Letters from the Issue of March 28, 2002

More debate over athletics versus academics

Yes, I'm Ashamed of UM

And yes, the sinner should pay, but don't kill the golden-egged goose: I will admit I am ashamed of what happened at the University of Miami. I believe Andre Johnson, Hurricanes wide receiver and Rose Bowl co-MVP, should be suspended. I also think New Times reporter Kirk Nielsen should lighten up a bit and not make misleading insinuations. The Andre Johnson affair deserved to be broken, but I don't think it merited two stories ("Punt," March 21 and "End Run," March 7).

Yes, I went to UM. Yes, there is a double standard, as there is at every school that has an athletic department. It is either naive, insane, or stupid to assume that students who bring literally millions of dollars to the school are not going to get some perks. Considering their schedules, they also require concessions during the season. What Mr. Johnson did, however, is beyond the pale. He should pay for his sins, but the athletic program should not be anchored by proposals from the professor who felt wronged. Right or wrong, football is what attracts the money and recognition, not some remedial sociology course.

By the way, comparing UM to Stanford is absurd. Stanford is a better school with a wider and more prosperous alumni base. Either Kirk knows nothing about football or he is absolute scum in drawing the comparison between Stanford contending for the Rose Bowl and UM's appearance. UM went because it was a title game. Stanford would have gone in a year it won the Pathetic 10 ... er, I mean PAC 10.

Richard de Villiers

Miami

Yes, I'm Embarrassed as a UM Student

But with so much money involved, corruption is inevitable: Whether or not Kirk Nielsen will be honest with himself is one thing, but the truth is that academic records are sealed. Even if the Buckley Amendment now shields the University of Miami administration, that is beyond the point. It is a federal law. You cannot just ignore Andre Johnson's right to confidentiality. The person who first leaked the information should be dealt with harshly. Furthermore Nielsen and New Times had no right to print the article, and if printing the article has a negative effect on Johnson's career, Nielsen, New Times, and the person who leaked information should be held responsible.

Despite how enraged we UM students and football fans may be over the situation, we are relieved that our beloved team did not suffer the loss of Rose Bowl co-MVP Andre Johnson. Losing Andre Johnson would have been a devastating blow to a team already plagued by the loss of graduating seniors and draft-ready juniors.

Yes, Johnson cheated. Yes, he got caught. Yes, the honor council did its job. And yes, the appeals committee let him off with a slap on the wrist. But quite frankly it is not anyone's business but his. Academic-integrity records are private and sealed. The only reason we know what occurred is because of a leak, a rat.

We all know that football players are held to different standards than other students. A normal student would have been kicked out of school for an act such as plagiarism. But it did not happen to a normal student. It happened to a star football player, an athlete who will play an important role in helping our football team achieve a repeat title next year, a player who will start for the very school whose honor code he has spat upon. Honor and trust, it seems, count only on the football field and within the team.

Does the decision to reduce Andre Johnson's punishment make our honor code a joke? Of course not. It just makes us like any other major football power trying to preserve its winning streak. It may be embarrassing to the student body and to the hard-working football players on our team, but it is a fact of life. Football is a world of its own. Name any other profession in which you can make millions of dollars instantly without even so much as a college diploma.

It is hard to comprehend and accept what the honor-council appeals committee did in Johnson's case because it is so unfair. Maybe society as a whole needs to start holding these emerging celebrities to a higher standard. As much as I would like to think that could happen, it will not. Football is the best moneymaker out there. And as long as there is money involved, the system will forever be corrupt.

Denise Kolb

Coral Gables

Meet You At the Shoe

On Saturday too: Thanks to Lee Klein for his review of our restaurant, the Meeting Point ("An Excellent Point," March 21). I just want to inform Mr. Klein that the Meeting Point is located in the Melin building (not Merlin) and that we're open in the Miami Design District from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Montse Guillen

Miami

Hey, Jethro, What Say We Mess with Them Loco Cubans

Fess up now, Vern, I know you jes itchin' for another full-page ad: Regarding last week's "Shake" column by Celeste Fraser Delgado ("A Belgian bridges the Latin jazz divide," March 21): Meanwhile, in the back offices of Miami New Times, the corn-fed, Oklahoma-born publishers and editors pondered and plotted their next scheme to sell advertising for their cheap rag by igniting controversy in Miami's Cuban community.

Fuck 'em. If they live within a community and don't have the faintest idea what they're about, but rather opt for omniscient criticism, then they are the ones with the problem.

Puhleeeze ... I'd call it journalism but I don't want to offend the Murrows of the world, should there be any left.

Valentin J. Prieto

Miami

Pugnacious Polyglot Uncovers Conspiracy

It's the columnists, I tell you: I agree with courageous letter-writer James R. Mann regarding Celeste Fraser Delgado, Emilio Estefan, and Juan Carlos Diaz ("Letters," February 21). Ms. Delgado supports only the Hispanic community in Miami, and she's not the only columnist who does.

The Estefans and a few politicians like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz-Balart would love to turn Miami into another Cuba. They consistently and totally disregard Haitian, Jewish, European, and other foreigners.

It is long overdue for non-Hispanic people to speak out without being intimidated. And by the way, I studied Spanish as well as French and German.

Lee Margolis

Miami Beach

Dubya and Emilio: Our Nation's Aesthetic Tag Team

The artists starve while the cynics prosper: I really couldn't care less about Celeste Fraser Delgado's report of the recent "scandal" involving Emilio Estefan and some other clown who accuses him of sexual misconduct. I am, however, extremely bothered by the news that President Bush has recently appointed Estefan to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Arts and humanities! Mr. Estefan, with his insatiable hunger for money and power, has neglected the rich and globally respected musical styles of his native Cuba. Creative, charismatic, virtuoso musicians in South Florida have remained in poverty and obscurity while Estefan has promoted a degrading, comical, and cartoonish "pop" image of Hispanic culture. This multimillion-dollar practice has no doubt contributed immensely to Miami's image as the cultural laughingstock of the planet.

Remaining anonymous may rob my letter of a certain integrity, but as both a struggling creative musical artist and a working sideman in South Florida, this letter would have me all but blacklisted.

Name Withheld by Request

Miami

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