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Letters to the Editors

Mizell's mailbag

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 17, 2000

Knight's contradictory nature draws extreme anger, applause If Bobby Knight were a modern athlete, he'd be compared with Carl Everett and Bryan Cox. An out-of-control loudmouth. But guys like you come to his defense. What a double standard.
-- Brad Scherr, Tampa

Even though I'm a Michigan fan, I'm not a Knight hater. He is a genius on the court. But if he were in any occupation besides sports (with the possible exception of the military), he'd have been fired long ago. It's very sad a great career at IU should end this way. He brought it on himself. It's difficult to feel pity.
-- Spencer Fleury, Palmetto

Thanks for your article. It was good to read after all the venomous stuff I've seen, which sickened me. I like Bobby Knight, even though I'm basically a (Wisconsin) Badgers fan.Bill Eisele, St. Paul, Minn.
Bob Knight should go coach pro hoops where the players aren't afraid to kick their coach's butt when he gets out of line. Knight typifies everything that is wrong with pro and collegiate sports. For you to defend him like some archbishop of stupidity shows how wrong sports have become.
Bart Pawelek, e-mail

Bloomington was my home for 18 years. I worked around IU, mostly in custodial jobs. My mom was a domestic who cleaned dorm rooms. I went to night school to prepare myself for a better profession. I now enjoy making a good living.

I saw a lot of Coach Knight. Yes, he could be a bit arrogant. Had quite a temper. But for any critic to say he did not have an enormous, long effect on dozens of athletes is a bigger lie than calling me a white man.

Coach Knight did endless stuff, without publicity, to help young men better themselves mentally and be better prepared for life. For people to universally rip him is, to me, as offensive as some redneck going both barrels after the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Maybe he should've been fired. Probably, leaders at IU could have done a far better job 15 or 20 years ago in setting the tempo for his behavior. But if somebody comes to my face and totally discredits Coach Knight, they might have a tussle on their hands. Thanks for working to understand him. Like my own child, who maybe did some wrongs, I have seen too much not to love the person.
-- Benjamin Scott Smith, Washington

Why don't you and Bobby Knight find jobs together? I mean, you like him so much. He can bully-coach basketball while you are his university president who allows endless abusive behavior. My suggestion is the University of Siberia, where we'll never hear from either of you again.
-- Mack Shinholser, Tampa

Hubert Mizell's column made me sick. His ending sentence, that he still likes Bobby Knight, speaks volumes. Knight was always angry and vicious. Parents would be locked up for less. Stop crying, Hubert. You witnessed abuse and did nothing to stop it.
-- Jean C. Horan, Clearwater

My applause because you were fair, pointing out the many pluses but too many minuses regarding Bob Knight. He is such easy pickings for snipers, media and public. It's open season for cheap-shot artists. To me, they are the gutless big mouths, refusing to balance his pros and cons. Thank you for standing alongside Mike Krzyzewski, Keyshawn Johnson, Bill Parcells, Dick Vitale, David Kindred, Tony La Russa, D. Wayne Lukas, Dave Bliss, Isiah Thomas and others who chose, instead of being snipers, to work at dealing fairly with a tough and sad situation.
-- Myra Cornelius, Clearwater

Your words: "I'm glad he's staying. Eager to see if Knight in his 60s will make constantly astute behavioral judgments, polishing his manners, while managing to not compromise the toughness that helped make the General a hoops icon."

My words: Are you running from the truth again? Knight was, is and always will be a disgrace of a human being. Egomaniac Knight was wrongfully placed, where he was influential to young minds.
-- Dave Davis, e-mail

My most remarkable experience of recent days was going through the barrage of reactions to Knight's dismissal as Indiana University basketball coach. With such diversity, polarizations and fire. I'm still looking for a neutral.
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