Pubdate: 25 Apr 1999
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 1999, New Haven Register
Section: Sports


Sports editor:

Dave Solomon's column regarding Khalid El-Amin deserves comment. He
seemed surprised and dismayed that this so-called basketball hero has
demonstrated poor judgment. Why? He mentioned that if not for the
elevated status bestowed upon him by media-driven, sports-obsessed
fanatics, this story would be on the bottom of page 63.

However, the problem isn't the deed diminishing the hero status, but
said status making too much of the deed.

All that is necessary is to put things in a perspective more closely
resembling reality. The reality is that the criteria for heroism and
adulation should perhaps be more than whether a person is, as he put
it, charming, funny and a heck of a basketball player. When a
19-year-old human with at least the regular amount of character flaws
is nonetheless propped up to near legendary status just because he has
a high degree of a particular athletic skill, it's because fans'
overzealous obsession with sports and winning have put him there.

El-Amin isn't guilty of anything other than being himself, engaging in
a particular activity not surprising at all if you look at the real
person apart from the accolade. (As far as the marijuana goes, I'd be
more concerned about running the red light).

The real shame goes to the business of sport where financial gain
suckers in one and all, to the media that feeds into and profits from
it, and ultimately to the seemingly life-empty, undying fans who shell
out the bucks to the profit-makers while polishing the pedestal for
the superstar.

The fact is, El-Amin's reputation isn't sullied; it's only closer to
where is should have been all along.

Joseph Iacobellis
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek Rea