On Thursday, many of you probably read The Oklahoman article, Juarez violence sparks Sun Bowl fears for OU fans, that we linked to on elpasotimes.com.
In response, I wrote a letter to Oklahoma fans that The Oklahoman ran in their sports section today. You can read it here: An open letter to OU football fans.
My e-mail box has been flooded today, and I wanted to share some of those e-mails with you. (e-mails edited for length.)
B.J. Bergner writes:
I am a current law student and graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and I wanted to thank you for your open letter to OU fans which was published in the The Oklahoman today. ... Having never been to El Paso, I would love to make the trip and see a fine city and what I hope will be a great football game, but as a student, I simply can't afford to make the trip this season.
One of my classmates is an El Paso native who loves his hometown. After reading The Oklahoman's article about many OU fans not making the trip due to safety concerns, he was very offended. He was disappointed so many people would make assumptions without knowing anything about the city. ... I would like to also apologize on behalf of those Sooner fans. ... I hope the fans who do make the trip can tell others of positive experiences while visiting El Paso so that they may quiet the myths and cause people to see El Paso for the city it is.
Tim Griffin of ESPN.com writes:
Really enjoyed your piece in the Oklahoman this morning. Those fans in Oklahoma don't know what they are missing.
I've made countless trips all around the country over the years to various games around the country. And one of my favorites is still El Paso.
And you are right about Kiki's. One of the best Mexican restaurants I've ever been to.
You guys should have a good game this year. Enjoy it.
Jerry Townley writes:
This is a great letter! People would be better off with the facts rather than the "rumors"!
I'm a Sooner fan for over 60 years now and I hope my bretheren will heed your advice and show up, enjoy the culture of El Paso, enjoy the delicious food you describe and hopefully witness a Sooner victory.
Matt Van Every writes:
I wanted to tell you how much I was touched by your article. I could feel your genuine love of El Paso and it makes me want to come to visit.
Although I'm a huge OU fan, I will not be coming for the bowl. Unfortunately I've never been able to see my beloved Sooners in any bowl. Nothing against El Paso, Miami, Phoenix or any other destination. It's just never been in the cards financially.
That being said, I hope to come to El Paso sometime and maybe try some of those fries with chili con cueso. As a former San Diegan myself (North County, Encinitas area) I love border towns and find it regrettable that criminals have given them a bad name.
Sheryl Haskins writes:
Thanks so much for your article. I've been hearing so many horror stories about El Paso. All places can be scary if you have not been there before. I was born in El Paso years ago when my dad was in the service. We left when I was about 2 and haven't been back since. I've always wanted to go back to visit. I was glad when this opportunity came up and was looking forward to it. But lately I was starting to regret that we had signed up for the game because of the stories not because I was disappointed in the team. We always follow the team wherever they go.
Thanks again for your article and I'm now again looking forward to it.
Thanks Sooners fans for all the e-mails. Sorry I couldn't reprint them all. And welcome to El Paso!