Updated Feb. 24
Crisis came a-calling this week when I wrote about the wrestling controversy in Iowa. A boy refused to wrestle a girl, and I defended the boy. Here was the week, I figured, that I would be branded a sexist in Hate Mail.
Which wasn't the crisis, by the way.
So guess who wrote me? The girl's mother. And the girl's aunt. And that wasn't the crisis, either -- they loved my take!
But that got me thinking about a potential crisis: What if there's no Hate for this week's Hate Mail? And then I remembered: My previous column had attacked folks in New Orleans for freaking out about Sean Payton's move to Dallas.
Crisis, shall we say, averted.
Please don't take the few people who overreact as evidence to condemn an entire city. Payton has every right to live where he wants, but just like a man might feel if his wife left him, Payton and his family came here and lived for five years. Now they're leaving. How you expect us to react?
Right away you distance yourself from the "people who overreact" about Payton -- but then you compare yourself to Payton's jilted spouse. Go back and read your first sentence, Tim. That's you.
From: B.J. Cook
How dare you judge the entire city of New Orleans based on a few overzealous fans. Unlike most other places in the USA, New Orleans is a provincial city -- you're born here, you die here. You love it or you don't -- and if you don't, you leave.
Here we go again. Another guy trying to play the "I'm not one of the wackos" card ... and then slapping that wacko card on the table like a straight flush.
From: George Hill
You have no idea what we went through after Katrina. Go f--- yourself with an AIDS (penis). I hope your whole family dies. I will rape your children!
Least you didn't play the "I'm not wacko" card. You probably never had that card in the deck.
Go f--- yourself! Worry about your ugly ass. If it's none of anyone's business what Sean Payton wants to do, it's also none of your business what people want to say or feel about it. It's scum writers like you that cause all the uproar.
Wrong. You idiots called into the radio stations. You idiots commented on stories at the New Orleans newspaper. You idiots congregated on message boards and made it clear that Sean Payton had betrayed your city by choosing to move his family where it wanted to live. You deserve all the credit for the uproar. By all means, take it.
You're correct, Sean Payton can move his family wherever he likes. But as a resident of Louisiana, and a fan of the Saints, there's NO WAY to put a positive spin on the decision he made.
See, there's your problem. There's no need for a positive spin, negative spin, any spin. He's coaching the Saints. He moved his family where he wanted them to live. Those are two separate acts -- and only one of them is your business.
Get your nose out of our business, d---wad. Us fans pay lots of money, and if we want to make comments we can. When we make millions and are public figures then you can write about fans. Till then, GO F--- YOURSELF, B--CH!
My name's not Butch.
From: Bill Webb
I think you're one of those people who have been wanting to use "pity party" ever since Katrina hit. You've seen the images and have had the impression, much like Chris Myers did, that the people of New Orleans are a bunch of lazy whiners who deserved what we got when Katrina hit. You've been waiting for the right moment to stick it to us. So bully for you. You've got your moment.
Wrong. Since Katrina struck I've never felt anything for New Orleans but shock (at the damage done) and awe (at the city's recovery). You don't need to invent fictional things I'm (not) thinking to get mad at me. I wrote 1,000 words in the column. If that's not enough ... maybe I hit a nerve.
You're wrong to call what happened "a natural disaster." Levees were not constructed correctly to save the Feds a few bucks. People who write columns need to know this so they do not look like fools when reporting.
Hurricane = natural disaster. Stop splitting hairs. The levees failed because they weren't built to handle it, yes -- but they were overwhelmed by a natural disaster. Blaming what happened to New Orleans on "the Feds" ignores the reality that nature got out of hand that day in 2005.
At least get your facts straight before you take your shots. You'd think after five years most everybody still upright would understand that what happened to New Orleans was a man-made disaster -- not a natural one.
I don't wish to be cruel, I really don't, but what I sense here is this: By classifying the terror of 2005 as man-made and not natural, it allows people to compartmentalize what happened as something that can be avoided in the future. But there's no guarantee of that. No matter how strong those reinforced levees are made, nature can make them irrelevant again. Let's hope it doesn't happen.
His protestations to the contrary, all you folks better enjoy kicking around Doyel while you can. My belief is that he can't continue with this much longer. I compare him to the character from the movie Blade Runner, who said, "The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very bright."
The nicest prediction of premature death I've ever received.
From: Scott Dillon
Heard you on Matt Jones' radio show in Louisville. How tall are you, if you don't mind my asking?
And the strangest question I've ever received. I'm 5-feet-10. And humble as the day is long.
From: Randy Aiken
"Varsity-level journalism"? That's what you called your "work" in the previous Hate Mail, but you wouldn't know varsity-level journalism if it bit you in the ass!
Maybe not. But the experts in my field respect me.
From: Burton DeWitt
At least once a month I ask myself: How do you have a Wikipedia page yet your former Miami Herald colleague Edwin Pope does not?
A mystery and an injustice. So is this: How come my Wikipedia page hasn't been updated to show my award from last week?
From: Cody Wells
It's good to see that CT Hoosier is still alive, well and reading Hate Mail. Speaking of CT Hoosier, why doesn't he have his own Wikipedia page?
Better question: How soon does Burton DeWitt's head pop off if CT Hoosier gets a Wiki page before Edwin Pope?
From: Chris H.
Holy Jeebus! I want to nominate Jack Lucas from the last Hate Mail as Phallic Symbol of the Year and possibly the biggest tool-shed to EVER post on hate mail.
Jack was an idiot, but just this week someone wished death on me and rape on my kids. Let's keep Jack's "accomplishment" in perspective.
From: Selwyn Duke
Can we say that Cassy Herkelman didn't belong in the Iowa wrestling tournament simply because she is a girl? Yes. It's wrong on many, many levels. As G.K. Chesteron said, "Moral issues are always complex questions, for men who have no principles."
Columnist? You actually signed your e-mail like that? I've always imagined that people who throw around quotations like manhole covers are not the kind of people I want to hang out with. I imagined correctly.
The boy indulged in sexist behavior and poor sportsmanship when he defaulted. The girl earned the right to compete. At that point, it makes no difference if the boy's beliefs prohibited him from competing against a qualified female, black, gay or Hispanic youth. A person in this country is entitled to hold bigoted beliefs, but not to impose them on others. He should not have been on the team if he could not play by the rules.
That's an interesting position. I don't agree with it, but I don't pretend to think I have all the answers on what happened in Iowa. I'll leave that to Selwyn Duke
and Rick Reilly.
From: Robert E. Quinn
You bald-headed friggin f-gg-t. I bet you're a liberal too!
Most days, yes, but you're tempting me to lean the other way. I mean, if a deep thinker like you resides on the right ... that's persuasive.
From: Alicia A.
Compliments to you on your Iowa article. Extremely well written with clear consideration and thought for both sides. I don't see that often.
And almost never from me. But I'm working on it.
From: Michelle Herkelman
I just want to say thank you for your positive thoughts on this unfortunate situation. My daughter just wants to wrestle.
You have no idea how much a supportive note from you -- this is Cassy's mom, folks -- means to me. Thank you. Maybe my favorite e-mail of all time.
From: Tina Weber
Thank you for your article. I was incensed when I read Rick Reilly's article and wanted to respond to him. However, you have summed up the situation so skillfully that my remarks would surely have paled in comparison. Cassy Herkelman is my brother's daughter. I am very proud of her hard work and the sacrifices she continues to make for the sport she absolutely loves! That said, I am the mother of a 16-year-old BOY wrestler. Our family has made the decision that Lucas will be a gentleman and forfeit if he ever faces a girl. Our reasons are well summed up by the Northrup family's statement. Needless to say, this has caused some tension between my brother and me. Fortunately for us, Lucas has yet to face a girl on the mat. When I heard about Joel Northrup's stand for his convictions, I wondered: Would our family have been able to stand behind our convictions at STATE?? I don't know; hopefully I will never have to find out.
And this is a close second to that last e-mail. Thank you.
A lot of your articles have been some of the most ridiculous things I've ever read about sports -- I've often wondered how you ever got your job. Then you write something like this, on wrestling in Iowa, and I'm totally amazed. You're Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Your note isn't a close third. Or 1,003rd.