Readers Respond

November 04, 2009

PETA urges: Free the Ravens mascots

Regarding the article "Ravens' new stars give fans more to crow about - and some fine photo opportunities" (Nov. 1), shame on the Ravens! Crows are highly social beings. They experience deep relationships with other crows, demonstrate a great deal of intelligence and are bursting with a sense of fun - all of which is squelched when they are taken from their flocks to be reduced to windup toys or "mascots."

A study released this summer showed that crows are able to use a short stick in order to reach a medium-length stick and then to use that one to reach a longer stick - the latter being the only one that would allow them to retrieve food stuck in a tube. All the crows did it without being shown how, and three out of four did it on the first try. Crows in St. Petersburg, Russia, have been filmed catching updrafts and sliding on their bottoms down stained-glass windows out of sheer enjoyment.

How pathetic and wrong it is that the two baby ravens, Rise and Conquer, who are as intelligent and inquisitive as their crow cousins, are being raised in unnatural and barren servitude for a publicity stunt. I hope Ravens fans demand their freedom - then they will really have something to cheer about!

Ingrid E. Newkirk, WashingtonThe writer is president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

An ugly experience at the Ravens game

I was raised a Broncos fan but quickly adopted the Ravens as my second team after I moved to Baltimore. I was delighted to see this season that my Broncos would be coming to town, just blocks from my home. My brother, also an avid Broncos fan, flew in from Chicago for the weekend. We paid well over $100 for our tickets in section 539, all the way near the top.

My brother, husband and I dressed in our Broncos gear, ready to enjoy a game between two teams that we supported. We were completely unprepared for what happened once we reached the stadium.

It began when we climbed the stairs to our seats. We expected good-natured ribbing, some heckling, all important parts of the game, but we did not expect to be treated so badly. As we climbed the steps, we were greeted by a chorus of boos. The fans threw food at us, including popcorn and peanuts. Once we reached our seats, the heckling did not get any better. We were cursed at from kick-off until we were clear of the stadium after the game. The one time the Broncos scored during the game, the fans around us verbally abused us mercilessly, screaming profanity at us and threatening us. However, the worst by far was when some fans began screaming ugly racial slurs. All this behavior was tolerated by the stadium officials. The behavior was completely unacceptable and went unchecked by officials at the stadium.

Our experience at M&T Bank Stadium was terrible. I just don't understand how an integrated, progressive city like Baltimore could produce such ugly behavior. I can't express adequately my disappointment, or my husband's hurt, at being the recipient of racial slurs. I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish by writing this letter. I would just hope that it finds its way into the hands of someone who can influence what behavior is tolerated at M&T so that in the future it can be a great experience for all of the fans.

Laura Dosanjh, Baltimore

Real O's fans don't migrate

To Greg Swanner, who lambasted the Orioles for not having team members at Brooks Robinson's appreciation night (Readers respond, Nov. 2): Perhaps they should have sent some players, but according to accounts I've read, it was a beautiful evening and tribute to a great man, and the team was a co-sponsor of the event. I worshiped Brooks as a kid, and I've chatted with him on an airline flight when no one around us seemed to know who he was. I've met Jim Palmer on occasions and still delight in his color commentary on the games. The Orioles still reach out to families and all fans with lots of promotions and special events. My son loves going to Dugout Club games.

Mr. Swanner, you seem to be the epitome of a glass-is-half-empty kind of guy. Instead of the Orioles moving to Indianapolis, as you suggest, how about if you and your girlfriend move, to Boston, Pittsburgh or Indianapolis, take your pick? Do not show up at Camden Yards chanting "Let's Go Red Sox." You are a shameful excuse for a Baltimorean, and we don't need your kind here.

Matt Beverungen, Ellicott City

Schaefer deserves statue

As a longtime observer of William Donald Schaefer, I was pleased to see him in attendance at the unveiling of the statue in his honor at the Inner Harbor ("Fitting finale," Nov. 3).

Don Schaefer epitomizes what is right about public service. He worked for decades to see that Baltimore and Maryland were better places. Because of what he's overseen and helped develop, Charm City is recognized as one of our nation's premier cities. He has dedicated his life to seeing to it that Maryland is a great state to live and work in. Our political leaders, wherever they may dwell, would do well to emulate his fiscal conservatism and concern for making our states and cities better for all our residents. This small token of appreciation for Mr. Schaefer's hard work will live long after those of us who've watched him. If it encourages one young person to take up his enthusiasm and devotion to public service, it will be well worth it.

Thank you, Governor Schaefer.

David L. Bonar, Dover, Del.

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