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Letters / Our readers speak out

Local owners are not entitled to special rate

The letter writer who suggested that Ralph Wilson should sell the Bills locally at a reasonable price is mistaken. The NFL has already determined that each owner has a fiduciary responsibility to the other 31 owners to sell the team at whatever price the market will bear -- a market not limited to Western New York.

Wilson has no real ability to select the buyer since potential buyers need to be approved by the other owners, who must consider such details as whether the potential owner has an acceptable debt-to-wealth ratio, including millions in liquid assets postsale and prior to factoring in future ticket sales, merchandising, concessions, stadium naming rights, etc. Intentionally keeping the price low so that local buyers have a shot at the team will simply flood the market with many more deeper-pocketed owners or ownership groups from around the country and is contrary to capitalism.

As much as people wish it were not so, Buffalo is no longer an NFL city. But we could be an NBA city again.

Bill Reese



What's in a name? Extra money, for one

Asked why the Bills did not let a sponsor pay him for the naming rights to the stadium, Ralph Wilson stated it would not be enough money to make a difference. I disagree.

The Bills have an excellent coach in Dick Jauron, who has been able to get the most out of the players he has. Why not spend the extra money from the naming rights of the stadium to find talented players? Use some of the money to hire an experienced consultant to help advise Marv Levy on player personnel decisions. Use the rest to put together a larger scouting staff.

Levy could use the help. He made a mistake when he agreed not to put the franchise tag on Nate Clements. Clements will be one of the most sought-after players in free agency, and the Bills are going to get nothing for him. An over-the-hill Peerless Price was signed to a lucrative contract. Andre' Davis is bigger, faster and tougher than Price, and should have been starting.

Levy made Donte Whitner the eighth overall pick in the draft. As a strong safety he made a lot of tackles, but he is not a hard hitter, and he seemed helpless in pass coverage against tight ends Antonio Gates and Todd Heap. I wonder how the season would have gone if the Bills had chosen run stopper Haloti Ngata instead.

Maybe the Bills can continue to improve if some money is spent in the right places. Money that will not have to come out of Mr. Wilson's pocket if he lets the stadium be renamed.

Phil Malnikof



It's tough to endorse Levy scoreboard ads

Maybe I am just another frustrated season-ticket holder, tired of not making the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year. The radio, television and billboard ads were bad enough, but to go to the games, open up the Bills Digest and then look up at the scoreboard and see more Marv Levy commercials is too much.

I admire him. His coaching record speaks for itself. But I don't need the Bills' general manager to tell me where to have cardiac surgery or where to buy my next car.

Criticizing a legend is never popular. I think Levy has done a good job so far, but the team has a long way to go. He should stick to what he was hired for, to run the football operation and manage the draft and free agency. All those empty seats this year speak volumes.

Ronald Eckert

Orchard Park


Season-ticket holders should hold on to them

As a Buffalo Sabres season-ticket holder, I am appalled at the number of Toronto fans cheering for their team in "our building." With the number of season tickets sold this year and practically all the games sold out, how do the Leafs' fans seem to take over our building, chanting our goalie's name and booing our beloved Sabres? If our season-ticket holders stopped selling their tickets on eBay to the Toronto fans, this would not happen. So, show your Sabres spirit and let the Leafs fans cheer for their team in their own arena.

Chris Cerne

North Collins


Negative Sabres fans are positively annoying

I opened the Sports section two Sundays ago to read about the Sabres defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs the night before. Tim Graham mentions that the Sabres had their most successful first 41 games in franchise history. I read Bucky Gleason's Power Rankings, listing the Sabres No. 1. Good news, right? Wrong.

The first letter to the editor is a negative one about the Sabres because they lost to Ottawa. Some fans in this area are so negative. This could be a special season for the Sabres, maybe their first Stanley Cup. I can only hope the Sabres players don't read the paper. If they catch the negativity mentioned in that letter, we may never celebrate a major sports championship in Buffalo.

Ken Pulvirenti


Please send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Letters include address and telephone number for verification.

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