Athletes who have shown an interest in completing their education should be honored so they may serve as role models for others.
MARC A. RICHARDSON, BOARDMAN, OHIO
Back to School
I commend you for your story regarding the many pro athletes who have returned to college to pursue degrees (Better Late than Never, May 13). Was it really necessary, however, to downgrade the efforts of Emmitt Smith by mentioning that he took a course called Leisure Services for Older Adults? Your tone implied that the class had little substance. But it's possible that it was required for Smith's B.S. in public recreation. Even if it wasn't, hasn't every college graduate finished with at least a few credits on his transcript earned in "less strenuous" courses?
KIM SUNDERLAND, Leawood, Kans.
As the father of a grown son who used to wallpaper his room with pictures from SI, I can only hope that fathers today will encourage their kids to cut out and save the telling photo of Emmitt Smith in his mortarboard. It not only sends a quiet message about the importance one superstar places on an education and a diploma, but it also offers a refreshing balance to the all-too-prevalent stories these days about athletes who have found fame and fortune without finding class.
CONNIE HANNON, Syracuse, N.Y.
If I had a dime for every time an uninformed someone poked fun at my college courses or my profession, I would be far richer than Emmitt Smith. I'm a Florida alumna who cheered Emmitt at Florida Field and a fellow recreation graduate of the College of Health and Human Performance. I am compelled to defend our profession. I make a living improving people's quality of life. Few professions are so rewarding and at the same time so enjoyable. Mock my college classes all you want, SI. Deep down we recreators know you're all jealous.
DEBBIE COOK, Concord, N.H.
You failed to mention former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White. Here's a guy who completed his degree, in agribusiness, at Arizona State some 21 years after being drafted by the Cowboys. Now he not only manages several businesses but also is the coach and general manager of the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League. White built the franchise from expansion in 1992 into the envy of its league by consistently winning and selling out games. He is also a leader in an organization of active and retired NFL quarterbacks. (White still holds the Cowboys' career records for TD passes and completions.)
STEVE BOWSER, Phoenix
What is Christian Peter crying about (Patriot Games, May 6)? The New England Patriots released him because he can't seem to stay out of handcuffs, and now he wants people to feel sorry for him? Granted New England never should have drafted him, but whether the Pats didn't like his criminal record or his haircut is their business. New England made the correct decision. It's nice to see a pro sports team place importance on an athlete's character off the field as opposed to just his talent on the field.
JOHN WESTON, Fryeburg, Maine
Having the Patriots' Charles Armey conduct a background check of Nebraska's Christian Peter was akin to sending Jesse James to make a bank deposit. While an assistant at Colorado State in 1978, Armey, misinterpreting a ruling by referee Gene Wurtz, angrily charged onto the field at Wurtz and had to be restrained by his players. After the game he tried to get into the officials' locker room and again had to be restrained. Given this display of Armey's character, it's no surprise that he found nothing wrong in Peter's troubled past.
COLIN K. KEENEY, Laramie, Wyo.
Not So Special
Mets rookie shortstop Rey Ordonez is a special breed, you say ( New York... New York, May 6). Yeah, right. He leaves his wife and infant son in Cuba and defects to the U.S. to pursue his dream. In three years he picks up a new wife and fathers another child. A special breed? Athletes who abandon their children in lousy circumstances and pursue self-gratification are, unfortunately, a dime a dozen.
PAUL CLEGG, Sacramento