The reason those jerks in the NFL are so adept at stupid gestures is that they no longer block or tackle.
—DICK PERRY, Marcellus, N.Y.
Battle of the Beef
If the essence of good writing is to help you feel what it's like to be in a place you've never been, then Shall We Dance? by Leigh Montville in the Dec. 6 issue is the best. Never been there. Felt like I had. Will see football differently.
LYMAN BRAINERD, Sedona, Ariz
Orlando Brown of the Cleveland Browns says, "I love to see people bleed." I've never read a more disgusting quote, and I can't imagine that Brown meant it. If he did, he needs psychological counseling.
ERIC FERBER, Freeport, N.Y.
An article on two mediocre, overpaid linemen who helped their teams to a collective six wins this season, barely respect each other and say their objective is to hurt the other? The same story could have been written about Bruce Smith and his battles with any number of offensive linemen. The difference: That piece would have included confrontations during conference championship games and Super Bowls.
GREG MATZ, East Lansing, Mich.
Slash and Burn?
Richard Hoffer is off base when he states that the throat-slash gesture is fun (SCORECARD, Dec. 6). I am a practicing emergency medicine doctor, and the kids I take care of who have been stabbed, beaten or shot most often come into the ER wearing pro team gear. These victims look up to pro athletes and emulate them. To condone a gesture in the NFL that is so inherently violent is asinine.
JAMES A. DAVIS, Charlotte
O.K., SI, which is your view? The rock 'em, sock 'em piece taking the NFL to task for not being trashy enough or Steve Rushin's AIR AND SPACE column three pages earlier taking the NFL to task for allowing too much mugging and slashing? I certainly hope it is the latter.
DAVID M. HOWARD JR., New Orleans
Land of the Free
Rick Reilly's column about the troubles marathoner Khalid Khannouchi has with the Immigration and Naturalization Service had my wife and me laughing (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Dec. 6). My wife is from Europe, and we have been enjoying our own endlessly frustrating series of trials and tribulations with the INS. Khannouchi is lucky to have friends in high places. Being told that he has to wait 10 months for an interview may seem outrageous to Reilly, but we have been told we will not see an interview room for at least two years. The bureaucracy at the INS makes clear that in our nation of immigrants, new arrivals are unwelcome even if they run the marathon in 2:05:42.
MAURO STAIANO, Arcata, Calif.
As a parent of adopted children from overseas, I have also experienced the frustrations of this agency that seems to take forever to get the right paperwork in the right hands. I don't doubt for a minute Khannouchi's sincerity, and I'm sure he's a nice guy. However, each INS case represents a human being, and many of those human beings are orphans, destitute refugees or others whose circumstances are equally catastrophic. In our celebrity-driven society, athletes expect expeditious treatment whenever they desire something and are usually able to attract the attention of the Chuck Schumers, Sue Kellys and Rick Reillys of the world. So an athlete cuts in line to get his papers stamped, and another infant waiting for approval dies of starvation.
FRANK LAMSON, South Royalton, Vt.
On behalf of America's high school runners, thank you. With few U.S. distance runners to look up to, this generation of cross-country and track athletes must turn to past greats like Steve Prefontaine. Seeing the world's greatest marathoner run for the red, white and blue would mean everything to American hopefuls.
JASON JONES, Bedford, Texas
Your auto racing awards were an insult to a great driver (INSIDE MOTOR SPORTS, Nov. 29). CART's Juan Pablo Montoya accomplished far more than Tony Stewart did. He won the championship as a rookie, which Stewart did not. He also set a CART rookie record for wins, with seven, while Stewart had only three in Winston Cup. Montoya also led his series in wins this season, which not even your Driver of the Year, Dale Jarrett, was able to do. Montoya is the clear Rookie of the Year.
ROSS RAPOPORT, West Hartford, Conn.