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Don't compare Tillman and protester

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 16, 2003

I think John Romano's comparison between Pat Tillman and Toni Smith is absurd (Two athletes, one nation, with liberty, justice for all, March 7). Tillman is serving his country in the military, and Smith is using her First Amendment right to free speech in order to protest the American flag. It's her reasons for protesting that have me confused. At first she was protesting because of the war, then five days later it was because of the inequities in our country. I am assuming that Ms. Smith thinks that it is the responsibility of the government to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. There are inequities, but it is not the responsibility of government to narrow the gap.

Something needs to be said about the president of Manhattanville College. He is allowing Smith her right to free speech, but at the same, he is denying her teammates the same right by telling them not to make an issue of her protest, even though some of her teammates clearly object.
-- John Godwin, Dunedin

Only the Times would give some juvenile, misguided protester the publicity she obviously seeks by putting a full color, large picture on the front page of the sports section. Then John Romano gives a left-handed (no pun intended) compliment to Pat Tillman for giving up a multimillion dollar contract to enlist in his country's army. Romano exposes his true feelings in the final paragraph of that column when he writes, "Tillman may be protecting the principles this country has long stood for, but Smith is promoting the ideals this country has yet to fully achieve."

To even make such an odious comparison of her disgusting actions to Pat Tillman is reprehensible.
-- F. Darrell Thomas, Trinity

Give 'em, uh, heck, Lou

After five years, "#!!*&^!!#!@#!, !##@^&***!!" from Lou Piniella. Maybe that's what the Rays need. Nothing else has worked.
-- L.A. McCloud, Gulfport

Forget Sunshine, go see Lightning

Sunshine, Shmunshine. If you missed the Lightning-Avalanche game in person, you missed the most bone-chilling, decibel-deafening, goose-bumply sporting event in the Tampa area in a long time. It's not the same on TV. You gotta be there; so let's get out and pack the St. Pete Times Forum.
-- David Lubin, Tampa

Now that'show to cover soccer

I just wanted to compliment the sports department, especially Laura Lee, for the outstanding coverage of high school soccer this year. As coach of Seminole High School for 10 years, never have I seen as much coverage as this season. I can assure you that every morning the first thing that many of the community did was grab the sports page and see your coverage. Even the neighborhood edition went above and beyond. Thanks so much, and keep up the good work.
-- Rick Masi, via e-mail

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