to see the fruits of years of work spent in AIDS research. Because of new drugs, some that slow the progression of the disease and others that stave off lethal opportunistic infections, we are now seeing more people living rather than dying with HIV disease.