Tony Kornheiser's column, "Strikers May Be Hurt By Learning Uniforms Make the Players in the NFL," was brilliant for its insight. There are also some practical reasons why we season ticket holders should support the strike team.

I believe the bottom line in this strike is how much more the fans can be made to pay. When it comes to covering expenses, the owners are only middlemen. Since TV revenues cannot now be increased (partly due to the impact of the 1982 strike), you can bet that free agency "bidding wars" would lead to a major escalation of ticket prices. Twenty-five dollars is a little dear, but $40 or $50 is prohibitive.

The players already have more free agency than the rest of us. We and they have the option each day to sell cars or insurance, do accounting or construction, or whatever. But the players have the additional option of playing for the Washington Redskins, for which they do not appear particularly grateful.

I do not begrudge the players the $300,000 in salary and fringe benefits they now average, but do not seem to appreciate. But I know, and I think the players know, that if salaries had risen to only half the present level, few players would have quit to pursue other lines of work. The players now make 10 times the national average from the team and more on the side. How much is enough?

The fans are being taken very much for granted. The only way I can see for the fans to make their interests known is to support the strike team. Robert L. Thompson Fairfax

Burden Is on Players

The aging player said it best: "A person should be able to earn all he can. Professional sports is just a business." Does this sound like one of the greedy NFL strikers? No. It was said by Babe Ruth.

Football is just a business, too, and nothing much has changed today. It doesn't matter whether it's $5,000 or $5 million. It has to do with market value. I work harder for $30,000 than most NFL players do for a million. However, no one wants to pay to see me talk on the telephone.

All the pressure is on the players. Most last less than four seasons. Many sustain injuries that last a lifetime, and the majority have no marketable skills outside of football. The owners don't have to worry about being cut and their incomes (percentages from TV, NFL products, etc.) are guaranteed, even if they have a losing team.

The greed lies with the owners . . . not with the players. Ron Davidson Silver Spring

A Matter of Respect

Over the years, I have admired and enjoyed Andrew Beyer's insights on wagering matters such as the track bias and the tribulations of a Pick Six player.

He left me, however, when he tried to train Cormorant for Jim Simpson and Linkage for Henry Clark. More recently, he knew more about Alysheba's need for Lasix than did Jack Van Berg. Clearly, these respected horsemen need no defense from me.

Nor do Paul Mellon or Jack Miller, the objects of Beyer's scorn in his Sept. 24 piece on Java Gold.

If Mellon/Miller were attempting in some sneaky way -- as his article implies -- to capture an Eclipse Award for Java Gold, his article might have some point. Neither of them needs another such honor.

What Beyer obviously fails to understand is that the ultimate joy in this game is to breed and race a good horse. Mellon has experienced that more than most people in the business. One reason is that he and his trainers respect the horse. They plan a racing career that fits the horse.

I agree with Beyer in admiring horses who have won the Kentucky Derby, but it is absurd to suggest there is some built-in obligation of sportsmanship for an owner of a good 2-year-old to put it through the rigors and risks of winter racing while still an adolescent in grown terms in order to run in the Kentucky Derby. Some decide to take that path; others don't. Henry T. Rathbun Washington, D.C.

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