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I am very concerned about the veneration and status we give some athletes in our country as well as the examples they set for our youth. It begins in high school, when we allow players who should be suspended for poor grades or unacceptable behavior to take the field because they are stars and winning is so important.

It continues in college, when a free ride is given to an athlete who might have goofed off in high school rather than to the hard-working kid who really needs and deserves the assistance. Then, when they become professionals, we are disappointed if they abuse drugs, drive while intoxicated or hit their spouses. But we quickly forgive and forget when they win the next big game. We pay some of them more for one year than our teachers, policemen, firemen and most others earn in a lifetime.

We allow taxpayers' money to be diverted away from education and other vital areas to help pay for their stadiums. We let them spit in the face of umpires and play the next game because it's a really major game. If we're not careful, the unthinkable might happen: We might let one of them get away with murder.

Sue Flynn Williamsville

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