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LETTERS: Firefighter disability, George Steinbrenner

Fueling debate over firefighter's disability

Regarding the story "Disability payouts questioned" [News, July 21], one has to look at who is doing the questioning and what their motives are.

John McLaughlin put his life on the line for 20 years and was deemed medically disabled by the FDNY medical staff. That didn't stop him from helping rescuers in the aftermath of 9/11.

We all know that his years of exposure to toxic environments have shortened his life expectancy. He's doing what he can to keep his body in as good a condition as he can. I suppose that his critics want him to become a couch potato and fall into such physical disrepair that he would fit their definition of "disabled." This story smacks of politics and jealousy.

Joseph F. Sardone, Farmingville

Editor's note: The writer is a former chief of the Farmingville Fire Department.

John McLaughlin was said to have stated his asthma is generally induced by chemical irritants, not exercise. He was diagnosed with asthma in May 2001 and found unfit for fire duty in June 2001. So, in September 2001, he shows up at Ground Zero?

Barbara Freyre, Sayville

Collectively, the people of New York State owe retired New York City firefighter John McLaughlin, a recipient of a disability pension, a word of thanks. McLaughlin sent us a wake-up call.

An investigation into the New York State pension system by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is certainly in order. The system needs a review and an overhaul.

Mark Jackson, Long Beach

Before Boss, consider 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson

Regardless of George Steinbrenner's contributions to or effect on Major League Baseball, any discussion of his credentials for election to the Hall of Fame needs to start with a reconsideration of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's eligibility for enshrinement ["Does Boss belong in the Hall?" Sports, July 25].

Jackson, a member of the infamous 1919 Black Sox, was tried and acquitted on charges he attempted to throw the World Series.

Steinbrenner did not merely associate with a gambler; he used that association in an attempt to undermine one of his own players, acknowledging that he paid Howard Spira to dig up dirt on Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield. In the wake of that acknowledgment, Steinbrenner, like Jackson before him, was banned.

In truth, for consorting with a gambler, Steinbrenner was less like Jackson than he was like Pete Rose, who was placed on the ineligible list for betting on baseball.

If Steinbrenner, who admitted guilt, could be allowed back into the game's good graces, there is little reason for a man whose claims of innocence were supported in a court of law to remain a pariah.

Howard Simon, Port Washington


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