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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 13, 1997)
Fame can’t shield careless sportscasters
BARB CHURCHILL is a
graduate student in wood
winds performance and a
Daily Nebraskan colum
Wouldn’t it be nice if the only
important sports stories occurred on
It was interesting, if old fash
ioned, when you could turn on the
TV and watch Michael Jordan or
Brett Favre lead their respective
teams to victory without hearing
about their latest shoe contract or
prescription pain-reliever overdose.
Unfortunately, that was in the
good old days.
Now, many sports stories are
happening off the field, and are hap
pening to, of all people, the sports
casters. Sportscasters are now mak
ing as much news as the athletes
The most recent and celebrated
example of this concerns former
NBC announcer Marv Albert,
whose signature “Yes!” call defined
NBA play-calling. Albert is an
extremely knowledgeable and artic
ulate sports personality, formerly
the premiere announcer for the
“NBA on NBC.” Albert has
announced many sporting events,
including NBA basketball, football,
hockey and baseball games. Albert
was a guest on David Letterman’s
show more than 100 times, showing
sports blooper reels and giving his
expert sports opinion whenever
However, Albert’s morals would
make an alley-cat cringe.
He was on trial for forcible
sodomy and assault in Virginia. The
facts of this story were sordid. On
Feb. 12, 1997, Albert bit a 42-year
old woman between 18 to 20 times
on her back after the woman refused
to recruit another man for a three
some. (Note: Albert was engaged to
someone else at the time.) Then,
Albert forced the woman to perform
oral sex, and she bit him. One of the
bite marks broke the skin. A foren
sics expert testified that DNA from
semen taken from the woman’s lip,
chest, and underwear was Albert’s.
The evidence looked grim indeed.
Albert’s lawyer stated that Albert
had a 10-year sexual relationship
with this woman, and that Albert’s
sexual habits had not changed. In
other words (according to Albert’s
lawyer), this woman knew what
Albert wanted when she went to his
hotel room on Feb. 12. Albert’s
lawyers were trying to make this 10
year relationship out to be a serious,
long-standing sexual relationship
(whkmprobably was news to
However, a surprise witness for
the prosecution testified that Albert
bit her during a similar incident in a
Dallas hotel room three years ago.
This witness proved the prosecu
tion’s point: Albert is into violent,
kinky and possibly bisexual sex with
multiple partners. Perhaps trying to
cut off more damaging testimony,
Albert pled guilty to the assault
charge. No one will ever know
whether the sodomy was consensual
or not, as the charge was dropped
because of the plea bargain.
The only person who has done
something similarly vile in recent
memory is former CBS sports
announcer Jimmy “the Greek”
Snyder. Snyder was banished from
his job as oddsmaker after he made
a racial slur. He was never able to
rehabilitate his image after that.
Albert most likely faces similar
treatment, as he clearly violated
audience taboos just as Snyder did.
Even though the American pub
lic is remarkably forgiving of its
sports stars (Dennis Rodman comes
to mind), it is noticeably less friend
ly with its announcers.
Why Albert lied, telling NBC
that he was innocent of all charges,
will never be known. NBC stuck
with Albert, believing Albert when
he said that the allegations had “no
basis in fact.” Albert defiantly vio
lated the “morals clause” that is
inserted into standard TV-broadcast
ing contracts, and expected to keep
his job based on his popularity.
However, by lying, Albert made
NBC look bad. It’s possible that
their ratings would have gone down,
as fundamentalists of all stripes
refused to watch Albert’s broadcasts
on the basis that Albert is a low-life
degenerate. Albert embarrassed
NBC, and made the word “sports
caster” synonymous with “scum
bag.” Therefore, he was fired.
The oddest thing about this inci
dent, in retrospect, is that Albert had
very few questions put to him by the
mainstream media. Although this
was a big story, Albert was not fea
tured on “Nightline” or on any other
“legitimate”'(i.e., non-“Hard Copy”)
TV news program.
Are the mainstream media pro
tecting their own?
If sports stars such as Jordan or
Steve Young did acts like Albert’s,
they would have been hounded by
the media, mainly because it would
be such a departure from their
clean-cut images. Why should
Albert be shielded from scrutiny
just because he is a TV broadcaster?
Perhaps the best question is this:
Why did Albert allow this case to go
to trial in the first place, since the
allegations were so damaging? Was
Albert truly that desperate to hang "
on to his job for a few more
months? Did Albert really think that
if Dennis Rodman’s antics were
acceptable to the American public,
his would be also? Or was Albert
simply that clueless, betting on a
streak of “cultural libertarianism”
that we Americans just don’t pos
It seems obvious that Albert
badly misjudged the American pub
lic. America is not ready for a
sportscaster who is more randy than
the sports stars whom he covers.
Therefore, Albert has lo.st his job*,
and can use the extra time that he
now has to perform any unusual
sexual act that he requires.
That is, if he can find anyone
who can keep from laughing at him.
The one that got a
Drunken fun spells disaster for e
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TODD MUNSON is a
major and a Daily
The schedule of classes for the
spring semester hits the stands
It’s always kind of a weird thing,
taking a break from studying for
your midterms to plan out next
semester’s classes. By the looks of
this semester, I wish NRoll had an
extra transaction for morons like
myself — the do-over button. One
push oi a button and you could sign
up for the same classes next semes
ter in anticipation of your impend
Scanning the schedule of class
es, you can see many courses that
have come to be known as blow-off
classes. Learn about Foghat in The
History of Rock-n-Roll, learn to
sleep in Relaxation Techniques,
pump it up in Strength Training.
With a course load like this, even
Jeff Spicoli could get a 4.0.
Then there’s Angling.
For those uncivilized folks who
don’t know, that’s the proper name
for fishin’. You can find it under
Outdoor Education or something
Such an innocent sounding
Learn the skills needed to catch
anything from blue gill to walleye,
bait hooks, make your lure dance
the tango and tie knots. Important
And what’s a class without a
comprehensive final exam that puts
everything you learn to the test? The
Angling final was a weekend fish
Sounds so innocent I thought I
could breeze though it with one eye
open and earn a much deserved P.
I was as wrong as the conception
of Newt Gingrich.
So, sit right back and you’ll hear
a tale, a tale of a fateful field trip. A
fishin’ story, if you will.
Although the coming anecdote is
quite self-deprecating, I’m only
doing this as fair warning to those of
you who think taking a class in fish
ing is a way to an easy credit hour.
The itinerary for the trip was to
meet at the campus recreation center
at some ungodly early hour, travel to
the far reaches of Republican City
— home of the scenic Harlan
County Reservoir — and fish our
brains out. Loaded up, we were
forced to wait for Justin. (The
names mentioned have been in no
way changed in honor of the guilty
parties.) After about half an hour, he
showed up about twelve sheets to
the wind, coming straight from a
party, bringing only his pole, a tack
le box and the shirt on his back.
In the van, he took a seat next to
me. When I asked about his lack of
luggage, he said if he didn’t bring it,
it must not have been important.
Five minutes into the journey,
everyone on the bus was out like a
light. It was kind of a weird thing. 1
Stuck in a van, a dozen total
strangers who normally wouldn’t
speak to each other were now using
each other as pillows.
Four hours later, we arrived at
the lake. It was a glorious Nebraska
spring morning. Cloudy skies, huge
white-capped waves, a howling
wind from the north, and a tempera
ture in the upper 30s. Van unloaded,
the class headed down to the shore
to put a hurt on the Harlan fish pop
An hour passed without a single
bite. Justin was passed out on the
sand, his lure not even in the water.
James, my pillow during the ride,
leaned over, teeth chattering, and
said, “Maybe we should ask Mr.
up,” I replied.
The three of us
hit the water in the
smai 1 numan-powerea
craft. A good distance from
shore, I made the observation
that a sticker said the boat’s
weight limit was 300 pounds; our
calculations told us that we had
exceeded that limit by more than
150 pounds. James saw no worry
and kept rowing until we reached a
little, secluded cove.
We fished a little. We drank a lit
tle. We fished a little less. We drank
a lot more. By noon we were suffi
ciently inebriated and decided it was
time to head back.
While we were in the cove, the
wind picked up and the water was
now churning worse that Justin’s
stomach. With each stroke, water
came crashing in and was soon past
A drunken panic set in.
I saw a little plug in the side of
the boat and thinking the water
could run out the plug, I yanked it
Boy was I stupid.
Before I could put it back, the
water was up to our knees and our
boxes floated about. Trying to make
amends, I dumped out my tackle
box, which happened to contain my
history book, and tried to bail water.
It was no use. In about 10 more feet,
the boat took a visit to Davy Jones’
Our stuff was lost for good.
James tried valiantly to recover his
dad’s fishing pole but it was no use.
The frigid water had a sobering
effect on me, and five years of life
guard training kicked in. I rounded
up the lifejackets, forced those
guys to put them on, and we began
the 500-yard swim to the nearest
Making it to shore, we began the
hike back to the campsite. The
instructor took one look at us and
instantly knew what happened. I
it was our blue skin that tipped him
off. After we told our epic story,
minus the Hot Damn 100, he asked,
“Don’t you boys know how to add?
You’re an embarrassment to the
state of Nebraska.”
After the numbness went away,
James and I accompanied Justin to
the local Laundromat to dry his only
clothes. Sitting there in borrowed
underwear, Justin made the observa
tion (and the moral uf the story) that
if you can’t add nor control your
substance abuse, don’t take fishing,
and you might as well move to
In reality, he made the move to a
place where you must not need good
seamanship either. He joined the
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