I WAS REALLY surprised to read John Smallwood's article on Donovan McNabb. I've enjoyed reading his columns since his arrival at the Daily News. His "Don the Con" article, however, sorely misses the mark. Reading about Donovan's DUI has saddened me. The first thing that struck me was that his recent behavior was so unlike the amazing athlete, family man and good citizen that we have come to know over the last 15 years. Smallwood's take is that McNabb is a phony. Whereas we see Allen Iverson with all his warts, McNabb hid his darker side so that he could get a job in broadcasting after his playing days were over. Yet given the actual lack of evidence of a dark side over the past 15 years, most of Smallwood's article is conjecture - not something I want to read from a reporter who is supposed to investigate a topic in advance before publishing.

If I were reporting on this story, I would first look for some kind of explanation for his behavior. We pretty much know that McNabb was not an alcohol abuser earlier in his life: nothing in the press regarding this; accomplished football player at Syracuse; college graduate; 10 years of outstanding professional athletic achievement at a position that requires physical ability and smarts; family man with no hint of scandal. I guess we can't know everything about a person, especially one who we know mainly through the media, but still. So what does explain his recent DUI behavior?

The first thought that came to mind after hearing about the DUIs was that maybe he has become a victim of traumatic brain injury (chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE). More than 4,500 professional football players have been diagnosed with this incurable disease caused by head trauma. Research shows that CTE damages the brain's frontal lobes, leading to a lack of impulse control and consequent addictive behavior. We know that Donovan took a lot of hits playing for the Eagles. He was a running quarterback, so he probably took more hits than most. He played a complete game on a broken ankle, for goodness' sake. He took several bad shots in the Super Bowl, which may have caused him to vomit in the huddle. Some Philly fans took him to task for that, but in reality he shouldn't have been in the game. In fact, with new rules regarding concussions in place, he probably would have been taken out of the game.

In a funny way I hope Smallwood is right. All Donovan needs to do is get his s--- together and stop being a phony. We should all pray that that's the case. The alternative is pretty grim.

George Kuetemeyer

Collingswood, N.J.

Sub situation a shame

The decision by school district Superintendent William Hite to ask the SRC to revise instead of cancel its contract with Source4Teachers for failure to meet its "guaranteed" quota of substitutes has caused much hardship for students and teachers throughout the district. There is no way to make up all the time and coursework lost in these transactions.

Hite's stubborn clinging to this company while it struggles to improve would be amusing were it not creating such havoc in the schools. Could it have something to do with the fact that Source4Teachers hires subs who will never be able to join the teachers union?

Gloria C. Endres

Philadelphia

Cartoon was an insult

The editorial cartoon that ran Thursday is an insult to every firefighter. Clay Bennett may have thought that he was addressing the refugee crisis. But drawing firefighters accepting only Christians for rescue is a slap in the face to all of the men and women of Local 22 and other firefighters across America.

The current situation in the Middle East will be handled by the American people through their elected officials. I believe the branch of government tasked with our border protection should be the Citizenship and Immigration Services. You didn't draw border guards, though. Firefighters do not ask for any form of identification before affecting a rescue. Christian, Muslim, Jew or any other believer or atheist can count on the 100 percent effort of firefighters and paramedics on every call.

We do not look for distinguishing features in the people who need our services. An apology would be a starting gesture to ease the pain caused by this slap in the face. I am a trustee with Local 22, the Philadelphia Firefighters and Paramedics Union, IAFF.

Raymond Vozzelli

Philadelphia

Another perspective

Unfortunately, it would never occur to most white Americans in this nation that there are other ethnic perspectives about reality and what's important in the world besides this news bombardment we're all receiving about the terrorist attack in Paris. Admittedly, it is extremely difficult to see beyond one's subjective reality, particularly when its foundation is not really about humanity in general but about the higher value assigned to white Western life and civilization, both of which remain grounded in the notion of white supremacy. And this difficulty will manifest itself in the expected vitriolic response to this letter.

Len Trower

Overbrook Farms