Letters from the Issue of September 1 , 2005

Killing sports, dumping Dolphins, and some Miami history

Another Bahamas Mystery

Snatched in the middle of the night: I read Bob Norman's four-part series about the disappearance of Gary Weaver (August 4, 11, 18, 25) and was struck by the similarities to a crisis in my own family. My cousin's cousin disappeared under mysterious circumstances around the same time, in the early Eighties. He was involved in the drug trade.

We got word he was involved in a plane crash in the Bahamas. The plane was apparently way overloaded with cocaine, overshot the runway, and crashed. He was supposed to be in the hospital with a shattered arm. His mother, on hearing about it, took a flight there to meet him. When she arrived at the hospital, he wasn't there and no one had ever heard of him. One person came forward and said yes, he had been there and was removed in the middle of the night. No one has seen him since.

John Branch

Florida City

The Ultimate Sports Penalty

FIU knows what to do with teams that are grossly overbudget: As interim director of athletics at FIU, I was the person responsible for the elimination of men's tennis and men's golf in 1999, not 2001 as Tristram Korten's story suggests ("What's That Cop Doing in Our Huddle?" August 11).

Also let me assure your readers that the reason for the elimination of those two sports was they were grossly overbudget. Men's golf was a constant money-losing sport without a head coach. Before taking on the added expense of hiring another head coach and continuing losing money, it was decided to eliminate the sport. Men's tennis, although having a head coach, was grossly overbudget also. Football was never a part of the equation.

The elimination of these two sports caused much personal grief. However, the athletic department did the right thing by extending the scholarships to the student-athletes affected in these two sports until they either transferred to another university or graduated.

In the long run, FIU had no choice. With very little financial support from the community and little or no coverage in the local media, the future was very bleak at that time. If Mr. Korten had simply contacted me, instead of assuming the reason for the elimination of these two sports, he would have learned that.

Check all of your facts. It'll make your publication a bit more credible.

José Sotolongo

Miami

Dolphins: Enough Already

Messing with the logo is a proven loser of an idea: You guys have it all wrong. For starters, the Dolphins changed their logo prior to the 1997 season because owner Wayne Huizenga wanted a meaner look. Prior to the change in logo, the Dolphins, although not having won a championship in years, were consistently among the AFC upper tier. Since the switch in logos and colors in 1997, the Dolphins have been a disgrace, losing blowout playoff games at New England in 1997, at Denver in 1998, at Jacksonville in 1999, and at Oakland in 2000.

Until the logo switch, the Dolphins were consistently among the top five merchandise sellers in the entire nation. Last year, with the new "meaner" look, the Dolphins ranked fourteenth.

The Dolphins were always a likable team that attracted a national following. In the Seventies the team proved to be a counterweight for those who wanted good guys to root for instead of the Raiders or Steelers. Now the Dolphins have lost their identity, and what your publication is proposing is that the Dolphins throw out what remains of their 40 years of history and adopt a tacky symbol like the Patriots (who can easily be confused with Bank of America) or the Broncos. The Dolphins now have only a regional following and even that is eroding. I think better models are two classic NFL franchises -- the Bears and Packers. Both have done little to alter their uniforms and logos through the years and, win or lose, they still have a strong fan base and a strong identity.

Kartik Krishnaiyer

Delray Beach

Editor's note: Next week's issue will feature the winning entries in our "Dump This Dolphin!" design contest.

Stop This Bickering!

Allow me to settle the "Cubans made Miami" debate: Readers of New Times have now seen one ridiculous letter by Ronnie Fox ("Voting Republican Can Induce Delusions," July 21) answered with an equally ridiculous letter from Henry Gomez ("Sleepy Old Miami," August 11). I would appreciate the opportunity to respond rationally to both of them.

It's hard to say which is more absurd -- blaming Cuban immigrants for all the ills of Miami, or crediting them and them alone for all the growth and development that has taken place here. As far as political corruption goes -- well! In South Florida, nothing is as equal-opportunity as political corruption. I cannot think of a single major ethnic or racial group here that hasn't had a plentiful share of it, both from public officials and from those who work for and/or with them. Miami has been infested with corruption ever since Henry Flagler used a number of devious means to get the city incorporated and install his own slate of officials back in 1896.

Of course the Cuban-American vote was instrumental in electing Bush in 2000. So was the Anglo vote, the black vote, the Puerto Rican vote, the Green Party vote, the antique dealers' vote, the swingers' vote, the electricians' vote, and maybe even the Albanian-American vote. As Gomez himself admits, a switch of 269 votes anywhere in Florida would have put Al Gore in the White House.

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