In "Making Sport of Life's Rules" {Style, May 25}, an article about the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl by members of the Capitals hockey team, Tony Kornheiser wrote: "The Washington Capitals report not a single ticket cancellation in protest, not a single angry letter demanding that these players be punished, or traded, or asking who is responsible for bringing them to this team."

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Kornheiser is correct in his assertions about the attitudes of athletes and the limits of decency that apply to adult consensual sexual behavior, the above-quoted paragraph is still utter nonsense.

First, have all members of the team been accused of a crime? What has this sordid muddle to do with Kelly Miller, Mike Ridley, Terry Murray, the rivalry with the Flyers, paying back the Devils, climbing out of the division and the hope of thousands of hockey fans to be inside the Capital Centre again next May? Nothing. To cancel my ticket would be to say that I believe that hockey and sex crimes are linked or at least that I accept the notion of guilt by association. I don't.

Second, punishment would be premature. Every member of the franchise is bound at this time to believe that the four men are innocent until proven otherwise.

Third, traded? That would be an interesting variation on the "not in my backyard" mentality. And traded for whom? A Ciccarelli/Probert swap? "Well, we're assuming that this one's a pervert, so why don't you give us your drug smuggler." Be serious.

Fourth, speaking of drugs, have you ever heard of the "drug courier profile"? Has Kornheiser developed the "potentially sexually deviant athlete profile"? Does he really believe that scouts and team management should be chastised for not spotting the leanings of a hockey player by the gleam in his eye, the fact that he shadowed Wayne Gretzky while playing for Calgary or some other random characteristic?

You're excused from this jury for cause, Kornheiser.

-- Kathleen Akerley