Misbehavior of athletes should not be defendedAs Milton...

Letters

December 20, 1997

Misbehavior of athletes should not be defended

As Milton Kent cites examples of former athletes' misdeeds ("Action against Sprewell unfair," Dec. 14) he makes the best case against himself. That athletes continue to perform unthinkable acts against symbols of authority is proof that the former punishments were not severe enough.

I give NBA Commissioner David Stern a huge "bravo" for taking a stand against this behavior. Finally, we have someone in the system with some backbone who doesn't cave in to rich players and owners.

Our society is gradually becoming a state of lawlessness, as people act as they feel, then expect to get off with little punishment. This should certainly not be the trend in the athletic arenas, which does set the example for many. Columns like Mr. Kent's, which argue for leniency and little punishment for bad behavior, will promote this state of lawlessness.

Julia Edwards

Baltimore

Milton Kent's "Action against Sprewell unfair" in the Dec. 14 Perspective is not surprising for the tone it takes. Any time an athlete gets into trouble, there is no need for a lawyer as the sports reporters will go to bat to defend them.

To a sports reporter, an athlete can do no wrong, but if he does, just look the other way or slap him on the wrist. "Naughty, naughty."

As Mr. Kent points out, there has been a long string of unsportsmanlike conduct cases on the field (as well as the immoral, if not criminal, off the field) by athletes. Omitted from the equation is the fact that youngsters grow up to idolize these false gods who set bad examples.

Perhaps, the NBA commissioner came to the conclusion that enough is enough and is setting an example for the future for athletes that there is a point where being a superstar will not buy you a cup of coffee (or can of beer) when you misbehave.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Need better plays, not new theaters

I enjoyed Gilbert Sandler's retrospective on Ford's Theater ("Baltimore glimpses," Dec. 16). I had the pleasure of seeing Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft in "The Miracle Worker' at Ford's in the early 1950s.

I use the term "seeing" loosely, as my Girl Scout troop could only afford tickets in the last row of the second balcony and I didn't have my new glasses yet. But I could still feel the magic, even up there in the nosebleed seats.

The performance was so powerful that, more than 30 years later, I still get the shivers thinking about it.

At the time, Ford's Theater was almost 100 years old and rapidly deteriorating. But it was the play that held us spellbound.

Rather than ask if Baltimore needs a new theater, let's find some plays that are on par with "The Miracle Worker."

J. K. Walden

Baltimore

Why did Miller ignore Young's problems?

Let me get this straight. Maryland Senate President Thomas Mike Miller says he finds the dealings of Sen. Larry Young "disturbing," yet as early as last summer knew of at least some of Mr. Young's questionable business affairs and did nothing about it.

Why Mr. Miller did not "focus intently" on complaints from other legislators at that time is puzzling, to say the least.

For him to say, "I've got to have a charge or a signed affidavit to bring in someone" is either a blatant cop-out or a stunning display of political ineptitude.

The ethics committee needs to "focus intently" on this and expand its microscope even further. Thank God we have The Sun acting as a public watchdog.

John Craten

Towson

Reagan's legacy lives and breathes

As a meaningful national memorial to former President Ronald Reagan, may I suggest naming all the nation's sidewalk heating grates after the man who did more to provide homeless, mentally-ill tenants for the grates than any person in America.

Leftover plaques could be used for other habitats -- gutters, boarded-up buildings, troll-spaces under bridges -- that are frequented by survivors of Reagan's most profound legacy.

Linda C. Franklin

Baltimore

'Reading by 9' series barking up wrong tree

Your "Reading by 9" series is one of numerous media reports that coincided with the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives and subsequent passage of the so-called "Reading Excellence Act." This bill, if approved in the Senate, will use federal funding to severely restrict the freedom of school systems, teachers and parents to decide on the range of reading programs that might benefit the students in their communities.

Instead of promoting a public dialogue on the potential impact of the "Reading Excellence Act," the media have committed a grave injustice to the children of Maryland by undermining public confidence in teachers, local school systems and teachers' colleges.

Based merely upon conjecture, rather than fact, The Sun blames the "whole language" approach for our reading woes and presents intensive systematic phonics -- the position of the "Reading Excellence Act" -- as the great solution.

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