Sports Letters for Oct. 20 - The Buffalo News

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Sports Letters for Oct. 20

Lancaster nickname was meant to honor

It’s time to re-define “Redskin” after hearing some reporters take the view that it cannot possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait, nor could it possibly be considered a neutral term. It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present day intent.

People’s main argument seems to be that it’s a slur, racially degrading. Since we’ve become more progressive and “educated,” we should rename our teams with something less offensive.

I simply refuse to believe that our educational hierarchy permitted our district to be named with a degrading, derogatory, racially offensive term. I believe that the administrators and leaders of our Lancaster district during that era wanted the same that you and I do today: that no religion, race or person is better than the other.

The district defined Redskin with the honor, the pride in the land they called their own, their steadfastness and integrity all Native American tribes possessed. From the Apache nation to the Sioux nation, our education leaders wanted those emblematic tribal characteristics to be imbedded in the hearts of future generations of Lancaster community members.

I think it’s more important to listen to your inner voice as you make decisions in your life than those around you. I choose not to ignore our roots and those who originally guided Lancaster’s long tradition of success. I’m sure I’m not alone.

During my tenure as a coach and later as an athletic director, I pounded the ideals of integrity our Native American nation holds dear into every athlete I had the pleasure to coach. All student-athletes and students who participated in school activities, clubs, musical events, marching bands, varied orchestral and choir groups were connected under the same banner. They celebrated victory and endured bitter defeat and disappointments under one unified name. It’s insulting to think the ideals we stood for then under the “Home of the Redskins” are viewed as utterly disgusting now.

Modern psychology recognizes that learning about our past vastly improves our understanding of ourselves. I respect the dissenting opinions of those who are in the minority, however the name’s use was never intended with malice or insensitivity.

It’s time to re-define Redskin, remove whatever negative racial connotation it commands, and educate those who believe it’s just “incorrect.”

Len Jankiewicz


Sabres seem headed for repeat performance

I am sure long suffering Sabres fans, such as myself, remember a while back when our inept GM let our two best players, Drury and Briere, leave after refusing to negotiate with them during the season, and letting both walk when they became free agents. And we had just had a great season and were possibly a player or two away from a real shot at the Cup. We all know what happened instead. Both expressed an interest to stay and likely would have accepted a hometown discount to remain Sabres. They signed with other teams, and we received nothing in return. Shameful.

Fast forward to now. Has our GM learned his lesson? Obviously not, as Vanek amd Miller continue to twist in the wind. Both have expressed a desire to leave if we are rebuilding, which we certainly are. They should have been traded in the offseason when their trade value was higher. Now, both will have subpar years with no supporting cast to help them, and we will get nothing of value in a trade. Or both will sign with other teams after this season, and our two biggest assets will again leave with nothing to show in return. Does anyone doubt that this scenario will take place? With each passing day, our bargaining power diminishes.

It is deja vu all over again.

Tom Vilardo

Town of Niagara

Organ music included on his complaint list

Buffalo found a “Sabres fan” who came into “hockey town,” bought the team and made promises that any hockey man would find impossible to take seriously.

The hockey team got all sorts of perks, new ice surface, super dehumidification system, fancy logo on the locker room rug that “no one dares walk on” while teams come to town and walk all over our team which still is too soft and still seems uninterested in being winners.

Fans, not the owner, are the ones in the seats who pay their money, drive downtown, search out a parking space, buy something to eat and drink, buy a team jersey and cap, and watch the players skate around like zombies too many nights, and then tell the press, in their postgame interviews what they shoulda-coulda done and how much they really, really care for the fans. Don’t they seem to say basically the same things every night?

Some thoughts:

Find an organist who can get the music out of a 20-year time warp.

Find a general manager who isn’t “biding time” to keep collecting paychecks with “We all need to suffer for a while” and bringing kids into a man’s sport to delay that inevitable firing.

Don’t even mention “power plays.” Just continue as usual and maybe someone will take note that we have more players on the ice than the penalized team does and maybe we should find that open man instead of standing there acting like they are in some power play mode which hasn’t worked in a whole lot of years.

There is something the fans can do, and eventually will, at which time the Sabres are in a whole world of hurt. When the booing starts next time, cascading down like at the end of Ruff’s tenure, which doesn’t seem to have fixed anything, it is going to be impossible to stop with a new carpet or new seats, or louder sound system or another ice rink or two across the street, or discounts in the store. At that point, maybe in a panic, we will bring in hockey people and turn this all around. “We will win the Stanley Cup in three years? Good grief, what planet are we on?

Ron Wilson

East Amherst

More use of fullback might help the Bills

With the Bills in deep trouble at quarterback, my suggestion to Doug Marrone is to revert to an old-school offense emphasizing the running game. By this I mean letting the fullback run with the ball at least once for every two times it’s carried by the tailback. These should include quick hitters up the middle from the up-positon of the I-formation. If defenses key on the tailback, maybe the fullback can pick up decent yardage early in games and get opposing defenses guessing who’ll get the ball on any play. That might open things up more for the tailback.

If it didn’t involve putting in a whole new offense while the season was already in progress, I’d call for inserting the wishbone with Spiller, Jackson, and Frank Summers.

How’s that for radical?

Joe Kwiatkowski


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 email to Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.

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