Wes Unseld's statement, "The NBA has created a monster out of fighting. Now let them live with it." just about sums up the basic problem. However, two other statements need a bit of clarifying. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar maintains that "he labors under a 'double standard.' " Yet, if memory serves, Abdul-Jabbar's brief fisticuffs with Kent Benson was not his first experience. The names Hairston and Awtrey seem to ring a bell.
The second statement was credited to Kermit Washington, who is upset because this is his option year, and the exposure caused by his hitting Rudy Tomjanovich may reduce his value in the marketplace. What about Tomjanovich? What about his future worth in the marketplace? Washington's analogy is laughable at best. Tomjanovich was the individual who was mugged. Washington is getting his just desserts.
One final note. If all of the Bullets really feel the way Mitch Kupchak says they do ("If we put ourselves in Kermit's position, we would have reacted the same way"), then professional basketball is in a sorry state.
Though this may be the tragic end of a great career for Rudy T, I don't think he or any Houston fan wants to see Kermit Washington crucified. All we want are better-enforced rules to keep this from happening.
The problem of violence in the NBA is a growing one, yet it can be solved. The hand check has ruined the game and by tolerating this technique officials have allowed pro basketball to become distorted by defensive mauling. The 1970 New York Knicks played true defense. Many of today's teams play a kind of karate defense. Large fines and long suspensions are not the answer. The referee's whistle would do a lot more than people think. The hand check has to be eliminated, before someone gets killed. If Commissioner Larry O'Brien does not see fit to take this step to improve basketball, he alone can take the blame for the resultant violence, not Kermit Washington or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
WILLIAM MATTHEWS JR.
As a backcountry national park ranger in the Coast Range mountains of Alaska during the summer months and one who has traveled 600 miles down the Yukon River, I find the flora and fauna of that state and the colorful atmospheric displays unsurpassed. The trophy hunters from the Lower Forty-Eight who pay extravagant fees to stalk and kill the wildlife are bitterly scorned by the true Alaskan, who hunts for survival in the Far North. It is hard to believe that Robert F. Jones can be so concerned with the environment when writing his essay on the fragile nature of this giant state and at the same time view out-of-state or transplanted big-game trophy hunters with rose-colored glasses (Land of Geese and Plenty, Dec. 12). It's beyond me. Let's hear it for the lesser Canadas and snows that "yelped across the sky, usually well out of range."
CRAIG A. JULEEN
Before the Americas were discovered by the Europeans, the part of North America that we recognize as the Lower Forty-Eight was as pristine, verdant, beautiful and as abundantly endowed with non-human life as Alaska is today or ever has been. Therefore, we can no more blame the native Aleuts, Eskimos and Indians of Alaska for the current damage being inflicted upon the fragile ecosystems of that state than we can blame the native Americans of the Lower Forty-Eight for our current problems of gross overpopulation, polluted water, polluted air, ravaged landscapes and depleted and endangered wildlife. Clearly, it is at the hands of non-native people that the Alaskan earth and its life forms have suffered and continue to suffer most severely.
DENNIS M. LUND
Robert F. Jones' article on fishing and hunting in the Tikchik Lakes region was refreshing. Not a fisherman myself, I nevertheless enjoyed his descriptions and his remarks on conservation.
Having traveled to Alaska the past two years, and to Katmai National Monument this past summer, I was particularly pleased with Jones' assessment of "the fragile giant." As huge and as abundant in wildlife and wilderness as Alaska is, it must make critical and subtle decisions if it is to maintain even a semblance of its present spirit.