RE LETTER-writer Nick Cataldi's reaction to the Hopkins-McNabb controversy:

As an African-American, I have to say that if his comment concerned an Italian-American speaking about another Italian-American, then so be it. But an Italian-American attempting to speak for African-Americans on a comment an African-American made about another African-American? Is he kidding?

His opinion doesn't matter to African-Americans! Just as Hopkins isn't the spokesman for African-Americans, neither is Mr. Cataldi.

If the premise for his opinion was that he was uncomfortable with Hopkins' comment about another human being, another athlete, OK. But his comment was an attempt to justify the post-traumatic-slave-syndrome thought process, and the behavior and mentality of an African-American athlete - and criticize another African-American for calling it out.

The question of why African-Americans are the authority on determining "who is one of us?" isn't valid, but I'll answer it anyway: Because I'm one of us, and you aren't.

So it's OK for us to challenge and question each other on our heritage, our culture and who we are, and what we're becoming.

But when you do it from an Italian-American perspective or any perspective other than the black experience, it's off-base, wrong, and simply just an opinion about something you have no basis for expressing.

Bruce Tabbs