Howard Cosell's work is often obnoxious, but he doesn't deserve the virulent criticism afoot. That was the suggestion made here two weeks ago. And today we hear from kindly readers, whose responses fall into five main categories . . .

1. LET ME AT HIS THROAT

"I watch Monday Night Football, the World Series, etc., and I'd watch them if Yasser Arafat of the PLO were doing the commentary in Arabic, said Ronny Gordon of Chicago. "Cosell is not and never has been the attraction. He is an irritation. He detracts.

"He had a variety show, and it bombed, but his sports audience is a captive one, and can't turn to a different station and still watch the Series, etc. We can't turn him off and that is what is out-rageous.

Let him pay the price of disfavor. This is not the time for a cease-fire.

Ben Peters of Green Bay. Wis., said, "Cosell has earned every bit of abuse he's received an more, all on his own. Isolated incidents (such as pliers thrown at him) don't make a case and your examples certainly justify the thinking that violence is often the result of frustration.

"We, the majority are frustrated because our letters, phone calls and petitions are ignored. This ignorance is the frustration that causes people to lose their cool when they see Cosell in person."

And Paul Taylor of Silver Spring said, "We live in a strange and violent world, and things and people that are antagonistic pay a price for antagonism. Cosell is boorish, offensiv of who appears in our living rooms in the same uninvited way that "the spider sat down beside her." . . . He remains an ugly duckling who is fair game for the brick-throwers, the overkillers and the hatemongers into whose life he drops with irritating regularity."

Comment: You may ask, then, why did Kindred defend this bum? Read on.

H. FILTHY LUCRE OR NEPOTISM?

"I read your article and I find you as nauseating as Cosell," cooed H.E. Carbaugh of Philadelphis.

"I suspect ABC you to write the article." Richard E. Morgan of Bowie said, "I don't understand how you can use the sports section of The Post as a public relations vehicle for Cosell. If you are going to write such drivel, you shouldn't call yourself a reporter. You should be picking up your check from Cosell. You ought to take your PR check and leave the country."

And Don Jones of Chicago asked, "Are you Cosell's son-in-law?"

Comment: On the other hand, some sweet corespondents said it had nothing to do with money. Read on.

II. A MATTER OF INTELLIGENCE

"I had in mind telling you I was going to start selling "Kindred Must Go!" bumper stickers, to match the "Cosell Must Go!" sticker now being marketed by a guy in Connecticut," said Mike barry, a sports columist for the same Louisville newspapers that paid for Kindred's beer for 12 years.

"Then I thought I'd send you a message: Your're like all the other people who go to Washington - you leave your brains at home."

And John E. Roberts of Lexington,Ky., said. "When The Post needed another nitwit, they apparently made the right choice in you. The constant foisting of Cosell on the public obviously has driven some people past the point of sane reaction."

Comment: Obviously

IV. SHUT HIM UPPPPPP!

"Cosell is a bore and a certified jerk and no one, especially a member of the freeloading press corps, has any right to tell me to shut up about him. And your chestnut about him defending Ali - so what? They're a pair of equally obnoxious pimples, one trying to outshout the other to say something no one wants tohear."

Paul V. Hagan of Merion, Pa., thus saw the symptoms, but Eck H. Bozeman of Winnfield, La, diagnosed the disease.

"I feel sorry for anyone with an affliction," Bozeman said. "And Howard does have an affliction - St. Vitus Dance of the jawbone. The only cure known to man is to isolate such a case and take him off the air."

Comment: About here, you probably think Kindred will do something tricky like end this by quoting from a favorable letter. You're right.

V. HEHAS A HEART

"As a sometimes frantic fan of Howard Cosell's. I'd like to thank you for the fair article on HOW said Jackie Denney of Austin, Tex (one of 12 correspondents who praised Cosell: 19 condemned him).

"HC is sometimes a pain and enough to make you fall to the ground and bite sticks. Yet the man asks pertinent questions that get long, involved answers. I don'tremember a bunch of yes and no answers. Thank you for speaking out. Thank you for seeing through the mouth to the heart."