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Hernandez Is Responsible to More Than Himself

March 22, 1986

As a mother and a teacher, I would like to take issue with Keith Hernandez's assertion that the only person he hurt with his cocaine use was himself. If Hernandez worked daily with high school students, as I do, perhaps he would realize that we have lost a substantial portion of a generation to substance abuse. Every new person who abuses drugs diminishes our society. When that person is, perhaps, the best first baseman in baseball, a badly needed potential role model is lost.

It is a fact of life in this country that sports stars are admired and emulated by millions of children. When a star the magnitude of Keith Hernandez claims that cocaine is harmful only to himself, the only person he is fooling is himself. However, if he was able to maintain a superior level of skill while admittedly abusing drugs, what is he saying to those millions of American children who will face the decision about drug use in the future? It is those children, who are the future of our country, whom he is harming.

DENISE BARNETT NIELSEN

Thousand Oaks

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