Article, editorial very weak

Regarding John Sleeper’s tirade in The Herald Monday (“Husky fans are biggest ‘joke,’ Nov. 22) where he used 133 column lines to vilify Husky alumni: There are at least two basic things that he should have learned as a cub sports reporter. No. 1, a reporter doesn’t vent frustration and embarrassment over a highly errant football pick (Sleeper picked the the University of Washington over Washington State University by 37-34) by writing a hateful and misleading story about the writer’s unfavorite winning team’s alumni. No. 2, you don’t keep kicking a dead horse that you have already shot five times.

His early-on gross statements and his ridiculous following comments are based on your two cited observations. First, at the stadium, he said, “many (Husky fans) were stomping their feet and shouting ‘58, 58, 58.” (That was probably 10 or 15 people). Second, he said that at a downtown restaurant, “in from the hotel bar staggered a group of eight or nine purple-clad Neanderthals.” (His choice of words is very impressive). So his observation of about 25 Husky fans inspires him to write reams about those bad Husky fans.

Sleeper painted all of us with the same brush in practically all of the article, but he did cover his rear end a little bit by saying “most fans (meaning Husky fans) are upstanding, sober, enthusiastic fans who love their team.” If he believes that, then why is he even bothering to write an article triggered by the offensive actions (by his definition) of maybe 25 alumni on what was for them a happy Apple Cup day and cause for celebration?

I have been going to UW football games regularly for better than 55 years and I know that with the exception of Nebraska fans (who are super), the Husky fans are no worse than any other school’s fans, including the Cougars, and are much better than a lot of them. Remember, when rating, one must assess all of the alumni not just one-tenth of 1 percent of them.

Sleeper’s scathing article apparently got the attention of the higher-ups at The Herald because the editorial board saw fit to give him some protection and support in the Tuesday paper (“No room for arrogance or bitterness in Apple Cup win,” editorial). I doubt if more than one of the board has ever been to a Husky game. Sleeper must have coached them well because their comments ran parallel to his. They used such phrases as “rub-it-in-your-face arrogance.” Speaking of arrogance, does Sleeper remember some years ago when the Cougar team (at Pullman, and winning the game) did several Indian war dances between plays, mocking our Indian quarterback, Sunny Sixkiller? Other editorial statements referred to “Husky rooters (being viewed as) obnoxious and arrogant.” and “the chants of rich boosters to run up the score.” (Who told the board they were rich?) Pretty bad stuff, I would say. I wouldn’t think that a supposedly upper-level, sophisticated, objective and veteran editorial board would write such a critical, inept and misleading article to support Sleeper.

The last line in Sleeper’s article implies that Husky fans will be jackasses at the Rose Bowl (untrue, as I have been to many Rose Bowl games). I’ve got news for Sleeper: The only jackass that I know of is the author of his article.

UW Class of 1948

Lake Stevens

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