NFL forgot the rules of the gameAmid...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NFL forgot the rules of the game

Amid the recent news reports that a West Coast member of the NFL -- that's apparently the National Florida League -- is considering the possibilities of a relocation to Orlando (is there any Florida city with over a thousand people that doesn't have a team?), the bruised and battered city of Baltimore (which is not in Florida) is also receiving interest from the National Football League.

The interest, however, is in the form of a lawsuit against Baltimore's fledgling Canadian Football League team, the CFL Colts. This is more than a lawsuit. It is a classic battle between evil and good; the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, etc.

While it is conceded that this lawsuit will serve to unite the citizens of Baltimore even more against the man they despise and the league that has abandoned them responsively and morally, it may also represent the seeds of the NFL's ultimate demise or, at least, denouement.

For surely the press surrounding this suit can do nothing to improve the NFL's tarnished image nationally and, worse, it will better inform other cities of the immense power the NFL is willing to expend to maintain its monopoly.

Given the capricious desires or hidden agendas of the current NFL ownership, it is clear that the league will spare little effort to bring those objectives to fruition whenever and wherever they choose to do so.

Hear that, other cities! Whether or not you are involved with the NFL, your loyalty means nothing.

At the end of the day, the NFL will go where it wants to go, leave where it wants to leave and write whatever script is necessary to achieve the end it desires.

Anyone who has ever seen video clips of Robert Irsay's behavior while an owner in Baltimore or Paul Tagliabue's remarks following the finale of his continued snubbing of this city will have their own special feelings about these people, likely bordering on the very uncomfortable.

It is interesting that while the NFL stood idly by when Mr. Irsay whisked the NFL Colts away from Baltimore under cover of darkness, confused and impotent to alter what has become widely viewed as a disgraceful action by a volatile owner, it is so quick to act with Mr. Irsay in protecting his "trademark."

The NFL watched while the good city of Baltimore was symbolically sacked, raped and pillaged. It was inept in righting a wrong; but it is committed to wronging a right.

In the end, it will not matter whether the CFL Colts keep or change their name. The result will be a wave of sentiment toward the city by the rest of the nation. People will cheer for this city in the same way that they cheer for any maligned underdog.

Baltimore will continue to grow as a strong, dynamic and beautiful city. But the NFL, led poetically in this lawsuit by the owner most representative of its worst qualities, will never be the same.

The NFL, dominated by a lawyer mentality, has lost its ability to gauge the potential effects of its actions.

It is obvious that its current leadership has such a void of sensitivity and intuition to the reactions of people that they are marching like mindless tin soldiers into a war that they can never win -- regardless of the ultimate decision in court.

Like the fabled emperor, the NFL has no clothes. The city of Baltimore knows it. More and more of the nation are beginning to know it.

But the NFL charges ahead anyway, naked and indifferent to the fact that it is on the road to its own oblivion.

David A. Kalman

Towson

Revamp health care

Of course, the Clinton health care plan is scary. But to suggest the Clintons are the next Darth Vaders is a little paranoid.

Our current health system includes doctors who police themselves (and badly, I might add); pharmaceutical companies which jack up prices on drugs that cost them pennies to make (oh, that's right, the cost is for more research); insurance companies which are now dropping their rates to invite more people into the fold, but for some reason couldn't do this any earlier; large corporations lobbying and spending millions upon millions of dollars to make sure their best interests are served; people infected with AIDS who must spend tens of thousands of dollars a year just to live to see another day; and, last, the effects of a Republican administration that sat on its hands for 12 years and ignored the cries of its own constituents for health care reform . . .

No plan is going to be perfect the first time around, especially with the pressures I just mentioned.

But to pretend there isn't a crisis and a need for change in this country when it comes to health care -- well, see a doctor and get your head examined.

Cindy McKenna

Baltimore

Bonus scandal

It's hard to believe the front page story of April 30 stating that the Social Security Administration gave $32 million in bonuses to over 43,000 of its 65,000 employees.

Particularly hard to swallow is the bonus of $9,256 to an employee, Lawrence Thompson, who had only been with Social Security for 2 1/2 months and whose annual salary is $120,594.

Then the Social Security Administration cried poor-mouth and that liberal Congress gave it $200 million over budget to meet obligations.

Of course, President Clinton's henchwoman, Donna Shalala, approved the whole bonus mess. Heads should roll over this.

A bonus for doing a good job should be that you get to keep your job. Mr. Thompson should return that money.

If this Social Security Administration mess is any indication of the working of the federal government, and surely it is, just think what a bureaucratic boondoggle there will be if the Clintons' XTC health plan is forced upon us, since it will include everyone in the United States and not just recipients of Social Security.

H. Robert Wagner

Baltimore

Boat repairs

When I worked at the Inner Harbor about six years ago, I am adamant in my memory that at least one of the masts was repaired and a huge replacement or renovation of the Constellation took place then.

The only possible explanation for the work needing to be done again is that the work was done by the same construction firm that did the National Aquarium.

Norris Walker

Baltimore

Mothers need WIC

Mother's Day is Sunday. Millions of Americans will buy cards, send flowers and telephone their mothers. Mother's Day is a wonderful day to affirm and celebrate one of the cornerstones of our society -- mothers.

I invite all citizens to celebrate Mother's Day in a new way. All they need is 10 minutes and 29 cents.

With these two simple tools, they can write a letter to Sen. Paul Sarbanes and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, both D-Md., and Rep. Helen Bentley, R-Md., and ask them to show their commitment to all mothers by co-sponsoring the "A Child is Waiting" Resolution, S. Con 65 & H Con 233.

The resolution supports guaranteed full funding for the WIC program so that all eligible women and their young children can participate.

WIC -- the Special Supplement Food Program for Women, Infants and Children -- is an effective cost-saving federal program for low-income, at-risk pregnant women, infants and children up to the age of 5.

By providing nutritious foods, medical screening and nutrition education, WIC reduces low birth weight births and infant mortality, decreases anemia and improves mental development.

WIC also saves money. For every dollar spent on pregnant women on WIC, up to $4.21 is saved in Medicaid alone.

According to the General Accounting Office, the $296 million spent on prenatal WIC benefits in 1990 will save $1.04 billion in health and education related expenses in the next 18 years.

Despite its indisputable benefits, only 60 percent of all women, infants and children eligible for WIC are served. Almost 3.5 million are left waiting.

No mother should have to wait for WIC or watch her child go hungry while waiting for WIC.

The "A Child is Waiting" resolution would assure that a provision to guarantee full funding for WIC would be included in whatever health care reform bill Congress passed. The resolution is supported by the anti-hunger organization, Bread for the World, of which I am a member.

After all, every mother deserves the chance to have healthy children.

Lorraine M. Whitely

Joppa

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