Congratulations on a fine article by Bruce Newman about Washington Center/Power Forward Jeff Ruland (A Tough Man in a Scramble, Dec. 13). If Ruland played for the Celtics, he'd be considered the second coming of Dave Cowens. It's sometimes embarrassing to listen to Boston broadcaster Johnny Most. He calls Celtics Rick Robey and Kevin McHale "Bumper and Thumper" and condones their style of play, which is virtually the same as Ruland's. It's great to be a Boston fan, but the announcing here is sometimes onesided. Put Ruland in a Celtic uniform and Most would probably love him. Why not? He's dynamite.
Please don't glorify thugs like Jeff Ruland. Being big enough to get away with being a bully isn't sport.
The story about Jeff Ruland proved to me that his flippant attitude, which surfaced in the article, is the same as it was when he singlehandedly ruined the fine name of Iona College—and he's blaming everybody but himself for it.
Iona Class of '83
I was fortunate to have attended Iona during all three of Jeff Ruland's playing years, and I always felt he would become a top NBA player. Ruland has gotten a lot of undeserved bad press. He's justified in having some bitter feelings about his experience under former Iona Coach Jim Valvano. I thank Jeff for the contributions he made to my school.
JAMES B. DOUGHERTY
Iona Class of '80
I admire Jeff Ruland for his basketball ability, but I can't say the same for his treatment of his dog. An animal shouldn't be given beer or any other type of alcoholic beverage.
The piece on Miami Guard Bob Kuechenberg by Paul Zimmerman (The Star of Star Island, Dec. 13) was fascinating. Articles such as this help to erase the "dumb jock" image and display our sports heroes' true personalities as well as their off-field talents.
Kooch and the Dolphins—don't call them normal!
JACK A. BOENAU
Once again Paul Zimmerman has given his work a special touch. His research is very complete, adding an erudite dimension to any piece he submits. Zimmerman is the star writer of SI!
PATRICIA W. LEEF
White Plains, N.Y.
Paul Zimmerman portrays Bob Kuechenberg as a decent, likeable person, but all that is marred by Kuechenberg's cheap shots at Norm Van Brocklin, who cut him from the Atlanta Falcons 13 years ago. The Dutchman cut, often with arresting suddenness, many better players than 21-year-old Bobby Kuechenberg. There's the story of the Falcons' flight home from an early-season road loss during which Van Brocklin reached for a motion-sickness bag and scrawled on it a list of 11 Falcons, including five starters, designated for immediate exit from the team, if not from the plane.
Though he has never gotten a fair shake from the press, Van Brocklin is one of the best quarterbacks of all time and one of the most brilliant of football minds. As the quarterback of a marginal 1960 Philadelphia Eagles team, Van Brocklin embarrassed Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers in the NFL title game. A year later, as a coach, he fashioned a most overlooked miracle, when he took the Minnesota Vikings, a first-year expansion team, into the season-opener and trounced the Chicago Bears 37-13. If you don't think that was a notable accomplishment, ask John McKay.