Jack Kent Cooke, chairman of the board of the Washington Redskins, yesterday said his team is in "deplorable shape," but nevertheless gave Coach Jack Pardee and General Manager Bobby Beathard a vote of confidence for the second time in 10 days.
Cooke also is chairman and chief executive officer of the Teleprompter Corporation, the largest owner of cable television franchises, which agreed on Wednesday to a merger with the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Westinghouse will pay about $646 million for 17 million shares of Teleprompter.
Cooke said, "I was honored to be asked to remain as chairman (if and when the transaction is approved by the Federal Communications Commission)."
Asked to describe the present state the Redskins, he said, "The Redskins are in deplorable shape, but because I am an incurable optimist I think they can come out of the season doing rather well.
"I have quiet confidence in Pardee and Beathard. We have had a wretched run of injuries. Even though we were at three-quarter strength, or whatever, on Monday night against Denver, I thought we did well."
Cooke attended a National Football League meeting of club owners on Wednesday in New York City for what he said was the first time in "12 to 15 years."
During most of that time, 86 percent stockholder Cooke was residing in California and Edward Bennett Williams was president and chief operating officer of the Redskins.
The NFL has a rule against a majority stockholder or chief operating officer of a club acquiring any interest in another major sports team. Cooke owned the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings and when he sold them he became eligible to take charge of the Redskins.
Williams, meanwhile, purchased the Baltimore Orioles on Nov. 1 and the NFL contended he was in violation of the cross-ownership rule. On Nov. 29, Cooke, already majority stockholder and chief executive officer, replaced Williams as chief operating officer. Williams, who retained the title of president, did not attend Wednesday's league meeting.
Gene Klein, owner of the San Diego Chargers, chaired a committee appointed at the league's spring meeting to investigate the Redskin's executive lineup and made his report to the club owners. The report said that after Cook and Williams were interviewed it was determined that Cooke was totally in control of the Redskins as chairman of the board, or chief executive officer, and as chief operating officer, and that Williams confirmed it.
The committee reported Williams' title of "president" was little more than "nominal." The other clubs were satisfied and agreed that Williams can be a minority (about 14 percent) stockholder in the Redskins while owning the Orioles.
The club owners deferred action on other chief executives who have cross ownership, in soccer, pending the outcome of a suit against the NFL cross-ownership rule by the North American Soccer League.
The NFL owners were told that a trial in a suit brought by the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Oakland Raiders against the league is scheduled for Nov. 18. The suit resulted from the NFL's rule that a team must receive 21 of 28 votes to move a franchise. Al Davis, managing general partner of the Raiders, who was denied a request to move from Oakland to Los Angeles, did not attend the meeting.