If there are NFL refunds, give money to relief effort...

LETTERS

September 16, 2001

If there are NFL refunds, give money to relief effort

As a Ravens season-ticket holder, I want to say that I fully support the decision to cancel or postpone the NFL games this weekend. Baltimore's return to Monday night pales in comparison to the events surrounding this tragedy. We citizens need time to grieve before we are able to return to the role of fans.

If the NFL decides to cancel the game permanently, I would like to suggest that my fellow season-ticket holders inform the Ravens that we are willing to donate the money for the lost game to charities associated with the tragedy, rather than seeking a refund.

I hope that ticket holders around the NFL will react the same. I also urge Ravens players, as well as the rest of the NFL, to donate their salary for the week to the relief efforts.

Let's show that rivalries exist only on the field and that NFL players and fans are citizens of this great country first and foremost.

Greg Cwalina Columbia

Athletes abandon fans when diversion is needed

We as a nation are experiencing a tragedy unlike any in recent history. We are seeing images and hearing accounts of unimaginable events. We are all physically and emotionally numb by what we have seen and heard.

Professionals tell us that we need to deal with the stress and anxiety we feel about these events. The professionals say that one way to do this is to set aside time to have fun and do something you enjoy. One thing that millions of Americans enjoy is watching, live or on TV, sporting events. We need a diversion from last week's events.

The owners, players and executives of the NFL and Major League Baseball have decided, with little consideration of what America needs, to postpone games this weekend.

I have read that many players are not emotionally ready to go back to work. Most of America has already gone back to work, and we are feeling the same emotions that these players feel. My wife is a second-grade teacher, one of the most underpaid and under-recognized professions in America. She not only had to go to work on Sept. 12, emotionally drained, she also had to explain to her second-graders what happened and why.

And these overpaid professional athletes had the nerve to say they are not emotionally ready to play a game that could temporarily take our minds off current events.

Professional sports teams have continually turned their backs on the people who support them and pay their inflated salaries. Again, they have abandoned us when we need them the most. Charlie Wallis Freeland

NFL can use stadiums to help build relief fund

The NFL could do its part to rebuild American spirit during these trying times simply by opening the idle stadiums of teams playing away games.

NFL fans are some of the most patriotic Americans. Why not give that patriotism, along with the love of football, an outlet? Each week 15 stadiums sit idle while teams play away games - 15 stadiums already imbued with the passion of the local residents, and which have jumbo TV screens.

Large numbers of patriotic football fans would be proud to pay to watch those away games, as cohesive groups, in the home stadium environs. The profits from these events would go to assist the victims of the terrorist attacks, help with the emergency efforts, and start a fund to rebuild those symbols of our nation that have been destroyed.

Games in the stadiums of teams playing away games could be accompanied by military flyovers, patriotic entertainment, and, in general, be given the feeling that those participating are helping their country in a time of need.

Tim McGuire Pittsburgh

Billick off-base in criticizing fans

Having been a fan of Brian Billick's since his arrival in Baltimore in 1999, I was disturbed to read his post-game comments regarding crowd noise at PSINet Stadium after last Sunday's opener. Billick's questioning of the fans' "pride" was uncalled for and entirely inappropriate.

Nearly 70,000 fans showed up Sunday and paid exceptionally high prices for tickets, parking, PSLs and concessions. Little did we know as fans that - in addition to our monetary investment, time commitment and loyalty - we must also now produce enough noise to satisfy our head coach.

One would think that someone in the position of head coach would have more important things to worry about during a regular-season game, such as eliminating turnovers, establishing a running game, etc. Billick chided the fans by comparing the noise level to the levels generated in cities such as Denver and Nashville.

I think our coach needs to gain some perspective. Perhaps he should be thankful he's not staring up at empty seats, as is the case in Arizona, San Diego or Cincinnati.

Raymond J. Madron Sykesville

Ripken has played `for love of the game'

I can't believe the audacity of Mr. Jon Pontiac ["O's will be better off when Ripken retires," Letters, Sept. 9].

Cal Ripken is probably the best player that the Orioles have ever had. He set the standard for today's shortstops and is in an elite group of players with 400 home runs and 3,000 hits.

The Streak is not his only record. In 1990, he owned the record for fielding, committing only three errors. For his entire career, he has averaged only 14.5 errors a year - not too shabby!

Cal has done this for the love of the game and not for personal gain. The Streak was not a "planned event."

Peter Angelos is taking no more advantage of his retirement than any other team in the league has done. I am also sure that the San Diego Padres are milking every dime they can get out of Tony Gwynn's retirement.

Steven Wall Dundalk

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