FROM the April 17 issue of Sports Illustrated:
"CBS commentator Billy Packer has never concealed his contempt for women's basketball. During a broadcast he once speculated on the kind of wife Mississippi's Jennifer Gillom would make, and he has advanced the proposition that women's teams be done away with entirely -- that real gender equity will result only if there's a single team for which both men and women try out. Thus it was hardly surprising to hear him express incredulity last week that CBS's broadcast of the NCAA women's title game between Connecticut and Tennessee pulled down a 5.7 Nielson rating, outdrawing both the 4.0 for the Phoenix Sun-San Antonio Spur game on NBC against which the women went up, and the 3.7 for the men's showdown between SEC powers Arkansas and Kentucky on Jan. 29.
"Packer insists he was questioning the validity of the Nielsens, not denigrating women's basketball. But it's odd that Packer -- a relentless booster of college hoops when he stands to benefit -- never suggests that the ratings overstate interest in the men's game. All of this brings to mind a line one wag once used to describe Packer: 'He's a master of X's and O's. It's the other 24 letters of the alphabet he has trouble with.' "
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FROM "I Never Played the Game," by sportscaster Howard Cosell, who died last week:
"If I may, I'd like to single out Sports Illustrated's Frank Deford . . . He was the author of a cover story about me, and I shall always cherish the last paragraph in particular.
" . . . 'First and foremost, Howard Cosell is sports. There are all these people, these fans, who claim that when Cosell does a game on television, they turn off the sound on TV and listen to the radio broadcast. Oh, sure. You probably know critics in your neighborhood who vow the same thing. Well, too bad for them. Don't they understand? Cosell isn't television. He's not audio. Howard Cosell is sports in our time. Feel sorry for the people who turn off the sound. The poor bastards missed the game.' "