THE BOXING FAN: Where's the story? Am I supposed to bob and weave through a series of disjointed paragraphs to find it?
THE WIFE: Would you let this guy stick a Q-tip in your eye, honey?
THE CASUAL READER: HOW can I stay interested in this guy when the story jumps around as much as Sugar Ray's jump rope?
THE MESSENGER: Get the editor!
THE SUBSCRIBER: Stop the check!
El Cerrito, Calif.
Your special report Agents: What's the Deal? (Oct. 19) at long last brings into focus the growing problem of dishonest player agents. The existence of player counsel allows for a balance in player-management negotiations. However, too many agents are merely experts at player and/or management exploitation. The fact that lawyer Ed King has based a lucrative practice on suing such agents shows just how serious this problem has become. The players, management and the fans are the ones who suffer. As a fan, I salute you.
Your report on bad sports agents (Den of Vipers) would probably have been more appropriately titled The Gulf of the Gullible. Almost without exception, the athletes described, through reasons of greed, indifference or ignorance, refused to take responsibility for and control of their own lives. About all I can say to those "burned" by their agents is that they should be thankful that P.T. Barnum is no longer alive. Instead of putting the blame on the agents, perhaps the athletes should spend some time during their long off-seasons studying basic business principles and concepts. Maybe then they could make their own decisions regarding their finances—a not so novel idea to the rest of us.
JAMES C. CONWELL
I am Tom Collins's sister-in-law. Your portrayal of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a tragic sports hero (A Lot of Hurt) makes my skin crawl. Who made Adbul-Jabbar's deals with the Lakers and made the owners give him those contracts? Obviously Collins is not going to say anything bad about Abdul-Jabbar, but Abdul-Jabbar's true character was revealed when he withdrew from the partnerships Collins had set up, leaving others—Alex English, Terry Cummings and Ralph Sampson—holding the bag.
Abdul-Jabbar is far from broke; Collins has lost everything. The one big mistake Collins made is one others have made also—thinking that Abdul-Jabbar is godlike. I'd like to know what Abdul-Jabbar has ever done for anyone other than himself.
MANSFIELD ON MEGGYESY
David Remnick's article (Still on the Outside, Oct. 5) about former NFL player Dave Meggyesy states that Meggyesy's book, Out of Their League, "changed the way we think about the most popular spectator sport in the country." It did not change my view. Meggyesy's description of what was going on inside the NFL during the 1960s did not even vaguely resemble reality. It was popular at the time to attack institutions, but he carried it too far. He sounds even today as if he's trapped in some radical college sociology class from the 1960s, with his talk of football emerging from Social Darwinism and the industrial period in American history, and its being based on violence. Meggyesy indicts the whole system because of his own inability to handle the essential reason for professional football's existence: the fans' love of the game and their willingness to pay for it.