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Did They Cheat to Win Our Hearts?

July 17, 1999

Whatever happened to it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game? Our goalie violated the rules, a planned violation like corking the bat in baseball. I am less proud of our team than had they won without that violation. Also, I am less proud because of the language used on TV by Brandi Chastain.

Like so many other sports, this one is not a role model either. Too bad.

TOM SYTA, Westchester

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I'm not sure what to think about Bill Dwyre and Maggie Farley's articles on Briana Scurry [July 15]. Should I be happy soccer is finally meriting attention by the major news outlets in this country? Or should I cringe at the rudimentary approach that this coverage often takes?

Every top-level goalkeeper comes off their line on a penalty kick. This is not nationalistic bias, it's a fact. Watch the men's final from the '94 Cup. Watch the Brazil-Holland semifinal from France last summer. Watch the Copa America going on right now. Watch any professional soccer match. Why didn't the Chinese team jump all over the ref about this matter? Because they play the game and they know the game.

Briana Scurry is not a cheater. She's a competitor. And she knows the game better than you or I.

CHRISTOPHER J. HERRERA, San Francisco

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I agree with Bill Dwyre and others who feel that the real strength of our nation is based on doing the right thing, not just on military power, per-capita income or winning at any cost. Because the illegally blocked penalty kick was crucial to our "win," we should stand tall and forfeit the game to China.

GORDON HEARNE, Encino

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I found the two articles on how Briana Scurry and the U.S. women cheated to win the World Cup quite laughable. One can compare it to the shortstop always getting the out call while turning a double play, even though many times his foot is nowhere near the bag. It is not legal, but it is accepted as part of the game.

JEFF NAIMAN, El Cajon

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If you don't force the Michael Jordans of the world to play by the rules, then why would you expect the Briana Scurrys to?

JOHN RING, Rancho Cucamonga

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Let me see if I understand this correctly. China, as a nation, is outraged that the U.S. women's soccer team stole an advantage when its goalie illegally moved forward to block a penalty kick. Fair enough. We'll give you the World Cup when you give us back our stolen nuclear secrets.

JOHN H. CORCORAN JR., Calabasas

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