My thanks to Robert Sullivan for his fair and accurate article (Acquitted But Still On Trial At Virginia, Dec. 24-31). As a graduate of the University of Virginia, I am committed to the ideals of its honor system. As a fan of the Virginia basketball team and coach Terry Holland, I am also committed to the basketball program. Olden Polynice was tried, as any other student would have been, and therefore is entitled to be presumed innocent following his acquittal. Criticism should be focused not upon Polynice or Holland, but instead upon the honor system standards that made possible such an acquittal and also upon the individual who saw fit to breach the confidentiality of the proceeding. Criticism is appropriate, and your article should help to direct it appropriately.
RUSSELL O. SLAYTON, JR.
In an episode that has made me question the ethics of all involved—the player who plagiarized, the trial participant who broke the confidentiality pledge and the fans who snubbed the player in the name of "honor"—I was glad to find that at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED honorable does not mean hypocritical. Olden Polynice is getting what systems of honor and justice are supposed to ensure: a second chance for those who deserve one.
Mount Sidney, Va.
As a former cadet at VMI during and after World War II, it is reassuring to know that one institution has not compromised its principals or modified its definition of the word "honor."
I can assure you that even if Olden Polynice had been 7'11" and averaging 45 points and 25 rebounds per game, were he a student at VMI, the honor court at that institution would have sent him packing.
If the purpose of Robert Sullivan's article is to inform your readers that UVa's honor code is a sham, he has accomplished that objective.
WILLIAM G. HAUGHTON
TOO ROUGH OR JUST HARD-NOSED?
In E.M. Swift's article on hockey's Hunter brothers (Rough Chips Off The Old Block, Dec. 10), their father complained that it is wrong to play for fun. Nonsense! Not every kid who competes in sports is going to become a star athlete. For every star created by the "win-at-all-costs" system, there are plenty of other kids who lose interest in sports for life. The win-at-all-costs attitude is also what got Darryl Stingley paralyzed.
Today's kids have enough pressures on them. When they compete in sports, it should be for fun.
Having just read the article on the Hunter brothers, I am left with a nagging question: If being a farmer's son is justification for what amounts to felonious assault with a hockey stick, what unsportsmanlike mayhem can a suburban boy like me (my father sells cars) get away with and still be excused by your magazine as being just "hard-nosed"?
TRIBUTE TO MANOLETE
In 26 years as an SI subscriber I have never read anything as moving as Gilbert Roland's ode to Manolete (NOSTALGIA, Dec. 10). I knew the story of Manolete; now I feel I know the man. Pundonor, as described by Roland and exemplified by the bullfighter, is not an easy quality to find nowadays; yet, as the author says, a man is nothing without it. My thanks for printing this touching piece written by one great man in honor of another.
One request: Please translate the Spanish inscription on the gold ring.
ROY C. HARRIS