A CBS official yesterday said the network violated a National Football League policy Sunday when it did not show the first 10 1/2 minutes of the Washington Redskins' game with the Miami Dolphins in the Washington area, and apologized to local viewers.
The network's local affiliate, WUSA, broadcast the end of the Raiders-Chiefs game instead of the beginning of the Redskins' 4:15 p.m. game at FedEx Field because CBS did not make the Redskins feed available until 4:29 p.m. The Raiders-Chiefs game was tied at 38 when WUSA switched to the Redskins game.
"Certainly, we apologize," said LeslieAnne Wade, vice president of communications for CBS Sports. "One of the main things that we learned is that the right thing to always do is to bring the home team [viewers] to the kickoff of their game under all circumstances."
In addition to the Redskins-Dolphins game, CBS also delayed coverage of the Tennessee-Pittsburgh and San Diego-Denver games in those local markets.
League policy requires CBS to televise NFL games in their local markets from start to finish, said Greg Aiello, a spokesman for the NFL.
"In Washington, the obligation was to carry the entire Redskins game," he said. "The rules put the emphasis on the home team's fans."
Dick Reingold, general manager of WUSA-9, said the station "got a lot of calls" from Washington area viewers upset that the Redskins game was not aired from the 4:15 p.m. kickoff.
"We expected to start the Redskins game on time," said Reingold, who contacted network officials when the game was not available. Wade said CBS continued to air the Raiders-Chiefs game, which Oakland won in overtime, 41-38, because it had playoff implications.
"It seemed very unfair to a television audience to send them to a studio [broadcast] to talk about the fact that there was still this game going on" while waiting for the kickoff of the Redskins' game, she said.