UCLA Is Sentenced in Court of Public Opinion
Wednesday’s court sentences were a slap on the wrist to the UCLA football players who used fraudulently obtained handicapped parking permits, but the UCLA administration’s response was a slap in the face to all of UCLA’s handicapped students and staff.
The administration should have barred the guilty players from participating in all football activities until the 200 hours of community service are served in full.
In 33 years as a professor of mathematics at UCLA, I have met many student participants in “minor” sports who were serious students taking hard courses, who earned degrees in good time, and who had the fine characters that competition sports are rumored to build.
The two “major” sports at UCLA are and have been sadly lacking in all of these categories. The coaches who preside over these major embarrassments to the academic core of the university are paid salaries appropriate to a pioneering and life-saving heart surgeon, yet they seem to produce one disease after another.
NATHANIEL GROSSMAN, Los Angeles
If Bob Toledo did not know that 17 of his players were illegally using parking placards, UCLA is indeed handicapped.
STEVE PFAHLER, Calabasas
Having been wounded five times fighting for America and entitled to display my placard, I feel Azziz should change his name to Hasbeen and spend 200 hours on bedpan duty at the nearest veterans’ hospital, along with his teammates.
HAL BRAUN, Hollywood
To quote J.A. Adande, “Can we start to move on now?” Yes, indeed, the L.A. city attorney should “move on now” to indict ringleader Hicks, defamed McNown and Atkins. Why indict some former UCLA Bruins and let others off the hook?
CANDACE CHAN YEE, Cerritos
* We had the deputy city attorney who was negotiating the plea bargain unaware of the minimum fine required.
* We had the chancellor saying he had no knowledge of any ringleader, even though that information was contained in a police report.
* We had the dean of students characterizing this mess as nothing more than a “parking violation.”
* And then we had Rafer Johnson somehow feeling it was appropriate to associate himself with this sorry group of athletes.
What a sad day for UCLA.
BILL SHANNON, Oceanside
Way to go, UCLA! How fortunate for you to have friends in high places such as Rafer Johnson, who can help turn a disgraceful offense into a publicity opportunity.
The Special Olympics is an outstanding organization providing an invaluable source of hope and encouragement for disabled young people. I can only hope that Mr. Johnson will make sure that at no time during their hours of service to the Special Olympics, UCLA’s disgraced athletes are anywhere near the limelight this organization richly deserves, nor made out in any way to be any sort of charitable heroes.
I hope they can remember that they are there because these are some of the very people they insulted with their greedy little stunt.
KATHERINE MOFFAT, Sherman Oaks
Of course, shame on the football players who fraudulently used disabled-parking placards. But that’s just a reflection of our society’s condescending attitude toward the disabled.
My wife has a chronic-pain disease and requires a wheelchair. On any day in Los Angeles, we have a terrible time trying to find disabled parking, as SUVs and 4-wheel trucks with their placards have gobbled them up. If someone can climb into one of these behemoths, I hardly believe they are physically challenged. Not only should we change the law, but we should also take a good, long look in the mirror.
JOHN GARRETT, North Hollywood