McCord fallout: You don't say


A couple of mistakes to clear up from Friday. First, John Dockery attended Harvard, not Notre Dame. Second, Spiro, the radio voice of Towson State football spells his last name Morekas.

Sorry for the errors.

Just how free is a sports announcer to report or comment on proceedings, particularly when he or she is dealing with an icon?

That's the question John Dockery of NBC has faced since he was assigned to roam the sidelines during Notre Dame football telecasts. He is obligated to elicit information for viewers, but if Dockery pushes too far, he could endanger goodwill between the network and school officials.

"It [the atmosphere] is tense at times because of the super-charged atmosphere that exists after games," Dockery, a Notre Dame graduate, said yesterday. "With all the new relationships being formed, there's a certain amount of sensitivity. At times, there's a lurking pressure."

Just ask Gary McCord about that pressure. McCord, a CBS golf analyst, was bounced from next year's Masters tournament when Augusta National officials last week leaned on the network to remove him because he said the greens there appeared to have been cut with "bikini wax," and the terrain looked like "body bags."

Dockery himself ran afoul of Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz a few years ago after a Fighting Irish loss when he questioned the coach's strategy a bit too closely for Holtz's comfort.

Cris Collinsworth, who will join Dockery, Tom Hammond and Ahmad Rashad for tomorrow's Notre Dame-Michigan game (Channel 2, 2:30 p.m.), criticized CBS for shelving McCord.

"That's a horrendous situation. Gary McCord was hired to add some life to the telecasts. If CBS didn't have a problem with him, then he should be there," said Collinsworth.

At least McCord has a sense of humor. Though he hasn't been reached for comment, the answering machine message at his Colorado home says it all.

"Diane [his wife] is out getting a bikini wax and I'm up to my --- in body bags," says McCord's voice.

Pigskins on the airwaves

College football hits the radio in a major way this weekend, as Towson State opens its season against Buffalo at 12:45 p.m. on WITH (1230 AM), with Spiro Marokas on the call.

WEAA (88.9 FM) launches another season of Morgan State football, as the Bears play host to Bethune-Cookman at 1:30 p.m., with Lamont Germany doing the play-by-play. Germany also is host of "SportsRap," a one-hour talk show that airs Fridays at 7 p.m. on WEAA.

Of course, WBAL (1090 AM) and Channel 13 will have the Maryland-Florida State game tomorrow from College Park at noon. In view of WBAL's recent vintage weekend baseball rebroadcasts, let's just say the 1971 Orioles have more chance of coming back to beat the Pirates than the Terps have tomorrow, but, hey, anything can happen.

Cars and stars

Live and in prime time, TBS will have coverage of NASCAR's Miller Genuine Draft 400 from the Richmond International Raceway tomorrow at 7:30.

Meanwhile, the three major questions during CBS' 17 hours of U.S. Open coverage this weekend (Channel 11) are: Can anyone stop Steffi Graf, can Andre Agassi be denied, and can anyone get Brooke Shields an acting job so we don't have to see her during every spare moment?

Covering the strike

One month into the baseball strike, few broadcast entities have provided coverage of a level beyond the simplistic, "Why can't the players and owners put aside their differences? After all, it is just a game."

Channel 11, however, has at least kept a step ahead of its competitors by first running a one-hour special on strike issues last month, and now sending weekend sports anchor Mark Viviano to New York to cover the latest round of talks for its noon, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.

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