Letters to the Editor – The New York Times


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The Spanish matador José Tomás preparing for his first bullfight of the day in the Plaza México in Mexico City last Sunday.

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Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

Sadism, not Sport, in Stabbing of Bulls

To the Sports Editor:

Re “A God of the Ring Made Human,” Feb. 2: According to the article, last Sunday in Mexico City, the matador José Tomás killed three bulls in the same performance, one “poorly.” It quotes a professor who explains that by “playing with death” in bullfighting, “in some ways, we overcome it.” The bulls don’t overcome it, though, do they? They die painfully at the expense of a combination of entertainment and cultural history. This practice is nothing for The New York Times to feature in a celebratory way.

BARBARA J. KING, Williamsburg, Va.

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To the Sports Editor:

What does it say about the human psyche that some still cheer bulls being stabbed to death in bullfighting rings and applaud as the animals die in agony in a pool of blood and their ears are cut off as trophies?

It’s mind-boggling that in 2016, this barbaric blood sport is still taking place anywhere. Yet in arenas in Spain, Mexico, South America, Portugal and France, curious tourists who buy a ticket keep the killing going. If you care about animals, don’t succumb to temptation if traveling to one of those few countries that are still clinging to this sadistic pastime.

JENNIFER O’CONNOR, Largo, Fla.

A Star Hobbled

To the Sports Editor:

Re “A Magnetic N.F.L. Star, Sapped of Spirit by a Disease of the Brain,” Feb. 4: It was disturbing to read about Kenny Stabler and his posthumous diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. But I was equally disturbed by a sentence ancillary to the topic, i.e., because of Stabler’s damaged knees, he “rarely ventured out” during the last 10 years of his life.

Many professional athletes, long before the identification of C.T.E., have suffered through a severely diminished quality of life in many different forms. The full scope of this problem is finally coming to light.

THOMAS P. ROBERTS, Lawrenceville, N.J.

Puzzling Rules

To the Sports Editor:

Re “Basic N.F.L. Rule Seems Impossible to Grasp,” Feb. 2: John Branch’s analysis on the challenge of ruling on what constitutes a completed pass is compelling, including the calculation that 392,218 passes — from screens to Hail Marys — have been completed in the last five decades.

But there is one rule that is far more impossible to understand, and far more unfair: the one that governs overtime play. Under this rule, adopted in 2012, the team that wins the flip of a coin can win the game if it scores a touchdown on its first possession, without the opposing team ever touching the ball. It happened last month when Arizona defeated Green Bay in the N.F.C. divisional round.

To allow one team to triumph based on a coin flip is a travesty. The rules that govern college football ties, guaranteeing that both teams have an equal chance to win the game in overtime, must be adopted.

FRED HILL, Baltimore

Newton and Racism

To the Sports Editor:

Re “Dancing Around End Zones, Not Around Matters of Racism,” Jan. 31: It’s not surprising that Cam Newton sees racism behind fans’ criticism of his on-field celebrations of self. That lets him off the hook. “I’m an African-American quarterback that scares people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to,” Newton said. Never mind that the columnist William C. Rhoden goes on to mention the many black quarterbacks he has covered over the last several decades: James Harris, Marlin Briscoe, Eldridge Dickey, Joe Gilliam, Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Doug Williams, Steve McNair and Michael Vick.

Can’t we compare Newton with them? Were they as arrogant, immature and disrespectful of both opponents and teammates? I don’t think disapproving fans are reacting to a scary black man; they’re reacting to a jerk.

DON WUENSCHEL, Swarthmore, Pa.



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