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Is college football fixed?

How can John Romano claim the Gators have no one but themselves to blame for their Sept. 18 loss? After pointing out the large discrepancy in penalties, he states that it does not matter, and that it's always the last shove that an official calls. In this case, however, the official definitively saw the Tennessee player take the first swing and chose to only penalize the Gators.

When is the press _ always eager for a blockbuster story _ going to stop dismissing these types of things as blown calls and start looking into the obvious game fixing that is taking place? I give credit to the Tennessee kicker, but his kick wouldn't have been good from 65 yards.

Bain Blowers

Tampa

Olbermann tells his story

Regarding last week's Rant, would it not be more productive to question the origin of the circumstances under which ESPN sportscasters began to do advertisements? Other than blanket exemptions for Chris Berman (remember the Bud Bowl?) and Dick Vitale, there just weren't any ads permitted _ until ESPN launched its own ads for SportsCenter in 1996. We were all required to present ourselves as pitchmen (and universally lauded by obliging newspapermen).

Outside offers followed, and having established the precedent itself, the company was kind of boxed in. It didn't help that the meager salaries we were paid were such that the Boston Market advertising I did at the end of 1996 (total work time, six days) was financially worth more than my ESPN salary for the last year of my contract there.

By the way, top sports writers like Hugh Fullerton were doing newspaper ads as far back as 1905.

Keith Olbermann

via e-mail

Beckles out of touch

Can the NFL get any more out of control? Listening to a local AM radio station's pregame show recently proved just how self-centered and egotistical the players and former players have allowed themselves to get.

This host, former Bucs offensive lineman Ian Beckles, was talking about the tremendous pressure NFL players feel. He went on to compare the job, not a game (a distinction he made very clear), to that of regular working people. Not like we feel the pressure of a 325-pound man running at us. Why doesn't he ask surgeons, attorneys, cops, salespeople, working moms if they feel pressure? Or better yet, ask our people in Iraq or Afghanistan.

One of his co-hosts said he heard it once said that next to being president of the United States, the job with the most pressure was that of an NFL player. Unreal! Get out of your box and get back in touch with the real world, guys.

Tom Ogle

Clearwater

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