Letters to the Editor

‘Connect the dots’ between CTE skepticism and Jay Smith’s UNC athletics course

Regarding “UNC athletic director, concussion researcher defend Fedora after backlash over CTE comments” (July 19): People who reacted with disbelief to UNC football coach Larry Fedora’s denial of a link between football and brain injury said he should talk to Kevin Guskiewicz, dean of Arts & Sciences and co-director of the Sports-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Center.

Certainly he should have talked to the pre-NFL Guskiewicz, whose studies found football dangerous. At that time, Guskiewicz said the NFL hired other doctors and scientists to “put out the fire,” alluding to the public relations value of industry-funded research.

But Guskiewicz later took NFL funding, including $2.6 million in 2017. That year, he was quoted in the Daily Tar Heel as saying, “We do not have a concussion crisis,” and “There’s no cause and effect relationship that’s been identified yet” between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Quite a turnaround, even while evidence of a link was mounting.

In 2017, Guskiewicz was embroiled in another controversy. The Faculty Grievance Committee found that he had placed pressure on the chair of the UNC History Department, in a manner “inconsistent with ... academic freedom,” to keep Professor Jay Smith’s course about big-time college athletics off the regular academic schedule.

Two controversies, but it’s not hard to connect the dots.

Sherryl Kleinman

Chapel Hill

‘Cowardice’

The letter to the editor “‘Preventative’ measures” (Aug. 9) suggested that a photo requirement to vote was simply a good “preventative measure,” in that it would do more to ensure that the person voting was truly who they claim to be.

I cannot disagree with the benefit of preventative measures but I find the general argument of “ensuring the sanctity of the voting process” to be a bit one-sided.

We live in a country (and state) where nearly half the population cannot be bothered (or is simply too exhausted by the lack of reasonable options) to vote.

Consequently, we wind up with politicians who win their seats with 51 percent of the 20 - 45 percent of the popultion’s vote that showed up and then, hilariously, claim some sort of “mandate” for their platform.

I would argue that we should be far more worried about the people that want to vote and aren’t able to, than those that vote when they shouldn’t. One should do anything and everything to encourage citizens to vote, and then make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

Like gerrymandering and reduced voting days, increasing the requirements to vote is indeed, preventative. Alas, it is also an act of political cowardice.

John Marlow

Raleigh

‘Evidence’

Regarding the letters to the editor “‘Preventative’ measures” and ‘Deep breath’” (Aug. 9): One writer refers to voter ID as a necessary “preventative measure” similar to vaccinations, even though no data for voter fraud exists. However, he intentionally confuses that there is considerable evidence that vaccinations prevent shingles, and that’s why we promote vaccinations – there is evidence. So show us the evidence of voter fraud before you intentionally take away people’s voting rights.

Secondly, a writer urges people to “take a deep breath” rather than “...blame all of our country’s problems...on Trump.”

Trump has created global problems that he should be legitimately held responsible for – e.g. making the U.S. the only country in the world to deny climate change, denying Russia’s interference in our and other democracies’ elections, attacking our legal system, attacking NATO and the EU, establishing ill-conceived tariffs, separating of parents and children at the border, assaulting our environment and public education, exploding deficits to the benefit of the 1 percent - the list goes on and on.

We must hold Trump responsible for his lies and his malfeasance.

Larry Reed

Durham

A train ride

I had a birthday on July 27. I am also a veteran, and I had a stroke.

My daughter took me on a train ride on Saturday. It had been over 30 years since I was on a train. I loved it. I turned into a child again.

We only went to Greensboro, but it was so exciting. Next time I won’t wait so long.

Phyllis Branch

Raleigh

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