Chris Rea admits that playing the media game is virtually as important for the British Lions captain, Martin Johnson, as his skill, leadership and strategic ability ("Versatility but too little flexibility", Sport, 6 April). In so doing, like many journalists, he speaks of the press as if it was some sort of mindless force of nature, unstoppable and amoral.

It is not. During the Lions tour, as on every other occasion, journalists and editors will have choices about what they print. They can react hysterically to every "gaffe" as if these young men were politicians. They can unrealistically denigrate every success and exaggerate every failure. In other words, they can carry on as usual.

On the other hand, they can step back and realise that the Lions, or any sports team, do not represent the distillation of the country's amour propre. Best of all, they could try to understand that sportsmen and women do not compete in order to provide journalists with copy but in order to win.

Until this happens, teams representing Britain will face three opponents: the ones they are competing against, the press of their opponents who are always supportive of their own people, and the British press who are always exactly the opposite.

Josie Edwards

London N10

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