Give Chicago Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley a break

The Hawks had a difficult season, no doubt, but Foley meant no harm and still has the passion.

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Pat Foley

Chicago Blackhawks Broadcaster Eddie Olczyk, right, with Pat Foley at the United Center on December 8th, 2017.

James Foster/Sun-Times

During the Chicago Blackhawks final game, NBC Sports announcer Pat Foley said, “Had I been traveling with the team this year, I might have put a bullet in my head.” In typical fashion, Foley’s comment were then blown out of proportion by others.

Foley, who was talking about how the Hawks this season were limited to their hotel rooms and the ice rink because of the pandemic, was merely expressing the frustration that many people are experiencing with these restrictions, whether they are justified or not. I hardly think Foley meant the comment literally. Indeed, it is a figure of speech.

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The Blackhawks had a difficult season, no doubt, but Foley still has the passion. I have to think most — if not all — Hawks’ fans admire him for that. He is, after all, a legend.

Bob Birge, Bridgeport, Connecticut

The courageous vs. the cowards

John F. Kennedy wrote “Profiles in Courage,” his Pulitzer-Prize winning book, almost 75 years ago. In it, he discussed senators who had the courage to do what their conscience said was right even when their actions went against their political party.

They paid a huge political price, but acted out of principle.

Today, I applaud courageous politicians in Washington such as Re. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, Re. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, and other Republicans who are trying to save democracy from dictators like Donald Trump. They, too, are paying a huge political price.

The cowards — House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and their band of co-conspirators — are winning the battle for a system of government that our founders hoped America would never experience. So sad.

Tom Plach, Norwood Park

Politics in education are ugly

I began teaching in Chicago in 1969 and retired in 2004. To say the least, there has always been an adversarial relationship between the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Teachers Union. In any case, the CTU was the focus for much of the blame for the labor turmoil during those years and many times the public was aware of the many circumstances surrounding the issues at hand.

Back in late 1979, the board ran out of money and we as teachers experienced what was termed, “payless paydays.” And yet for a period of time we continued to work under those conditions. When the problem was remedied, Chicago teachers became the only teachers in the state that lost the right to strike over working conditions.

And yes, the working conditions are driven by politics. I worked in one of the larger high schools on the South Side of the city. My colleagues and I constantly found ourselves in a position of having to buy many basic classroom supplies such as textbooks, copy paper and chalk. One of my colleagues had to go so far as to raise money to buy classroom desks to accommodate her students.

Chicago teachers are the only ones in the state that fund their own pension. Other systems have a policy where a teacher agrees to work for a period of years, retire and their salary for the last years is boosted so they can receive a larger pension, paid for by the state. Chicago teachers are the only union that must work 34 years for full retirement while everyone else is only required to work 30. When I retired in 2004, a suburban high school teacher in our area earned an average $5,000 to $10,000 more than a Chicago teacher.

To say the least, Chicago teachers are not playing on the same level field with their colleagues throughout the state. And one is not casting aspersions on them as a result of these differences. But even after all these years, I am still tired of being made the target, the scapegoat and the reason for the ills of the system. I feel that I was able to do a great deal in my career and have made a positive impact on many people’s lives. I just wonder, though, if I had the same advantages as those in other systems and did not suffer a second class citizen status in the teaching profession.

Daniel Pupo, Orland Park

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