As appellate counsel for Norby Walters, I must protest the reporting of the decision of the federal court of appeals in Chicago reversing Mr. Walters's mail fraud and RICO convictions {Sports, Sept. 18}. To begin with, the story describes the court's action as being based on a "technicality," which could not be further from the truth.

It is undisputed that Mr. Walters had consulted prominent sports attorneys regarding the lawfulness of the signing of college football players prior to the expiration of their eligibility and had been advised that such actions, though in violation of NCAA rules, were not illegal. Mr. Walters's convictions were reversed because of the trial court's erroneous and prejudicial refusal to instruct the jury on his advice-of-counsel defense. Obviously, if Mr. Walters acted in good-faith reliance upon such advice, he possessed no criminal intent and committed no crime. The question whether Mr. Walters committed any crime is no technicality.

Second, and even more disturbing, the story reports that "the government said" that Mr. Walters and Lloyd Bloom had threatened physical violence to prevent athletes from breaking the representation contracts they had entered into with the agents. It fails to report, however, that Mr. Walters was acquitted by the jury of any complicity in such threats.

ANDREW L. FREY Washington