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Letters to the Editors

Mizell mailbag

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 11, 2001


Great columns, but bad project

First, you are due much credit for many outstanding articles throughout the years.

Second, unfortunately, what I will remember you the most for was your stifling of intelligent views in regard to public funding of the new football stadium, both in print and on your radio show.

You were, of course, in favor of public funding and never passed a chance to ridicule those opposed, no matter how reasonable and legitimate their concerns. Worse, you never allowed those opposing a forum.

Oh, sure, you'd print a couple of letters from hacks, ("Duh, I hate football, whatta I need a stadium for?") but never once allowed the intelligent opposing view to emerge.
-- Bill Bravick, New Port Richey

Hubert says: By intelligent views, Bill, I assume you mean yours. I don't recall printing "Duh" letters. It was my opinion and I still believe Ray-J was a wise investment, since the Bucs would likely have been relocated without a new arena. First Amendment gives you the right to object.

• • •

After watching the Seminoles take a 42-point thrashing from Duke, how can Bobby Knight not be mentioned as coach for FSU? I know it's a football school, but look at the excitement Billy Donovan has created at Florida. Coach Knight could build the program from the bottom up and compete in an elite conference. What do you think?
-- Dennis Dillion

Hubert says: I'm for it, but me endorsing Knight might by now be categorized in the same vein as James Carvill backing Clinton. What I really, really think is that if FSU athletic director Dave Hart were willing to work at a "my way or else" deal with Knight, the hiring is most reachable and it'd be a lock the 'Noles would play better, win more, have bigger and more excited Tallahassee crowds and never again be considered worse at basketball in the ACC than Wake Forest is at football.

• • •

I have read your columns frequently and enjoy them immensely but this is the first time I have responded to one. Your column regarding Jennifer Capriati's win at the Australian Open brought tears to my eyes.

I tend to root for the underdog. This feel-good story really touched me. It's nice to see hard work and perseverance pay off. Here's hoping more good things are in store for Capriati.
-- Chris Mihale

Hubert says: It's normal, Chris, for an athlete or coach, having been rapped by a commentator, to say, "You get such joy out of belittling people." That's so wrong. To me, it's 10 times more fun to tell a warm, invigorating story like Jenny at Melbourne.

• • •

Your column (on an emergency landing with UF basketball team in 1964) brought back a lot of memories because I was on the same flight. I was a student in Gainesville and stringer for the Times.

I was sitting with Martin Edwards, a friend and student assistant to (sports information director) Norm Carlson. Martin has been a lawyer in Jacksonville for about 30 years.

I moved back to St. Pete three years ago after 30 years in Washington with Reuters (international wire service). I have enjoyed your column and sorry you're leaving.
-- Robert Green, St. Petersburg

Hubert says: Amazing how the good fortune or sour in such an incident can affect so many lives. You wonder, what would those Oklahoma State kids have been like in 37 years?

• • •

Heard you are retiring. Just want to tell you that you were an early inspiration in my career, and I'll never forget it.

When the Bucs beat came open and I was a terrified 23-year-old writer, you told me the only way I'd be taken seriously in the business was if I were willing to take a man's beat. That there were several talented women sports writers, but they were mostly focused on tennis, features and Olympics.

Thanks for the advice and the support. I've had a baby girl, Sophie, who turns a year old this month. Life could not be sweeter. Still working way too hard but I no longer get as upset when editors cut a couple of inches from my story.
-- Michelle Kaufman, Miami

Hubert says: This was an obvious talent that quickly flowered. Michelle covered the Bucs, then went to Detroit as a major feature writer and now works at the Miami Herald along with her husband, columnist Dave Barry.

• • •

It's a shame Tony Dungy feels the need to play the race card in reference to Marvin Lewis not getting an advantage in interviews for a head coaching job.
-- Mike Turner, e-mail

Hubert says: I'm sure all Dungy seeks is an equal shot. But, yes, Tony is touchy on the subject, believing that far too low a percentage of NFL head coaching positions have African-American participation. Imagine his delight when Bucs assistant head coach Herman Edwards became New York Jets boss.

• • •

Good for you, writing a column on USF basketball, after our win over Louisville. It's about time somebody from the Times paid attention to something other than Jerry Ann Winters.

You wonder why crowd size isn't larger for our entertaining Bulls, well, your newspaper is at great fault for not playing up USF far more. Take some space from the overpublicized Gators and Seminoles. Is there no fairness in your soul?
-- Buster Keene, Tampa

Hubert says: Seems to me, the first time media was blamed for poor event turnouts, it was the Lions complaining that we slanted coverage toward the Christians. C'mon, Buster, if there's reason, the coverage will increase. Our job is to react to news, not to create it.

Reach the Mailbag
Mizell's Mailbag
St. Petersburg Times
P.O. Box 1121
St. Petersburg, FL 33731

You can also e-mail: mizell@sptimes.com
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