Regarding your article on the NBA lockout: Who cares?
—STERLING EMBRY, Gainesville, Ga.
As a typical NBA fan who had to start saving for months in advance to take my son to see his hero, Michael Jordan, I have trouble feeling sorry for either side in this sad dispute (Lockout Limbo, July 20). Probably the sanest solution could be called the Ultimate Cap: No player may earn more than $1 million a year; no owner may earn more than $2 million profit. The rest of the money generated would go to the local school system. Wouldn't that put some real teeth in the NBA's Stay in School program?
SCOTT E. BLAKEY, Redlands, Calif.
Tom Gugliotta said the players talked it over and couldn't figure out how to represent the league and the owners at the World Championships in Athens. Am I missing something, Tom? I thought you would be representing the United States.
WILLIAM J. REGAS, Indianapolis
You want me to feel sorry for Chucky Brown, "who has never made more than $650,000"? My heart should bleed for Nazr Mohammed, turning his back on a free education? I should choke up over the frustrations of Tom Gugliotta after he made only $5.5 million last season? Save the space in your magazine for articles about sporting events and the athletes actually competing in them.
JOSH KOCH, Wichita, Kans.
Fans are the reason why any of these greedy monsters have jobs. It is not their game, it is our game. Shut up and play ball.
EZRA WEINBLATT, Potomac, Md.
Isn't it interesting that the last of the six groups mentioned were the fans?
ROGER LOWE, Princeton, Ill.
Jeff MacGregor's article on the Mangum Rattlesnake Derby was not just well written, it was hiss-terical (Snakes Alive!, July 27). The proficiency of Oklahoma's snake hunters is almost enough to make me feel sorry for the slithering creatures. Almost.
MATTHEW BELTRAMO, Brooklyn
Snakes are not a "renewable long-term resource." The roundup of snakes is purely for entertainment. I can't imagine that removing thousands of indigenous animals can be good for the local ecosystem.
CLINT SWINEHART, Jacksonville
Would the First Ladies of Arkansas and Oklahoma have shown the same sadistic glee while gutting a dog, stomping on a bee or beheading a teenage driver? After all, they each kill and maim far more people every year than do snakes. Shame on you, SI, for giving even the slightest publicity to such redneck barbarism.
BAILEY JONES, Auburn, Ala.
The Stuart Littles that the rattlesnakes are protecting us from are not preventing disaster, but helping to create it. Mice or rats produce a new litter every 21 days, rattlers every 10-plus years. Mice and rats have killed millions of people by spreading everything from the plague to Hantavirus. Reliable records of deaths by rattlesnakes that were unprovoked by humans are rare and anecdotal. Mice and rats also destroy millions of dollars of corn, wheat and other crops every year. Vietnam has learned this the hard way. For years snakes were shipped to China as food. Now Vietnam is overrun with rodents, and the fear of disease, famine and starvation has caused the government to ban all exports of snakes.
ALLEN SALZBERG, Forest Hills, N.Y.