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Sunday, January 28, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Backtalk

Readers write about Gary Payton and high school football

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Sonics

Don't point finger at the Glove -- team's problems start at the top

After reading Steve Kelley's column (Times, Jan. 21) regarding Gary Payton, I believe he has finally pointed his finger at the real culprit.

When a player has demonstrated his inability to coexist with coaches that have the records of George Karl (his Milwaukee Bucks are first in their division) and Paul Westphal (who spoke softly but did not carry the big stick), how can the populace expect Nate McMillan to successfully steer this vehicle to victory while dealing with a temperament nicknamed "The Glove" in lieu of "The Mouth"?

I pity the upper-echelon members of the Sonic organization. They will have to endure a long diet of crow before the table they set is empty enough to clear. I'll donate the salt the moment they are willing to start.

Michael C. Turner, Renton

Don't let Payton join Seattle exodus

Every major sports star - Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey, Joey Galloway, Shawn Kemp, Alex Rodriguez - has been forced out of our beautiful city. It seems we just don't want to keep our stars shining bright in Seattle.

Everyone is quick to forget that these stars are our kids' idols and role models. These stars do more for the local communities than people ever know. They give everyone excitement, inspiration, entertainment, goals and dreams.

I am a huge Gary Payton fan. He is a true role model and the best basketball player to ever grace the Seattle courts. We should all support him and praise him for his work and not force him to leave. Can't we let any superstar besides Nate McMillan retire from our town and let them become part of it?

Kevin Johnson, Seattle

Like sirens, Sonics keep wooing us

Like a blatant seductress, they suck you in. Like your first love, they'll break your heart. Like a wreck on the side of the road, you have to look. These are our Sonics.

Two days ago I took up Steve Kelley's cry: "Blow 'em up!" Today, after watching them dismantle the Lakers for a third straight time, I am once again under their spell. It's an incantation of hustle, pride and skill.

So today I'm saying keep Gary Payton because no one plays as hard. These Sonics may not be done yet. Then again - she loves me, she loves me not?

Scott Peterson, Yakima

Don't trade guard, trade columnist

When I read Steve Kelley's article calling for the trade of Gary Payton, my reaction was: Kelley's crossed the line again. I have suffered through Kelley's harebrained ideas for Seattle's sports teams, including his suggestions of trades of outstanding athletes.

Payton, besides being the heart and soul of the Sonics, has contributed enormously to the Seattle community and his country by organizing charitable fund-raising basketball games, giving Seattle the NBA Finals experience, and winning two Olympic gold medals. Let's vote for the trade of Payton or the trade of Kelley. I will cast the first vote: Trade Kelley.

Eddie Bernard, Bellevue

Sonics' uncomfortable workplace

For those of us whose companies are subject to various fair-salary and treatment policies, it is incongruous for us to read that Payton has a history of yelling vulgarities and obscenities at his fellow players, coaches and other managers. That is grounds for censure on the first offense, suspension for the second, and removal for the third offense.

Jim Hochstein, Bremerton

High-school football

Skyline player deserves credit, too

Reggie Williams' front-page splash ("Williams says yes to Dawgs," Times, Jan. 23) is great, and it makes even more amazing the performance of Simi Reynolds in last month's Class 3A state championship football game. Reynolds - 5 feet 9 - was the Skyline cornerback who covered the 6-4 Williams and helped the Spartans win their first state title.

Simi Reynolds may be shorter and less celebrated than Williams, but he plays with a 10-foot-tall heart.

Dan Gilmore, Seattle

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-mal to: sports@seattletimes.com.

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