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'Excellence in America'

November 04, 1987

Broder is usually "excellent," but this column was amateurish. To generalize to American business from professional sports is ludicrous, at least in this case. The football players out on strike were entertainers, not firemen or coal miners. Though I sympathize with their desire for free agency, their voluntary serfdom is both inessential and extremely well-paid.

The high turnover among players and their relative interchangeability under normal circumstances conditions fans to accept significant personnel changes. Thus the striking players cut very unsympathetic figures, and fans should not be denigrated for not bemoaning their loss for months. Besides, the teams for which fans generally root were still playing, even if some of their favorite players were not.

The "excellent" coaches were still on the job, and probably working harder than ever. Ergo the Redskins with an entirely new team were able to defeat the strike-breaking Cowboys. The caliber of play around the league was still high enough to affirm that the best 20-odd teams in the world were on the field.

As for his baseball argument, as much as I hate artificial turf and prefer day games, was baseball meant to be played in the cold of Minnesota in late October?

If "excellence" were the only criterion, fans would only watch the best teams playing each other. The thousands who follow teams from colleges and high schools which they might never have attended would stay home and watch reruns of the 1967 Packers.

JOHN H. HALE

Glendale

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