National Football League game officials hear strong comments all the time during the heat of battle "and usually they absorb it, turn their backs and don't get involved." Thus spoke the NFL supervisor of officials, Art McNally, yesterday - apologizing for the exceptional case.
It happened in the closing seconds of Philadelphia's 24-14 loss Sunday at Dallas. Eagle quarterback Ron Jaworski completed a pass at the end of which umpire Al Conway nailed tight end Keith Krepfle with a personal foul for punching Cowboy safety Cliff Harris. Krepfle claimed Harris had given him a violent shot, almost tore his head off, after the whistle.
Jaworski told Conway: "That's a bull - call."
Jaworski heard Conway respond. "You guys are a bull - team."
McNally said Jaworski heard wrong, according to the umpire - that what he really did was make a disparaging comment about Jaworski's individual ability. "My official made a mistake in reacting. It was an error he had admitted. Jaworski picked it up and thought it was directed at the whole team, but it was not. Absolutely not.
" . . . No malice intended, but my official made an error he has admitted. Jaworski picked it up and . . . Both people involved were wrong . . . There will be no fines."
Apology accepted, said Philly general manager Jim Murray, allowing that the Eagles know all too well that people can make mistakes . . .
A heavy hitter in the Oakland secondary, safety George Atkinson, has tossed his last chuck of the year.The Rough Raider who began his 10th year with the team in the wake of a lost lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Steelers, ended it with a fractured ankle, it was discovered yesterday. Atkinson thought he only sprained it in Sunday's defeat at Los Angeles, but no such luck - his regular-season consecutive-game streak is over at 138. Dimmer grow the Super Bowl champions' bid to repeat . . .
Today's is sixth annual Redskin-No Greater Love Christmas Party Day at the Dulles Marriott, 4:30-6:30 p.m., a treat for 50 children of servicemen killed or missing in Southeast Asia - and Ron McDale's successor as Santa Claus will be ample. We don't want to spoil if for the kiddies, but this Santa from Purdue has a (once) famous Uncle Earl and will take at least as large a red-and-white suit as McDole. Joining in the fun will be Larry Brown, and NGL director, as host, with Tim Brant of WMAL-AM-630 as M.C.; Lee Elder, Etty Allen, et al. Now if Santa would just bring the Skins back some of those high draft choices that brought him from St. Louis - . . .
Turnabout in the bidding for the Boston Red Sox: (1) A-T-O Inc., the Ohio firm that outbid everybody, monetarily, to buy the club from the Tom Yawkey estate but was turned down in favor of interests close to the Yawkey administration (including widow Jean Yawkey), lost a challenge in probate court. Boston, yesterday: (2) Haywood Sullivan, who with Buddy LeRoux heads the Mrs. Yawkey-favored group of investors, confirmed that they'd pulled out of a controversial loan agreement with a Boston bank in favor of a loan from one in Ohio (there's your irony) - American Finance of Cincinnati - and expressed hope of quick American League approval of their purchase. More than half their $15 million tab would be borrowed funds . . .
Directors of the Jockeys Guild, meeting in Las Vegas, have resolved unanimously against the unionization of jockeys. Mike Venezia, a jockey/director, apologized to the board for his unilateral negotiations toward having New York riders affiliate with the International Union of Dolls, Toys, Playthings, Novelties and Allied Products . . . Yves Saint-Martin, 36, France's premier jockey (2,200 winners, but only fifth aboard Crow in last month's International at Laurel) has been shaken up, and booked, after a head-on auto collision near Paris in which two persons in the other car were killed. Saint-Martin suffered bruises, and his wife, Michele, mild concussion and mild spinal compression. He is quoted as saying he fell asleep at the wheel, veering out of his lane; authorities are investigating for involuntary homicide and drunk driving . . . Terry West, 20, an apprentice jockey who rode Lymond to victory at Charles Town, then repeated a week later at Laurel Nov. 23, hails from Washington, and is black, and female, and a top show rider too, and the barriers keep falling . . .
A 12-member U.S. AAU swimming team will compete in East Germany this weekend, with one slot occupied by Betsy Rapp - just named Potomac Valley swimmer of the year. The Edison High senior is world-ranked in the butterfly. And PVAAU male co-swimmers of the year are - first blacks to win the honor - Rapp's Starlit Aquatic Club teammate Trent Lyght, breaststroker, and Robert Murray, freestyler from Capital East/St. Albans Sea Devils of D.C. . . . And when WDCA-TV-20 beams the Maryland-Minnesota Hall of Fame Bowl game Dec. 22, the Mizlou commentators will be Jim Karvellas, Don Tollefson and ex-Cowboy Don Perkins. Mutual radio of same: Lindsey Nelson and Al Wester.