Regarding “Editorial: Damar Hamlin showed America the cost of violence,” (Jan. 6): After reading the Sunday editorial, I am quite puzzled. Damar Hamlin was not the victim of a vicious hit during a football game; he initiated the contact while making a routine tackle. It amazes me that the most important issue of the day is your lack of knowledge about football. Yes, football is a violent sport and anyone who has ever played or watched a football game knows this before the opening kickoff. It is a sport played by willing participants (and highly compensated professionals) who know the dangers when they voluntarily choose to play the sport.

I agree with wanting sports to be safer as well as everyday life. If the intent of the editorial was to reduce violence, then why didn’t you focus on the innocent people who are injured or killed daily in Houston and the rest of America by criminals? I know that daily violent crime far exceeds the daily injuries of football players.

Also, you failed to mention that Hamlin’s issue may have been a personal undiagnosed medical condition that had nothing to do with playing football. There also was no mention of the slim chance that he may have experienced myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that has been linked to the COVID vaccine and that has largely affected otherwise healthy young men.

If you are truly worried about unnecessary deaths related to preventable causes, then the Chronicle should champion not allowing bicycle lanes to use the same roads as automobiles in Houston. I read about bicycle deaths involving automobiles on a regular basis. Why encourage a bicyclist, who may or may not be wearing a small helmet, to think they are adequately protected against a crash with an automobile? Football players wearing head-to-toe personal protection playing football are much safer than a person wearing spandex clothing, sunglasses and a plastic helmet, trying to survive a crash with an automobile. 

Mark Jenkins, Cypress

Thank you for an excellent editorial on “the violent game” and the price we are paying for our addiction.

Personally, I refuse to watch a sport that glorifies violence and that, in the process, is setting a disturbing example for how to solve conflicts in society. I take exception to the idea that “football can be a beautiful game” — that title is rightly bestowed on the “real” football that we call soccer for no obvious reason in this country, and this country alone. 

Hopefully your article will start a discussion on the merits of football and how to make it safer for the players and with a more wholesome message to send its fans. Sadly, I don’t think that Mr. Hamlin’s near-death experience — or, heavens forbid, an eventual real death on the field — will change minds and result in meaningful reforms.

Michael Waldau, Houston


Regarding “Smith: A totally Texans finish. Win a game, lose the NFL’s top pick, ditch your coach,” (Jan. 8): This horribly misguided story presents an analogy to Democratic politics. There’s something unsportsmanlike if not ethically convoluted about the suggested attitude of “losing to win.” Whatever happened to the idea of fair play? Surely, had Coach Smith and his Texans staff conspired to lose the game in order to get the top draft pick, it would have been unethical, if not in direct violation of league rules. This is what our great country has degenerated into: a nation that will cheat to achieve its goals. How would the players and the paying fans of both teams have felt, knowing a Texans loss was phony? Does sportswriter Brian Smith encourage his kids to cheat? He ought to be ashamed for even proposing the idea.  

J. Jones, La Porte

Did Lovie Smith get fired by the Houston Texans because he sometimes lost, or because he actually sometimes won?

Ted Shaw, Cypress

Houston’s narrative

Regarding “He served 38 years for a crime he committed at 16. Now, he’s finding his way in a changed Houston,” (Jan. 5): It is your job to chronicle the narrative of Houston. Sunday’s story about Demetrius Johnson by R.A. Schuetz and Jon Shapley made a refreshing contribution to that end. They capture the joy of Johnson’s redemption. Houston’s (Fifth Ward) generosity is heralded. Kudos to you and your staff for balancing Houston’s diverse narrative. After all, all Houstonians are impacted by the narrative our new outlets choose to chronicle. 

John Rezentes, Houston

Battleship Texas

Regarding “From Mardi Gras to film festivals, here are some of Houston’s biggest events coming in early 2023,” (Jan. 3): Now here is a little something to take a break from all the doom and gloom. The Battleship Texas Foundation is offering dry dock, hard hat tours every Sunday at Gulf Copper shipyard in Galveston. I was there this past Sunday, and what a thrill. Yes, you actually get to go on the dry dock and put your hands on the hull of this grand lady. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and were able to explain all facets of the repair work being done. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Take advantage of this historical event.

Jeff Kesler, Sugar Land