Knowing that these poor athletes don't get the respect they feel they deserve for making a huge contribution to our society breaks my heart.
—SCOTT NORRIS, Lebanon, Ohio
Like Fine Wine
I don't want to take anything away from the Washington Redskins' estimable cornerback Darrell Green, but Peter King is off the mark in your Sept. 18 issue (INSIDE THE NFL) when he says that Green is "the greatest over-40 player ever—in any sport." What about Warren Spahn (above), who won 75 games after age 40 and was 23-7 in 1963 at age 42?
JIM LONG, Atlanta
The Scourge of Drugs
Your story on the drug testing lab in Sydney was excellent (Gotta Catch 'Em All, Sept. 18). However, the testing process has to be reinforced by more than a mere statement in the Olympic athlete's oath. If we're going to eliminate substance abuse from the Games, there must be consequences beyond stripping the athletes of medals if they get caught. Anyone found using a banned substance should not only be removed from the competition, but the rest of the athlete's team in that event should be banned as well. Moreover, the offending country should not be allowed to participate in that event in the following Olympics.
DAVID L. RAE, Arlington, Va.
As a former Olympic track and field athlete, I can testify that your article reiterated what most athletes already know: Every four years better drug testing measures will be trumpeted to the public, and another Olympics will pass with a small number of athletes getting caught cheating. The public will think that the testing has had an impact and that the other Olympians were clean, while athletes hoping that the true breadth of drug usage would be revealed will learn that it's not going to happen.
Pole Vault, 1996 Games
I believe you owe Andre Agassi an apology. In your piece New Balls? Puh-leez (INSIDE TENNIS, Sept. 11), you say that Agassi "seems...[uninterested in doing what it takes to sustain a great career.... Agassi's dispirited straight-set loss to Arnaud Clement in the second round left plenty of doubt about his future." To someone who didn't follow the tournament, it would appear that Agassi had not prepared for the U.S. Open or just didn't feel like playing. Only in the next article, Sydney off My Mind, do we find out what was bothering him. The news that his mother and sister had breast cancer was at least as distracting as the death of Jack Nicklaus's mother the week of the PGA Championship, a fact you pointed out in your coverage of Nicklaus's round with Tiger Woods (Hat Trick, Aug. 28).
STEPHEN D. ECKHART, Omaha
I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated Steve Rushin's column in your Sept. 11 issue (AIR AND SPACE). AS a stay-at-home parent and social worker, it made me feel guilty for not having more respect for such an underappreciated, underprivileged societal group. How ignorant and selfish I've been!
JENNI WEST, Marietta, Ga.
I'm one of those fawned-over nurses, and I hope I've earned the respect of my patients and co-workers. I'd love to be able to afford season tickets to see the Sacramento Kings, but I've got a family to support. Athletes: Respect isn't given to you for having a fat salary, a fast car, a 10,000-square-foot house, or being No. 1. It's earned by behaving responsibly, respecting others and being thankful to the fans.
BETTY MEIER, Clarksburg, Calif.
Don't waste an entire article beating a dead horse. We already know the difference between the treatment of pro athletes and everyone else.
GREG RUSSELL, South Burlington, Vt.
Deion Sanders is quoted in the Sept. 11 issue (Fresh Starts) as saying that "everyone went shopping this off-season.... It's just that Dan [Snyder] is shopping at Versace, and some teams are shopping at Wal-Mart." Dan was shopping at Wal-Mart too, but paying Versace prices.
GEORGE HOSEY, Warwick, R.I.
On page 192 of your Olympic preview edition you say that Pete Sampras has never been an Olympian, which is not true (Medal Picks, Sept. 11). In 1992, in Barcelona, on Pete's last day he sweated through 10 sets in searing heat, losing in singles to Andrei Cherkasov and in doubles with Jim Courier.
NORMAN SALIK, Goodyear, Ariz.