One of the negative aspects that seems to accompany our tremendous interest in professional sports is the seemingly ever-increasing number of stories which highlight the personal problems of athletes. Unfortunately, many of the decent and honorable contributions that these sports stars make to society don't seem to receive equal attention.
Perhaps a recent effort on the part of the Buffalo Bills and Jim Kelly highlights such a contribution. On Oct. 30, a unit of federal agents, state troopers and Syracuse police officers was engaged in a major narcotics investigation in Syracuse.
Tragically, a young Syracuse officer, Wallie Howard, was murdered by the suspects. His 8-year-old son Wallie, suddenly left without his dad, was an avid fan of Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills. As soon as we advised Bill Polian and Ed Stillwell of the Bills' management of our need to help this boy, they responded.
They were able to give us an official NFL football autographed by Jim Kelly. When we presented the memento, it provided the boy with some consolation at a time of great sadness. This act of charity was extremely important to all of us in law enforcement.
I might add that this has been typical of the type of response we in the State Police have come to expect of the Buffalo Bills. So, as we all join in their success on the football field, let us remember what they did for a young boy whose life was changed forever by violent crime.
THOMAS A. CONSTANTINE
Superintendent, New York State Police