With all due respect to Tony Kornheiser, whose humor I usually enjoy: He should stick to writing about sports, not illnesses ["Doing Right by the Players and the Teams," Sports, Nov. 2]. His comments about Washington Mystics player Chamique Holdsclaw showed obvious ignorance of the disease of depression.

While I had not been aware of her recent disclosure that she suffered from depression, I had followed the earlier controversy about whether she owed Washington fans an explanation for her medical problems. I do not agree that a person in the public eye is required to reveal every piece of personal and medical information to the public.

For Kornheiser's information, depression is a potentially fatal illness, not an "emotional problem." Alonzo Mourning had a potentially fatal kidney disease, but I didn't hear people saying that his team should forgive him or that he should take his talents elsewhere.

Did anyone question whether Mourning could be trusted because he had a medical condition?

Does anyone question Lance Armstrong's trust because he suffered from cancer?

Depression is a treatable illness with an emotional component to it. The fact that Kornheiser even wrote about depression in this manner reveals the stigma attached to mental illness that so many would like to believe no longer exists. If there were no stigma, perhaps Holdsclaw would have been more open about her diagnosis.

Many productive people in today's world live with chronic illnesses, depression being one of them. The fact that they are able to accomplish as much as they do, in spite of their illness, is a tribute to their dedication and perseverance.

I admire Holdsclaw for trying to play even when she obviously didn't feel well enough to do so, for getting the treatment she needed and for sharing her diagnosis with the public. I wish her well, no matter what she decides to do. Her primary responsibility is to get well and stay well. Our primary responsibility is to support her in doing so, not denigrate her for doing her best.

-- Mary Brewster

Laurel