Letter: Reader disappointed in article

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letters_flatTo the editor,

To say I am disappointed in an article written by Kyle Brennan in your Citizen’s News is quite an understatement. The article entitled “Round of Applause” suggests that Ryan Dempster is a hero for hitting Alex Rodriguez in a baseball game recently at Fenway Park.

I understand your hatred of A-Rod because he is a player not too many people like, even when he first started his baseball career. What right does Dempster have in hitting anyone? Let alone A-Rod. None, period.

What is hypocritical is the fine and suspension he received for his actions. A five game suspension (of which he will not miss a start) and a measly $2,500 fine. Pitchers should be suspended in number of games they cannot pitch rather than in days.

Back to the real issue. When pro players are put on pedestals, people forget they are humans. They expect so much more from athletes than they do from the average person. Bryant Gumbel, on his Real Sports program on HBO, suggested we look at America drug use first before we decry A-Rod. Gumbel in fact is not a support of Rodriguez. He produced the following statistics: America consumes more pills than any other nation in the world; America’s population is only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 99 percent of its painkillers; there are 4 million students on Ritalin in the U.S., 30 million on sleeping pills and 23 million more on statins. He did not even get into the use of illegal drugs by Americans. His obvious point is that many of those people decrying Rodriguez are certainly not setting an example (especially moms and dads) for America’s youth.

Also, part of the equation is the illegal use among high school and college athletes that is turned a blind eye by some coaches. I am sure the statistics for college students’ use of drugs (legal or illegal) to help them study is certainly very high.

What about the NFL and drug use? According to an ESPN analyst, PED use is about 30 to 40 percent of players. I am sure there are similar statistics in other pro sports as well. Yet, we hardly hear about the abuse in those sports.

It is so easy to cast stones towards someone who is an easy target. Depicting Dempster as a hero for violently hitting someone with a 93 mph fastball is utterly childish and irresponsible by Brennan. What message are you sending today’s athletes? I guess it must be that revenge and violence is the answer to solve all problems in sports and that one person alone is both judge and jury. Cleary, cooler heard are not prevalent in Brennan’s article.

Gene Massa

Naugatuck