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Sunday, January 21, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Backtalk

Readers write about Sonics, Huskies

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Sonics

If Gary Payton leaves, this fan won't be back

If Gary Payton is traded, we would lose all our Seattle superstars. To name a few, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Joey Galloway, Shawn Kemp - heck, even George Karl.

I love Payton and I do know he is out of line sometimes, but that's just the competitive flame burning inside him. I respect him a lot for what he's done in Seattle as a professional basketball player and as a community leader. The nights I go see the Sonics, he is the player that I love seeing.

I would love seeing Payton's jersey up there with all the Sonic greats. If he leaves, you will lose me as a Sonic fan, and you will lose many others that will follow me, and KeyArena will be empty once more.

Chris Layacan, Seattle

Gary will never change

Gary Payton goes off on his coach and teammates for the umpteenth time, and Steve Kelley (Times, Jan. 12) sings the praises of Coach Nate McMillan because he stepped up and suspended Payton for one whole game! Not only that, but weak-kneed management decided to actually stand behind the one game this time. Wow, now that's going to send a message. Hoo-boy, there's a new sheriff in town. That ought to teach Gary that he doesn't run the team, Coach does.

Are you kidding me? This little charade won't change Gary one bit. Sure, he may clean up his act for a few games, play with renewed determination, display leadership - blah, blah, blah. But rest assured a leopard doesn't change his spots, and Bad Gary will resurface soon enough.

Stuart Haas, Seattle

Husky football

Hedges should start coaching search now

I read where Rick Neuheisel has met with Barbara Hedges to say that promises of more money and better facilities will not tempt him to leave Washington for the NFL.

Seems like I have heard promises to the athletic director and denials in the press on similar matters before when Neuheisel was at Colorado.

If I were Ms. Hedges, I would start my search for the inevitable, eventual replacement now.

If I were a potential recruit for the Huskies, I'd really make sure I like the campus, the education I would get and some of the assistant coaches before I committed. The chance of them keeping their head coach for their entire college career is very slim.

You reap what you sow.

Doyle Bloss, Mead, Colo.

Some fans blinded by purple-colored glasses

I'd like to thank Peter Shapiro (Times' Backtalk, Jan. 14) for his purple-colored glasses assessment of Husky football. I admire the passion, but UW football no less than a "moral beacon?" Easy, big fella. But since we're passing out purple platitudes, let's make sure pious and pompous get equal time.

Right-thinking Husky fans are sincerely dumbfounded by us non-believers. Makes 'em sort of cute in a big, furry, blank sort of way. Coach Neuheisel would be crazy to leave this gig!

Kristopher Jones, Brier

Mariners

Follow Expos' example and avoid big salaries

I appreciate that the Mariners need to raise substantial amounts of cash flow to play in the big leagues, but given the Montreal Expos' experience and their continued success in developing young talent, perhaps the Mariners could lean in this direction.

Bring in rookies and play them until they learn the game, perhaps on four-year contracts. If, at the end of their initial term, they choose to go elsewhere, so be it. But, in the interim, the up-and-comers would garner respect for a team that gives young talent a fair shake, keeps player contract costs low and has a loyal fan following that fills the seats.

Why do team owners believe in shelling out ridiculous amounts for sometimes-deserving players and sometimes-familiar names, instead of using their skills to put a competitive and cost-effective team on the diamond?

I would wager that fans would rather attend more games and see new talent put in a 100-percent effort, than pay exorbitantly for the privilege of watching spoiled, overpaid athletes complain and make excuses.

Rick Angus, Vancouver, B.C.

Send us your backtalk

Letters bearing true names, addresses and telephone numbers for verification are considered for publication. Please limit letters to 125 words or less. They are subject to editing and become the property of The Times. Fax them to 206-464-3255, or mail to: Backtalk, Seattle Times Sports, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. Or e-mail to: sports@seattletimes.com.

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