What a great column by Arthur Ashe (Jan. 6, 1991). Miami's taunting before and during the Cotton Bowl, and its lack of remorse for it afterwards, was annoying and detracted from its great performance. Ashe pointed out that this form of expression is culturally learned, and takes much away from the game, be it football or basketball. Ashe mentions both and says that although it is a learned behavior, that doesn't justify it. It just explains its existence.

As long as there are players such as Miami's who continue to act as they do, there will always be a negative act for the next generation to follow.

There are people out there now who can break this cycle of acquired "acceptable" behavior. Hopefully the likes of Art Monk and Walter Payton, future Hall of Famers both, will be admired for their quiet greatness, despite their lack of a quality post-score dance. In the long run, these are people who should be admired, by all athletes and sports fans.

Ashe used his color of skin as an opportunity to express the truth as he saw and as many believe it. Unfortunately, his view is correct; it would be considered racist if a white man wrote the exact same thing. This letter is one of admiration for Mr. Ashe. Seton Motley Alexandria

Rose Deserves Place in Hall

Lee MacPhail and the special eligibility committee have done baseball a grave injustice by denying the nation's baseball writers the chance to vote Pete Rose into baseball's Hall of Fame.

Yes, in a world where few qualify for sainthood, Pete Rose made a serious mistake off the playing field, and he has been appropriately and seriously paying for that mistake off the playing field. But the Hall of Fame is about what athletes did in baseball, and there Rose was among the greatest. On the field, diving into bases fearless of whether it might mar his face for a magazine advertisement, Rose was a model to kids of what could be achieved by focus, desire and hard work.

But off the field, there is a side to Rose that the eligibility committee has overlooked. A few years ago, just after I lost my mother, my father learned he had terminal cancer. I was driving to work on a February morning wondering how to put even one ray of sunshine back into my father's life when I heard Pete Rose being interviewed on the radio about the upcoming season. After his family, the thing my dad loved most in the world was baseball, so I wrote to Pete Rose and asked if he'd send my dad a picture to lift his spirits.

A week later, when I walked into his home, my father had a broad grin on his face and said, "Son, come look at this." In his hand was an 8-by-10 glossy of Pete Rose and written across the bottom was "For my friend Jack." Admittedly, I'm highly biased in the matter, but I can't believe the man who took the time to put that glow on my father's face has been bad for baseball. Andy Solomon Clearwater, Fla.

A Case for No. 1

In 1973 the NCAA football national champion was Notre Dame. In 1974 it was Oklahoma, in 1978 Alabama, and in 1981 Clemson. Not many people know that none of these teams was ranked No. 1 by United Press International. It's unfortunate that no one ever remembers those UPI No. 1 teams. They're usually not even on the list of national champions, and when they are, they're found behind or underneath the Associated Press choice. I guess that's because the AP is recognized as the official poll by almost everyone while the UPI poll, not having been in existence as long, is considered to be of relatively little significance.

When it comes to sports in this country, controversies are soon forgotten and no one ever remembers who was second. Can anyone even remember who was No. 2 last year? In a few years we will all forget that there was another football team that thought it should be No. 1 in 1990 instead of Colorado. Georgia Tech had an excellent team that probably deserves a better fate. It's such a shame. John Hubbard Broomfield, Colo.

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