Jimmy (the Greek) Snyder ended his CBS Sports career Friday by making some barbaric remarks about blacks. Yesterday, one day after CBS fired The Greek, this is what CBS' Brent Musburger had to say about the situation to a national TV audience on "The NFL Today":
"You know, on Friday afternoon here in Washington, our former colleague, Jimmy the Greek, made some regrettable and offensive remarks for which he has apologized. Yesterday, CBS issued a statement disassociating itself from those remarks. It goes without saying that his comments do not reflect in any way the thinking or attitudes of the rest of us here at CBS Sports. While we deplore the incident this weekend, we are saddened that our 12-year association with Jimmy had to end this way.
"And 'The NFL Today' will continue live from RFK Stadium in Washington in just a moment."
In other words, business as usual at CBS Sports.
CBS Sports did the bare minimum on the air yesterday to acknowledge the controversy. And Musburger's 30-second statement, almost cryptic in nature, convinces at least this viewer that CBS Sports should not march on -- business as usual -- without first taking a serious look inward.
No one expected CBS Sports to spend more than a few moments on The Greek yesterday. But looking at Musburger's words closely, I see a network sports department not so much disgusted by The Greek's opinions as it's dismayed that the whole affair became a public mess.
Musburger's statement tried to minimize the impact of it all. You wanted CBS to stand up and shout, "Hey, what The Greek said was deplorable and maybe we've got to look around to see if there is something here at CBS that allows that type of thinking to flourish." Instead, CBS essentially said, "Hey, The Greek said some stuff he shouldn't have said and we're sorry, and even though he thinks that way, we sure wish we didn't have to lose him in this manner."
If you were unaware of The Greek's Friday comments or Saturday firing, Musburger's words yesterday left you in a fog. Musburger never mentioned blacks and referred to The Greek as "our former colleague" -- leaving it unclear if The Greek resigned, retired or was fired.
Instead of strongly denouncing the statements -- in which The Greek said many blacks are superior to whites athletically because of breeding and that the only area in sports left for whites is coaching -- Musburger simply called them "regrettable" and pointed out that CBS was "disassociating itself" from the remarks. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of civilized racial thinking.
And Musburger said "it goes without saying" that no one else at CBS Sports thinks the way The Greek thinks on the subject of blacks.
Why, for a moment, should we believe that? What indication can CBS Sports give us that idiotic racial views aren't prevalent elsewhere in the department?
CBS Sports has looked the other way regarding The Greek for a long time, choosing to benefit from his stature while ignoring his obvious shortcomings.
For years, The Greek -- who met yesterday afternoon with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and promised to send letters of apology to black athletes -- has been a terrible prognosticator with little insight. But he was kept on the show, partly because of his marquee value, partly because "The NFL Today" clobbered the NBC competition in the ratings and Executive Producer Ted Shaker had an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach.
But WRC-TV-4 news anchor Jim Vance said it well Friday night on the air: "We should expect that the people who we depend on to know what they're talking about ought to know what they're talking about."
And in The Greek's case, we had a man handicapping football games whose analytical skills, we now suspect, could have been tainted by his racial views.
The Greek told Channel 4 that blacks are superior to whites athletically, and that white athletes must overcome physical deficiencies to compete with blacks. The implication is that the white athlete must outwork or outthink his black counterpart.
The network's promo says: "When you look for champions . . . you look to CBS Sports." Champions are nice, but clear-thinking folks who are colorblind would be a whole lot better.