The One E-mail That Wasn't Insulting

And now for something completely different. Emails that have absolutely nothing to do with Tiger Woods:

Re: Why we love sports

One comment about sports being black and white with no gray areas? BCS.

-- Kellen (Iowa City)

I stand reprimanded.

By the way, is anything as unfair as what the BCS did to TCU and Boise State by pairing them against each other in the Fiesta Bowl? Here's two undefeated teams that will never get to prove themselves against BCS-conference teams in the bowl, the way Utah got to smoke Alabama last year in the Sugar Bowl, and the way Boise State beat Oklahoma in the '07 Fiesta. It's a pathetic try by the BCS committee to sweep two of their three problems -- undefeated teams who get no shot at a national championship -- under the rug. Two fine teams, sitting at the kids' table at Thanksgiving. We'll never know how good they were and it's wrong. Congress, are you listening?

You say that Nolan Ryan's kid doesn't get to play just because his Dad is Nolan Ryan. But is there any other reason Joe Buck has a job other than his father?

-- Joe Leisten (Chicago)

Dude, you must have no ears. The guy is smooth, funny and brilliant. His name could've been Lipschwitz and he'd be a lead national guy. Try hitting "volume" on the remote.

"...family... mean[s] diddly in sports." Then how do you explain Chris Simms' continued employment in the NFL?

-- David Edelman (Missouri City, Texas)

He does terrific impressions of Joe Buck?

Re: Nothing But Nets and free NBA tickets

I am a ninth grader, 14 years old, from New York. You're my favorite sportswriter, so for my Bar Mitzvah I sent $10,000 to this charity. Mentioning the donations made me remember the joy these 1,000 people must have had upon getting these nets. Thanks for making a dreary Monday much better.

-- Sam Minter (Pelham, NY)

Wow. How cool are you? Thanks so much. Also, can you give me the name of your temple? That's a room I need to work.

I loved your story about the malaria nets and donated to the fund. I also got a pair of better than expected seats. To my chagrin however, Ticketmaster added a 72% charge to my donation ($1.50 in convenience fees, $3.20 Order Processing Fee, $2.50 TicketFast fee.) Any chance Ticketmaster donates their profits to charity? I won't hold my breath.

-- Paul Levine (New York)

We asked Ticketmaster to waive their fees for this promotion. They said no.

Re: Abilene Christian lineman Nick Jones discovers a dad

Speaking for someone who lost his father, it's nice to read about someone who gained one.

-- John Scherzer (Fairbanks Alaska)

Re: Covering an entire football game the green way

Aren't our environmental problems hilarious? I wonder what future generations will think of columns like that. Probably about the same as what we would think about someone in the 1830s writing a funny pamphlet about trying to go a day without slavery. Good times!

-- Dave (Tampa)

Yes, I suppose you're right. Next time I'll write about global warming in a much more boring way, so everybody can stop reading after the first paragraph.

Re: Tattoos

You forgot former L.A. Clipper great Keith Closs who got "F@#K the World" inked on his back. Winner, Winner, Chicken-Dinner!

-- Kevin M. (La Canada/Calif.)

Sorry, no way it beats MMA fighter Melvin Costa's "I have a small penis." All-time bad tattoo champ. Retire the belt.

Re: Trying to call a horse race

I was the track announcer for three years at Arapahoe Park and I must say, I believe I was the worst track announcer in the history of horse racing. One of my early races, as the horses were meandering up the backstretch, I moved my binoculars slightly ... only to see a pickup truck heading in the opposite direction. For a split second I thought the truck was on the track and was about to wipe out eight horses!

-- Bill Rogan (Denver)

And some general griping:

I thought an NCAA athlete couldn't wear a non-uniform "sign" like Tim Tebow's Bible reference during an event. Would it be ok to have a sign that said, "Praise Allah" or "Bush Sucks"?

-- John O'Connor (Tigard, Ore.)

I assume you're talking about the Bible verses Tebow wears in his eye-black during games.

I agree that this is a bit of a slippery slope. So far, the NCAA has banned players from wearing product endorsements, but not from personal messages. Some guys wear their area code, some say "Hi mom!" and some give religious messages, like Tebow. During last year's BCS championship game at Land Shark Stadium, he wore John 3:16 under his eyes. According to the Miami Herald, 90 million people Googled the verse that night.

This is wholesale proselytizing, for better or worse, to say nothing of a violation of the separation of the church and state -- Florida being a public university. You have to feel for the Jewish kid or the atheist kid or the Muslim kid who loves Tebow but didn't realize his fanship would involve a pitch to convert to Christianity. What if the next quarterback wants his eye-black to say, "Love Satan" or "God Is Dead"? or "I (Heart) Beer"? Is the NCAA going to allow it? No chance.

Then again, any player could simply tattoo that message under his eyes and the NCAA couldn't stop him.
Still, the NCAA should stop eye-black messaging next year. Yes, players are people with strong beliefs and yes, they're going to want to use their fame to promote those feelings. But these people do not have millions of fans because they're deeply religious. They have them because they can throw a football through the eye of a needle. If it means that much to a player to say it, let him head to the nearest ink dispensary and let the needling begin.

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