If the Jets had had a few more Wayne Chrebets on their roster and one less Keyshawn Johnson, they wouldn't have finished 1-15.
SCOTT REID, BROOKLYN
Wayne Chrebet is my new favorite wide receiver (Blue Plate Special, May 12). He's a future All-Pro who handles himself with a humility that most of today's pro athletes can't begin to recognize. Keyshawn Johnson should spend more time learning how to play with heart and less time asking Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton why he's standing on the sideline when it's third-and-eight.
MARK RUTH, Lexington, Ky.
No, he's not Jerry Rice, and he doesn't have Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe or Brett Favre throwing to him, but I will say this: Chrebet will be one of my three starting receivers this fall on my fantasy football team, and hell will freeze over before I pick Keyshawn Johnson.
MIKE ROBINSON, Greenfield, Mass.
I enjoyed the article on Chrebet. It reminded me of my football hero when I was growing up. Although drafted in the ninth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he failed to become their third-string quarterback and was released before the start of the season. He tried again the next year with the Baltimore Colts and made the team. He went on to have an 18-season career. He was later one of four quarterbacks chosen for the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. That hero was, of course, Johnny Unitas. Unitas and Chrebet show that despite all the scouting reports, it's what's in a man's heart, as well as his talent, that determines success in the NFL.
JOSEPH T. HINES, Parsippany, N.J.
Whenever a great white hope comes along, SI is the first to crank up the old bandwagon. Anybody can be a star on a subpar team. Chrebet says racism doesn't exist on the field. I guess that's why there are so many black quarterbacks and coaches in the NFL.
MYRON D. WEATHERS, Detroit
Your story on Jackie Robinson's 14-game hitting streak in early May 1947 was insightful (The Breakthrough, May 5). To better understand Robinson's greatness, we need this type of story about specific events in Jackie's career. To my mind, the two key aspects of Jackie were the following. 1) He was a world-class athlete. He was not only UCLA's first four-sport letterman but also the Bruins' only four-sport letterman. His remarkable baserunning abilities were based on a combination of his lightning-fast reflexes, honed from football and basketball, and his leaping prowess, an extension of his record-breaking broad jumping. 2) His athletic and civil rights leadership not only improved opportunities for blacks but were also catalysts for equal opportunity for all minorities.
JOHN PAYNE, Lebanon, Ohio
On the last day of the 1951 season the Brooklyn Dodgers were playing the Phillies in Philadelphia, and the Dodgers had to win in order to tie the New York Giants for the National League lead. My stepdad took me to that game. In the bottom of the 12th, with the score tied 8-8, the Phillies had runners in scoring position when Eddie Waitkus hit a line drive over second base that looked like the game-winning hit. Jackie Robinson ran hard to his right and dived. It looked as if he were at least four feet off the ground when he backhanded the ball. In the top of the 14th inning with two outs, Jackie homered into the leftfield stands, not far from where we were sitting. It was the most thrilling moment imaginable to a 12-year-old boy. My favorite player had won the game, with both his bat and his glove, for my favorite team, and I was with my favorite person, my stepdad.
JERRY NEIMER, Hewitt, Texas
Jackie Robinson is admired by everyone for his athletic skill and for his determination to overcome the racism that continues to ruin this country. But a "pioneer" he was not. Hundreds of Negro leaguers yearned for the opportunity to be " Jackie Robinson." The pioneer, the nonconformist, the hero was Branch Rickey. He's the one who changed baseball.
DANNY HERNS, San Jose
It's ironic that the Jackie Robinson piece and Maureen Mahoney's analysis of Title IX (POINT AFTER, May 5) appeared in the same issue. The exclusion of players by race was not a tragedy because black people were barred. It was a tragedy because people who were capable of playing the game were barred. Race was the bigots' excuse. Ability was the real issue. The reality today is that the percentage of male students who have the ability and the desire to compete in sports at the college level is higher than the percentage of like female students.
As tradition-rich programs such as wrestling at Syracuse fall to the Title IX ax, dedicated and capable athletes are excluded in the name of false equality. It shouldn't matter that the excluded athletes happen to be male. It shouldn't matter—but it does.
JEFF MALLABER, Caledonia, N.Y.