Letters to the Editor 

Macho

In a recent article in the Memphis Flyer (Viewpoint, February 3rd issue) by former Rhodes College student-athlete Kyle Ference, about Jay Cutler and the macho culture in football, the Rhodes football program was referenced as an organization that manifests some of the same negative stereotyping and offensive language that were heard surrounding the Cutler issue. I read the article with great regret, because the use of abusive or derogatory language is not what we stand for at Rhodes.

In December 2010, Rhodes hired a new head football coach, Dan Gritti. Beyond being an excellent coach, Dan has lived and breathed the joys and rigors of being a Dean's List undergraduate and law student. He understands that academics come first at Rhodes. He also understands that there is no place for offensive language on or off the field.

Most important, Dan's vision for our football program mirrors the broader Rhodes commitment to be a place where compassion for others is among our highest priorities.

Mike Clary, Director of Athletics

Rhodes College

I want to write in appreciation of Kyle Ference's Viewpoint column. I too played football until college and was on scholarship to play at Millsaps until I hurt my back my senior year. This was probably the best stroke of luck I've ever encountered.

One of the best things about his column is how macho chest-beating overrides common sense and concerns for the athlete's health. I began having back problems my freshman year, but I wasn't diagnosed with scoliosis and herniated discs in my back until my senior year. The M.O. of the football coaches and staff was to patch me up and wait until I healed, but this was usually hastened by derision from coaches and players.

I began playing football because I had played soccer and the freshman team needed a kicker. I was jokingly referred to as the golden toe and jovially mocked as players insisted that nobody injure my precious leg. I was on my way to quitting my sophomore year when, one October day, I had had enough and laid out a star receiver. The next day, the head coach shifted my duties from tackling dummy/defensive back to linebacker and kicker.

I decided to change paths in college and am currently a grad student in film and video production. I rarely watch football and couldn't care less about my alma maters' — high school or college — success.

I still encounter old teammates from time to time. Most have decided to live the rest of their lives pursuing goals that don't rely on beating the shit out of oneself or one's teammates or opposing teammates in order to derive personal satisfaction or praise. Robert Rowan

Memphis

Basic English 101

How many more times do I have to hear a local politician or newsperson misuse "I" and "me"? This is basic English usage that we all should have learned in fourth grade, yet I hear supposedly educated people misusing those words nearly every time I turn on a local newscast.

And I have heard the president of Shelby County Schools (God knows, he should know better, shouldn't he?) as well as nearly every talking head on local television say things like: "The state legislature told the Shelby County School Board and I that we should proceed as we had planned." Or: "Join Alex and I for our next broadcast."

What is wrong with those sentences? If you don't know, then you should not speak in public and certainly not on television. Try this: "I" can only be used in the subjective of a sentence and can only be followed by a verb! Or this: Repeat fourth-grade English before you run for office or become a newscaster. Bill McAfee

Memphis

Abortion Politics

Drugged? Raped? Pregnant? Too bad, say some House Republicans. They don't believe those reasons are good enough for you to get an abortion. The GOP and Tea Party Republicans kicked off the new year pushing for one of the most extreme anti-abortion bills ever.

Extremists continue their relentless demonstrations and vicious intimidation of anyone who is involved with or supports abortion clinics. They taunt abortion clients with their hell-fire screeds. They use the Bible to justify their actions and agenda. Many in the anti-abortion movement still assert that killing doctors who perform abortions is fully justified. These people are religious fanatics. And the GOP is enabling them. Ron Lowe

Nevada City, California

Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or send us e-mail at letters@memphisflyer.com. All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.

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