thumbnail of John Callaway Interviews; Howard Cosell
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<v Howard Cosell>Well, that's one thing. Of course you are. <v Howard Cosell>John, the problem in rights acquisition is this. <v Howard Cosell>If you don't buy the rights, the other guy will, right? <v Howard Cosell>That problem doesn't exist in the other media. <v Howard Cosell>They all send their writers, they don't have to pay a damn dime. <v Howard Cosell>Somewhere at the very beginning, television made its mistake <v Howard Cosell>by paying moneys for rights, they should have had the same rights as the print <v Howard Cosell>media. Let us all go in there. <v Howard Cosell>Let us all carry the same event. <v Howard Cosell>Let whoever does the best job get the credit for it. <v Howard Cosell>But no. Somebody made the initial mistake. <v Howard Cosell>Now you pay millions of dollars for these rights <v Howard Cosell>and they have you. They twist you in the wind. <v John Callaway>Where do you draw the line between performance and journalism, between Howard Cosell, <v John Callaway>the man who appears in Woody Allen movies and television shows, who was an <v John Callaway>actor and a successful actor, and the man who regards <v John Callaway>himself as a, as in the Ed Murrow tradition when it comes to sports journalism. <v Howard Cosell>I had a decision to make when I got a call from nowhere <v Howard Cosell>from Woody Allen about appearing in the movie Bananas. <v John Callaway>A guy you didn't like at the time, right? <v Howard Cosell>Originally, I didn't like him. <v Howard Cosell>He had kept me out of a poker game. <v John Callaway>In London, wasn't it? <v Howard Cosell>Yes, nightclub called Pair of Shoes.
<v Howard Cosell>Lee Marvin, Telly Savalas, Johnny Cassavetes, Charlie Bronson. <v Howard Cosell>They're all there. And they invited me to play in the poker game because <v Howard Cosell>they were shooting the Dirty Dozen. Jimmy Brown. <v Howard Cosell>It's when Jimmy retired and when I got there and went into the back <v Howard Cosell>room, left Emmy, who had come with me with Jimmy Brown <v Howard Cosell>playing blackjack. <v Howard Cosell>Lee Marvin says Howard's here, give him a seat and a little voice at the other end of the <v Howard Cosell>table said no one else in the game. <v Howard Cosell>I said, what do you mean? <v Howard Cosell>No one else in the game? The little voice said, no more. <v Howard Cosell>I'm out too much. <v Howard Cosell>That was Woody Allen. <v Howard Cosell>And that was the first time I ever met Woody Allen. <v Howard Cosell>So now he came into Earthquake Lagoons and I told Bill Sheehan, I despise <v Howard Cosell>that little guy. I don't like his humor. <v Howard Cosell>He was in San Francisco shooting Take The Money and Run. <v Howard Cosell>He got done playing the clarinet and he can play. <v Howard Cosell>I mean, he plays at Michael's Pub here in New York every Monday night with his pickup <v Howard Cosell>group, and he can play. <v Howard Cosell>And then I started walking out and he called, he said, Howard aren't you talking to me? <v Howard Cosell>I said, You kept me out of that poker game. He said, you don't understand. <v Howard Cosell>And so we started to talk and I realized that I liked the guy very <v Howard Cosell>much and that he had gone to Midwood High School in Brooklyn and we had a lot in common. <v Howard Cosell>And it was out of nowhere, couple of months later that he called me and asked me if I <v Howard Cosell>would appear in Bananas. <v Howard Cosell>I thought about that. And I thought about journalism. <v Howard Cosell>And I thought about the hypocrisy involved in sports journalism. <v Howard Cosell>And I thought about Edward R. Murrow. <v Howard Cosell>And then I thought about sports and the sanctity given to it. <v Howard Cosell>And I find more personal integrity in doing a movie with Allen <v Howard Cosell>than in doing a big time college game with the bought <v Howard Cosell>and paid for players who don't even in most cases belong in college <v Howard Cosell>and who don't ever get degrees. <v John Callaway>In all of his acting roles, Howard Cosell has played himself. <v John Callaway>It would be hard, in fact, to imagine such a distinct personality trying to masquerade as <v John Callaway>someone else. Who but Cosell could do the play by play, as he did in Bananas <v John Callaway>of the assassination of a dictator. <v John Callaway>It was great parody, but it also underscored a point that Howard Cosell at the age <v John Callaway>of 61 has come to hold as a passionate belief, that Americans
<v John Callaway>are afflicted with what he calls the sport's syndrome. <v Announcer>John Callaway interviews Howard Cosell. <v John Callaway>Howard, is it? Is it just me or are we all bored by the Super <v John Callaway>Bowl? What's going on? <v Howard Cosell>The Super Bowl? I think it's another excess in the sports world. <v Howard Cosell>I think it's become a prolonged hype. <v Howard Cosell>And I think that many, many people are turning away from it. <v Howard Cosell>The game proves to be an anticlimax. <v Howard Cosell>It's a corporate enterprise. <v Howard Cosell>Most of the seats and most of the suites are held by the great cooperations. <v Howard Cosell>They're down there as 1 big bash, 1 big party. <v Howard Cosell>I think that commissioner Rozelle's party, which now costs <v Howard Cosell>anywhere from 80 to 100,000 dollars for the print medium, <v Howard Cosell>is frankly a disgrace. <v Howard Cosell>I- 1 year when the game was in Miami, I was actually frightened. <v Howard Cosell>The party was in a hangar at the Miami International <v Howard Cosell>Airport and people were streaming off busses. <v Howard Cosell>And I was actually worried that a plane would come along and hit some of <v Howard Cosell>them. Now, I'm sure there were security precautions to offset that, but <v Howard Cosell>yet I had the ungodly fear. <v Howard Cosell>And also the feeling that this was not a place to hold a party, <v Howard Cosell>not in an airport hangar with people trudging along runways. <v Howard Cosell>What if there had been a mistake? What if somebody had gone wrong in the control tower? <v Howard Cosell>No, I find that symbolic of the whole outrageous nature <v Howard Cosell>of what's happened. <v John Callaway>Howard, I'm confused about something. You, you have repeatedly warned us <v John Callaway>that we as a nation make too much of sport. <v John Callaway>And yet you have also written that it is a major part of our lives. <v John Callaway>Where is it really in our lives? Where do you focus it today and where should it be? <v Howard Cosell>I think the treatment of a sporting contest has sanctimony, a <v Howard Cosell>kind of holy ritual to be endowed with a place separate <v Howard Cosell>and apart from real life. <v Howard Cosell>I think the doctrine of winning isn't everything. <v Howard Cosell>It's the only thing. <v Howard Cosell>Make it necessary to, as I said, reexamine what I call <v Howard Cosell>the sports syndrome in this country and get a fix on it. <v Howard Cosell>And in America, we are taught almost from birth the sports <v Howard Cosell>syndrome. I might have added one other postulate to that which I had previou- <v Howard Cosell>to those which I had previously stated, and that is that all athletes <v Howard Cosell>are heroes to the point where they become surrogate parents in many American <v Howard Cosell>homes, when, as a matter of fact, an athlete may be
<v Howard Cosell>an addict. He may be an alcoholic. <v Howard Cosell>He may be a whoremonger. He could be one of any number of things and is hardly <v Howard Cosell>equipped for heroism because he can hit a baseball or catch a football. <v Howard Cosell>And then as wrong after wrong and corruption after corruption <v Howard Cosell>is exposed in the sports world, where have <v Howard Cosell>the media people been through all of the years and why are they so <v Howard Cosell>desperately afraid of and resistant to truth in sport? <v John Callaway>Well, that may have been true, Howard, many, many years ago. <v John Callaway>But it seems to me there's a whole new breed of sports writer that you may have inspired <v John Callaway>who, who talks about these things and yet they continue. <v Howard Cosell>I don't agree with you. The very hypocrisy and contradiction of our sports <v Howard Cosell>pages in this country is almost self evident. <v Howard Cosell>One need only go from city to city. <v Howard Cosell>And the sports pages appear now as a series of tout <v Howard Cosell>sheets listing the point spreads and inviting the very gambling <v Howard Cosell>that leads to the college scandals we've talked about. <v John Callaway>Are there any signs whatsoever of an attack on these problems? <v Howard Cosell>I think there are encouraging stirrings in the educational <v Howard Cosell>community. A. Bartlett Giamatti, the president of Yale, authored <v Howard Cosell>a speech to the rest of the members of the Ivy League in which he expressed <v Howard Cosell>his grave concern, even at the great universities in <v Howard Cosell>the Ivy League, perhaps the academic leaders of our nation, <v Howard Cosell>great concern over the apparent growing laxity of admissions <v Howard Cosell>standards on behalf of athletes. <v Howard Cosell>Imagine the great University of Virginia, 1 of the finest law schools <v Howard Cosell>in the nation, 1 of the finest scholastic universities in the nation. <v Howard Cosell>The university of Thomas Jefferson may now have a 7 foot 2 or 3 <v Howard Cosell>inch center who I doubt is qualified to meet the admissions standards <v Howard Cosell>of that university, but they're up there in the top 3 college <v Howard Cosell>basketball. I claim the university is the base defiled <v Howard Cosell>by that very achievement on the basketball court. <v John Callaway>Now, before you totally shatter my demystify statement, <v John Callaway>are you denying that there is a small, articulate group <v John Callaway>of writers in this country that do join you in demystifying sport? <v Howard Cosell>I think the greatest writer of sports in my lifetime quite clearly <v Howard Cosell>has been Robert Lipsyte, who became so disgusted with the <v Howard Cosell>sport syndrome that after writing 544 Sports of the Times <v Howard Cosell>columns, he quit. <v Howard Cosell>He freelances now today.
<v Howard Cosell>Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated, which is not a publication <v Howard Cosell>that I respect, but Frank Deford is a superb <v Howard Cosell>writer of sports. <v Howard Cosell>Thorough, complete, objective journalistic reportorial. <v Howard Cosell>Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times is a brilliant, brilliant <v Howard Cosell>satirist who tries to get the public to understand <v Howard Cosell>what I called earlier, a proper fix on sports. <v John Callaway>Red Smith? <v Howard Cosell>No, I do not count Red Smith up there at all. <v Howard Cosell>I owe a great deal in my life to Walter Red Smith. <v Howard Cosell>We were neighbors. He helped me a great deal in the start of my career. <v Howard Cosell>But I think that Red Smith for the past decade and more <v Howard Cosell>has forfeited himself. <v Howard Cosell>And the very vivid evidence to me will always be his tragic <v Howard Cosell>departure from the '79 World Series to go to the Republic <v Howard Cosell>of South Africa and implicitly, if not <v Howard Cosell>explicitly, by his statements on the ad during the fight telecast, <v Howard Cosell>lend himself to the promotion of apartheid <v Howard Cosell>in the Tate-Coetzee affair. <v John Callaway>I want to go back, if I can, to, to why it was <v John Callaway>that there was such a gulf between the time you made it big in broadcasting <v John Callaway>and the time that you spent away from it. <v John Callaway>Why, since you were sports editor when you were a young man and you <v John Callaway>used to crawl on your belly at Ebbets Field, why didn't you get into this at the <v John Callaway>beginning? Why so late? <v Howard Cosell>Well, circumstance took care of that. <v Howard Cosell>John had a very tender age. <v Howard Cosell>I had barely been old enough to be admitted to the bar <v Howard Cosell>when I passed the bar exam and was admitted and I got a job <v Howard Cosell>10 dollars a week. <v Howard Cosell>I got some of the best training anybody could ever get legally. <v Howard Cosell>But no sooner was I at work and admitted, Pearl Harbor came and <v Howard Cosell>I enlisted at 39 Whitehall's Street then because of my legal <v Howard Cosell>background, and I enlisted with my parents violently objecting, you know, <v Howard Cosell>Jewish parents who had a son who was a lawyer. <v Howard Cosell>And this was terrible. And wait until they call you and so on. <v Howard Cosell>I got sent to Brooklyn, where I lived. <v Howard Cosell>To the New York Port of Embarkation, which proved to be the largest collective military <v Howard Cosell>command in the history of the world, that during World War 2. <v Howard Cosell>And at the age of 24, I was the youngest major stateside in the United States <v Howard Cosell>Army. So I got an experience that I treasure. <v Howard Cosell>I know I could never have gotten such an experience at such an age in
<v Howard Cosell>the wildest dreams of my life. <v Howard Cosell>During the course of that time, I got married to a lady who was not Jewish <v Howard Cosell>and we had a mixed marriage and all the travail that goes with that. <v Howard Cosell>So I came out of the army, I felt a man. <v Howard Cosell>I never even thought about sports or broadcast. <v Howard Cosell>I thought I had far gone past that. <v Howard Cosell>I was no longer a sports fan. <v Howard Cosell>I still had an interest in the then Brooklyn Dodgers. <v Howard Cosell>But that became sociological because of the advent of Jackie <v Howard Cosell>Roosevelt Robinson, who meant a very great deal to me and what I believed in in life. <v Howard Cosell>Okay, that explains why the long lapse of time before <v Howard Cosell>I went. How did I get into broadcast? <v Howard Cosell>I was the attorney for Little League Baseball, but that was only part of it. <v Howard Cosell>I was the attorney for the Television Writers of America. <v Howard Cosell>I had many clients in broadcast and I suddenly got a call <v Howard Cosell>to do, to allow the use of Little League and a kid's radio show that was supposed <v Howard Cosell>to last 6 weeks. I agreed to do it as a hobby and it stayed on the air more <v Howard Cosell>than 5 years. And then ABC Radio made me an offer and I realized <v Howard Cosell>that I found a fulfillment in broadcast, which is the industry I love to this <v Howard Cosell>day. <v John Callaway>Even though you call it a jungle? <v Howard Cosell>Not sports. Sure. I love that jungle. <v Howard Cosell>It's in my blood. I can't change that. <v Howard Cosell>It happens to many of us, even though it's a business which all too-. <v Howard Cosell>May I light a cigarette? <v John Callaway>Please. Which, which, which all too often puts a premium <v John Callaway>just like sport does on winning as opposed to, say, <v John Callaway>quality. <v Howard Cosell>That's true. <v John Callaway>And yet you love it. <v Howard Cosell>Mhm. Because I can't change that. <v John Callaway>In his first two decades of broadcasting, Cosell had covered football, baseball, <v John Callaway>basketball, boxing, you name it. <v John Callaway>But none of it was preparation for what he faced in Munich, West Germany, on September <v John Callaway>5th, 1972. On that day, Palestinian terrorists murdered 2 <v John Callaway>Israeli Olympic athletes, kidnaped 9 others who were to die later. <v John Callaway>For more than 14 hours Cosell covered that day's major news, not sports story, <v John Callaway>and it was to have a wrenching personal impact on him. <v John Callaway>Is there any future for the Olympics? <v Howard Cosell>That depends. It's not presently, specifically <v Howard Cosell>foreseeable. I don't know what the Soviets are going to do. <v Howard Cosell>If they're going to respond in any way to what we did in Haiti. <v Howard Cosell>I don't know what the future holds for '84.
<v John Callaway>Is there anything that can be done to depoliticize it? <v John Callaway>Would it, would it help to have it in 1 site in Athens or something like that? <v Howard Cosell>Would it help? Yes, it would help. <v Howard Cosell>It would be a step. <v Howard Cosell>But unfortunately, again, you've got to get a fix on sports, my <v Howard Cosell>friend. The very men who scream that sports and politics <v Howard Cosell>don't mix are separate and apart, the very men who ?inaudible? <v Howard Cosell>our athletes deserve their rights, these are the people who have seen <v Howard Cosell>to it that they never fought for athletes' rights at the Olympic Games. <v Howard Cosell>Now I know I was there and I reported it. <v Howard Cosell>What happened in München West Germany? <v Howard Cosell>They came in and confiscated in the darkness of night in the American building Bob <v Howard Cosell>Seagren's poles. Rick DeMont was given wrongfully by an American <v Howard Cosell>doctor, a darn drug for his asthma that had nothing to do with his winning the gold medal <v Howard Cosell>and the 16 year old kid had to give it back. <v Howard Cosell>What about that track coach who got the 2 greatest American sprinters <v Howard Cosell>to the, the starting barrier to late. <v Howard Cosell>1 after- Where were they fi- What happened when the Russians were given not 1 but 3 <v Howard Cosell>chances to win a game they had already lost in basketball? <v John Callaway>The list goes on and on. <v Howard Cosell>Who was there to fight for American rights? <v Howard Cosell>And then we, the president, rightly called for a boycott and it worked. <v Howard Cosell>And he was right to add some politics with. <v Howard Cosell>But instead, what did we have screaming about athletes' rights? <v Howard Cosell>And suddenly I'm tired of falsity about the Olympics. <v Howard Cosell>Get that neutral site. Give it another try. <v Howard Cosell>I lay on my belly on the slope of a little hill 30 feet <v Howard Cosell>from building 31. I watched the West German police nap, slap <v Howard Cosell>their guns over their shoulders, snapped their belts and go up on the roof. <v Howard Cosell>And I saw those Arab faces come out of the windows and I saw all <v Howard Cosell>of them die before it was all over. <v Howard Cosell>So I say either you find a way to depoliticize it, beginning <v Howard Cosell>with a neutral site or else mark it down <v Howard Cosell>as a noble idea that didn't work. <v Howard Cosell>Put it away like the sports syndrome. <v John Callaway>You, you wrote in your book Like It Is, despite all the <v John Callaway>vanity I'm supposed to have and I do have my share of it. <v John Callaway>I have an inner insecurity about my status. <v John Callaway>What is this inner insecurity, that you, forceful, famous, <v John Callaway>now rich, powerful man possesses? <v Howard Cosell>Well, you overstate magnificently.
<v Howard Cosell>My inner insecurity stems from having grown up a Jewish boy <v Howard Cosell>in Brooklyn during the age of Hitler. <v Howard Cosell>From social insecurities that evolved out of that and also <v Howard Cosell>from being part of a poor family and always fearing <v Howard Cosell>that I would never have enough money. <v Howard Cosell>Those are the insecurities to which I refer. <v John Callaway>But could you be more specific about your childhood? <v John Callaway>What were the manifestations of being a kid who was Jewish in that part <v John Callaway>of Brooklyn. <v Howard Cosell>And poor? I couldn't I couldn't join union <v Howard Cosell>temple. My father, good enough for ?inaudible? <v Howard Cosell>I didn't live in the better apartment buildings. <v Howard Cosell>My father couldn't afford it. <v Howard Cosell>I couldn't be in a club. <v Howard Cosell>My father couldn't afford it. My father had to work like a dog and borrow every <v Howard Cosell>3 months from the bank to put me through college and through law school. <v Howard Cosell>And when it came time to go to college <v Howard Cosell>and join the fraternities, the good fraternities in that period <v Howard Cosell>of time at my campus were gentile fraternities <v Howard Cosell>and there was one I would have liked to have been a part of. <v Howard Cosell>But I couldn't be. <v Howard Cosell>And things like those. <v John Callaway>Are those insecurities that stayed with you all your life or or have you parted <v John Callaway>company with most of those? <v Howard Cosell>Well. No, I think I don't think I've ever parted company with <v Howard Cosell>the notion that there's not enough money. <v Howard Cosell>I never really because I don't know what life holds, <v Howard Cosell>and I don't think especially with the inflation, <v Howard Cosell>you ever can have enough money. I still feel that way about it. <v Howard Cosell>And thus my relationship to money. <v Howard Cosell>With regard to the others, heck, we had a stormy <v Howard Cosell>romance, Emmy and I. <v Howard Cosell>My father in law, a titan of American industry, didn't <v Howard Cosell>want his daughter to marry a Jew. <v Howard Cosell>Good Lord, he was the club champion at Baltusrol where Jews weren't allowed, <v Howard Cosell>and it wasn't comfortable for him to have me there. <v Howard Cosell>And I didn't go there. <v John Callaway>You sound like a man who, who maybe reads Job and knows <v John Callaway>the bottom can fall out any hour. <v Howard Cosell>I'm not afraid of losing my job. <v Howard Cosell>Not anymore. That was 1 great fear I always had. <v Howard Cosell>But now if I left the industry tomorrow- No, that's an insecurity I haven't <v Howard Cosell>had for years. <v Howard Cosell>That much I can say. <v Howard Cosell>But an insecurity about never having <v Howard Cosell>enough I think is still with me. <v John Callaway>Is that what-.
<v Howard Cosell>And I think they'll always be an insecurity in me <v Howard Cosell>that stems from being Jewish. And I think most people of the Jewish faith feel that <v Howard Cosell>and always will. I think it's inherent in them. <v Howard Cosell>I think many people of my faith, although I have not <v Howard Cosell>ever practiced it as such. <v Howard Cosell>I think, but I'm Jewish. Baby you lie on that slope of a hill in there <v Howard Cosell>next to building 31, 7 miles from Dachau, and, <v Howard Cosell>you know, if you never went to a synagogue in your life, <v Howard Cosell>baby you're Jewish. <v Howard Cosell>And I am. And I'm proud of it. <v Howard Cosell>But as insecurity result, yes. <v Howard Cosell>I think most of us are insecure now about the future of Israel. <v Howard Cosell>And we identify with Israel. <v Howard Cosell>And it's natural that we should, in the light of genocide, in the light <v Howard Cosell>of the Holocaust, in the light of what society has done over <v Howard Cosell>2000 years. <v Howard Cosell>Good Lord. <v John Callaway>Howard, if you know you're a Jew, and <v John Callaway>you've spoken so eloquently about what it means to be a Jew. <v John Callaway>Why don't you practice your faith? What is faith to you? <v John Callaway>Where are you religiously? <v Howard Cosell>Religiously? <v Howard Cosell>In terms of formal religion, I don't think my wife and I have ever been <v Howard Cosell>anywhere. In terms of caring about the human race, I think we've been <v Howard Cosell>everywhere. I don't think religion has to do with formality. <v John Callaway>You don't want to confuse-. <v Howard Cosell>In a church? <v John Callaway>-church with religion? <v Howard Cosell>Yeah, I think I've expressed myself very well in my lifetime <v Howard Cosell>in terms of my caring about the human race, 4 years of my life <v Howard Cosell>as national chairman of multiple sclerosis. <v Howard Cosell>I was recently honored by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and <v Howard Cosell>made National Advisory chairman of a new group they've <v Howard Cosell>created, SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, something <v Howard Cosell>so terribly important. <v Howard Cosell>What happens? There is no way to replace the loss of a child. <v Howard Cosell>Not ever. If there is any loss that's irreplacable, believe me, that's <v Howard Cosell>it. And I've been active in diabetes <v Howard Cosell>and cystic fibrosis. <v Howard Cosell>And to me, that's a very important form of religion. <v John Callaway>What kind of a person was your father? <v John Callaway>Was he like you are? <v Howard Cosell>No. My father was a very limited man, <v Howard Cosell>who borrowed from banks every 3 months to send me through college and law school. <v Howard Cosell>I'll never forget himfor it. <v Howard Cosell>He was a good father. <v Howard Cosell>I don't think he was a good husband. He traveled a lot.
<v Howard Cosell>I don't think he gave adequate attention to his wife, my mother. <v Howard Cosell>But that's- he was certainly a very good father. <v John Callaway>He played the violin. <v Howard Cosell>Yeah. Sunday mornings. <v John Callaway>Look through-. <v Howard Cosell>It's like a Studs Terkel ?inaudible? <v John Callaway>What'd they do every Sunday. He lookedthrough his shirts in the drawer? <v Howard Cosell>Yeah, count his shirts. <v Howard Cosell>Make sure they were all there properly laundered. <v Howard Cosell>He wore very expensive shirts that he could never afford. <v John Callaway>Didn't his behavior influence you as a husband? <v Howard Cosell>I believe that what was not a good marriage between my father and mother <v Howard Cosell>helped make my marriage to Emmy, and we're married 36 <v Howard Cosell>years now, about as strong a marriage as you can <v Howard Cosell>see in the contemporary society. <v John Callaway>What is it about your relationship that is so strong? <v John Callaway>When I, when I read your books and I read your references to Emmy, I feel like I'm <v John Callaway>being led into a great love story. <v Howard Cosell>I think it is. <v John Callaway>What is it? I mean, there's so much of this that fails in our lives today. <v John Callaway>What is it with you 2? <v Howard Cosell>Moral standards, values, ethics, integrity, <v Howard Cosell>cultures wrought in each of us, me in a lower middle class <v Howard Cosell>Jewish home. She with a father <v Howard Cosell>who is Welsh, a mother who was Pennsylvania Dutch. <v Howard Cosell>He a man who in the old time American <v Howard Cosell>tradition really worked his way up. <v John Callaway>I've thought about, I've thought about the great affections that you've had <v John Callaway>for men and what various men they are. <v John Callaway>I'm gonna juxtapose some of them Earl Red Blaik, <v John Callaway>the Douglas MacArthur football coach of West Point. <v John Callaway>Vincent Lombardi, task ?inaudible? <v John Callaway>Green Bay Packers. Muhammad Ali, such <v John Callaway>a multifaceted, looser person than Lombardi, <v John Callaway>and yet you embrace all of these men with real <v John Callaway>love. <v Howard Cosell>Each man had qualities that were unique, very <v Howard Cosell>special. And each man was a part of my <v Howard Cosell>life that mattered. <v Howard Cosell>I will explain. Colonel Blaik. <v Howard Cosell>I knew all of the stories about Colonel Blaik. <v Howard Cosell>I was given the first and still the only nightly network sports <v Howard Cosell>show. Back to back with John Charles Daly in the late <v Howard Cosell>'50s on ABC television, and I wanted to prove <v Howard Cosell>that I could produce people that nobody else could get in here <v Howard Cosell>and nobody could get near Colonel Blaik. <v Howard Cosell>The then head of sports information at the United States Military Academy was
<v Howard Cosell>a man named Joe Cale. <v Howard Cosell>I called Joe up and I said, I'd like to do an in-depth interview with Colonel Blaaik, <v Howard Cosell>whom I didn't even know. <v Howard Cosell>I had only been on the air a couple of weeks or so. <v Howard Cosell>He said, well, how would, you know, I'll ask him, but there's no hope. <v Howard Cosell>Forget it. <v Howard Cosell>He called me back about an hour later and he said, I'll be damned, colonel <v Howard Cosell>says he's seen you on the air and he likes what you're doing and he'll meet you at the <v Howard Cosell>battle monument tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock. <v Howard Cosell>I said, I'll be damned. I'll be there. <v Howard Cosell>And the colonel arrived just right there on time, you know, spankingly <v Howard Cosell>punctual. <v John Callaway>An austere man, right? <v Howard Cosell>Yes. Austere. <v John Callaway>Foreboding? <v Howard Cosell>No, I found that he wasn't. <v Howard Cosell>I was-. <v John Callaway>I mean, that was his reputation, wasn't it? <v Howard Cosell>Yes, I would, yes. <v John Callaway>Tough guy. <v Howard Cosell>I was frightened to death. And he does look like McArthur. <v Howard Cosell>And good Lord, he was the man who wired McArthur for mac- and for clearance <v Howard Cosell>when McArthur was in the Philippines for clearance to use the 2 platoon system at the <v Howard Cosell>academy. And we're on the battle monument. <v Howard Cosell>I mean, I don't care who you are. <v Howard Cosell>If you're a human and you're up there and you look down on that ribbon <v Howard Cosell>and you look across the plains of the academy, you <v Howard Cosell>get a feeling. And scared as I was, I felt exhilarated. <v Howard Cosell>And I started talking to him about the character and depiction <v Howard Cosell>that he had been subjected to, about the frigidity of his demeanor, <v Howard Cosell>about the apparently ruthless disciplinarian that he was, <v Howard Cosell>his relationship with MacArthur, his likeness to him, all <v Howard Cosell>of the questions that I had really wanted to ask him. <v Howard Cosell>And I found him so forthright and effusive, I couldn't believe <v Howard Cosell>it. When we got all done, he put his arm around my shoulder and he said, young <v Howard Cosell>man, I've been wanting to do that for a long, long time. <v Howard Cosell>I really enjoy it. Thank you very much. <v Howard Cosell>And off he stalks straight as a ramrod, and Joe Cale said, <v Howard Cosell>I'll be damned. And I said to Joe Cale, I'll be damned, <v Howard Cosell>but thank you very much, Joe. <v Howard Cosell>Then I saw Blaik take a young man who was <v Howard Cosell>an all-American. A young man who he had <v Howard Cosell>placed in a position that they called picturesquely a lonely <v Howard Cosell>end. <v Howard Cosell>He was the greatest in the country, and he made the position. <v Howard Cosell>The glamour term of football, but his quarterback
<v Howard Cosell>graduated and this team was decimated in the next year. <v Howard Cosell>He took the lonely and because he was his best athlete, and he tried <v Howard Cosell>to make him a t-formation quarterback, and now they called the lonely <v Howard Cosell>end Blaik's Folly. <v Howard Cosell>That quickly that they turned on him. They all but destroyed the ?inaudible?. <v Howard Cosell>During the course of that year, Army lost to Jordan Olivar <v Howard Cosell>and Yale. To Ben Schwartzwalder in Syracuse <v Howard Cosell>and to Michigan. And Fritz Crisler. <v Howard Cosell>He had had a meeting on the campus with the lonely end turned <v Howard Cosell>quarterback because the lonely end had said, take me out coach, <v Howard Cosell>for the good of the team. And Blaik said no way, son, you're my <v Howard Cosell>quarterback. <v Howard Cosell>And the night before the Navy game, with Navy overwhelmingly favorited at the <v Howard Cosell>Manufacturer's Country Club outside of Philadelphia, where the Army team stayed, <v Howard Cosell>it was his ritual, Earl's, to take his team for a walk in the darkness. <v Howard Cosell>And he said, you know, I've taken the long walk 3 times this year. <v Howard Cosell>Said I'm going to want to take that walk tomorrow if it's possible, gentlemen.I <v Howard Cosell>respect the Navy. They may have a better football team than us. <v Howard Cosell>The Navy's quarterback was a brilliant quarterback. <v Howard Cosell>His name, George Welch. <v Howard Cosell>The current Navy coach. <v Howard Cosell>A voice sang out in the darkness, not tomorrow, coach, <v Howard Cosell>no walk for you. It was the voice of the lonely end. <v Howard Cosell>I'm still touched when I have the memory of it because Army won that <v Howard Cosell>game overwhelmingly. <v Howard Cosell>And the kid wasn't Blaik's Folly anymore. <v Howard Cosell>His name was Don Hollard, he <v Howard Cosell>was killed in Vietnam. <v Howard Cosell>Blaik was his life, and I'll never forget. <v Howard Cosell>That's why I love Blaik. <v Howard Cosell>That was Blaik. <v Howard Cosell>Muhammad Ali represented what I was taught and believe in all my life, <v Howard Cosell>a government of constitutional law. <v Howard Cosell>When I supported Ali only on grounds of constitutional law, <v Howard Cosell>not out of personal affection or anything of the sort. <v Howard Cosell>Became public in that. <v John Callaway>Is that your proudest accomplishment as a journalist? <v Howard Cosell>No, I'm as proud of the work I did in the Olympics. <v Howard Cosell>I'm as proud of the work I did with Jackie Roosevelt Robinson. <v John Callaway>Speak of him for a minute, would you? <v Howard Cosell>Robinson? <v Howard Cosell>There's only 1 word for Jackie Robinson. <v Howard Cosell>They don't make human beings like that anymore. <v Howard Cosell>Maybe they never will again. <v Howard Cosell>He was unconquerable.
<v Howard Cosell>He had as much character as could possibly be endowed in the human race, as Roger <v Howard Cosell>Kahn wrote in The Boys of Summer, he was the lion. <v Howard Cosell>He was my neighbor. We drove in together every morning, home together every night. <v Howard Cosell>I lived through his every travail. <v Howard Cosell>I saw his hurt when he was never offered a job as a manager. <v Howard Cosell>I know everything he went through. I know the treatment he got from the press. <v Howard Cosell>When he resigned from baseball and nobody had a dime to give him <v Howard Cosell>or a job to give him. He took 25,000 dollars from Look <v Howard Cosell>magazine and he was pilloried by the sports writers in New York <v Howard Cosell>because they said he owed them the story. <v Howard Cosell>What they going to support Rachel and Jackie Junior and Sharon? <v Howard Cosell>Were they? No. <v Howard Cosell>He had to. And where would he get the good big job? <v Howard Cosell>Now he's back in society and he's Black. <v Howard Cosell>And the legs and the steals of home aren't going to carry him anymore. <v Howard Cosell>I mean, let's look at life in perspective. <v Howard Cosell>I think, again, let's get a fix on sports. <v John Callaway>What about Vince Lombardi? What is it, what is it that captivated you about that man? <v Howard Cosell>His honesty and his integrity and the fact that he was maligned. <v Howard Cosell>He- if you want to know about Vince Lombardi, it's very simple. <v Howard Cosell>Ask his players. <v Howard Cosell>Just go to them 1 by 1. <v Howard Cosell>There was love. <v Howard Cosell>This was a man who could see a tiny kid out of USC, <v Howard Cosell>marked no pro prospect at the other end of the field. <v Howard Cosell>And from 1 end of the field to the other, Lombardi would suddenly see this tiny <v Howard Cosell>kid from a standing position leap up and chin <v Howard Cosell>himself on the goal posts, and Lombardi would run the length of the <v Howard Cosell>field and he would say to Hector, what's the kid's name? <v Howard Cosell>And Hector would look at his paper and he'd say, Wood, Willy Wood from USC. <v Howard Cosell>You remember his name, ?inaudible?. <v Howard Cosell>He's gonna be the best defensive back in football. <v Howard Cosell>And from this, from that day to this Willy Wood, who should be a head coach in <v Howard Cosell>the National Football League, who's a head coach in the Canadian Football League will <v Howard Cosell>tell you about Vince Lombardi. <v Howard Cosell>What will Horning tell you? <v Howard Cosell>He lived in Patty O'Brien's bar right near the hospital where Lombardi <v Howard Cosell>laid when he was dying. He cried by the hour. <v Howard Cosell>Lombardi never asked more from any man than the <v Howard Cosell>man had the capacity to give. <v Howard Cosell>It was almost uncanny the way he could take men and get more from them than they
<v Howard Cosell>ever thought they had to give. <v Howard Cosell>Not with punishment. <v Howard Cosell>With belief. <v John Callaway>He was strong. <v Howard Cosell>Like Henry Jordan said, he treats us <v Howard Cosell>all the same, like dogs. <v Howard Cosell>It's like Max McGee said, coming home for the third night to <v Howard Cosell>Sensenbrenner Hall at St. Norbert's College in De Pere, Wisconsin. <v Howard Cosell>Lombardi up to catch. <v Howard Cosell>He had fined them 500 the first time, a thousand the second time. <v Howard Cosell>And now McGee thought he had a beat. <v Howard Cosell>He thought Lombardi wouldn't think he'd dare go out a third time. <v Howard Cosell>But Lombardi was there. <v Howard Cosell>And he's sang out in the darkness, Max, and McGee whirled around, <v Howard Cosell>and he said, yes, coach. <v Howard Cosell>He said this one is 2000. <v Howard Cosell>And if you're gonna try it again, take me along. <v Howard Cosell>I want to see who's worth it. <v Howard Cosell>Lombardi had a way. <v Howard Cosell>He was a marvelous man and he had a commitment to excellence. <v Howard Cosell>And what's wrong with that? <v John Callaway>What Billy Martin is the George Steinbrenner. <v John Callaway>What Tom Snyder is to Rona Barrett. <v John Callaway>What Gore Vidal is to Norman Mailer. <v John Callaway>This man is to Howard Cosell. <v John Callaway>His name is Gary Deeb. He's the nationally syndicated radio TV columnist for the Chicago <v John Callaway>Sun-Times. And his style of criticism has never been subtle. <v John Callaway>In fact, there are those that say he has separate keys on his typewriter for his favorite <v John Callaway>words, such as inept and sleaze bag. <v John Callaway>Well, for some time now, Gary Deeb has been writing less than flatteringly about Howard <v John Callaway>Cosell. <v John Callaway>For example, in his column of October 10th, 1980, Deeb called Cosell <v John Callaway>the relentless jerk who doesn't understand the first thing about baseball. <v John Callaway>He referred to his awful stuffed up voice and the oily, nervous, <v John Callaway>insincere laugh he occasionally resorts to when he's cornered like a rat. <v John Callaway>And to Cosell as Howie the shill who whips himself into fits of slobbering <v John Callaway>ecstasy. And so I think the odds are pretty good that Gary Deeb will not be <v John Callaway>mentioned in Howard Courcelles will. <v John Callaway>How do you handle a Deeb? <v Howard Cosell>I don't. He's beneath me. <v Howard Cosell>And anybody whom I would expect to reach, who is an educated person, would know <v Howard Cosell>what he is. I feel sorry for him. <v Howard Cosell>I really and truly do. <v Howard Cosell>But there are certain people. <v John Callaway>And yet he's, and yet he's read by hundreds of thousands. <v Howard Cosell>Well, that's, I think he's properly judged by most. <v John Callaway>He accused you in a column last March.
<v John Callaway>He accused ABC of paying <v John Callaway>Muhammad Ali for interviews which were, which were said to be spontaneous <v John Callaway>and which led the viewer to believe were not paid for. <v John Callaway>I don't know if you've ever discussed that. <v Howard Cosell>First place, no interview I ever did with Muhammad Ali <v Howard Cosell>was other than spontaneous. <v Howard Cosell>You can't talk to Ali but spontaneously. <v Howard Cosell>So that's a manifest absurdity. <v John Callaway>It was charged that those were set up, that Ali was given material. <v John Callaway>You know what I'm talking about, don't you? Am I reporting this accurately? <v John Callaway>That he reported it that way? <v Howard Cosell>No. He was- This related to a charge <v Howard Cosell>in a lawsuit involving a referee, Tony Perez, because Ali said <v Howard Cosell>detestable things about him as a referee in the interview with me, <v Howard Cosell>which was not doctored. <v John Callaway>Was it paid for? <v Howard Cosell>That's what led to the- Whether or not they paid Ali for that particular interview I have <v Howard Cosell>no personal knowledge of. <v Howard Cosell>Now, what we-. <v John Callaway>Did you ever ask them if they paid? <v Howard Cosell>No, it's never any of my business. <v Howard Cosell>Whenever-. <v John Callaway>You don't think it's your business if a man is paid for behind your back. <v Howard Cosell>Oh, John, you know, better than that, there's not a person- There is no sports writer in <v Howard Cosell>the world who ever went on television without requesting a fee. <v Howard Cosell>Let's not have double standards. <v Howard Cosell>When they go on, they go on as a performer as well as a subject <v Howard Cosell>of an interview. My God. Mike Wallace paid 75,000 dollars <v Howard Cosell>to H.R. Haldeman for an alleged news interview. <v John Callaway>And it was publicized. <v Howard Cosell>Sure it was publicized. <v John Callaway>The rules of CBS say that if you pay him, you announce in advance that you paid him. <v John Callaway>Is that the rule in sports at ABC? <v Howard Cosell>Not to my knowledge. <v John Callaway>Should it be? I don't think it matters. <v John Callaway>You don't think it matters if somebody is being paid to be interviewed? <v Howard Cosell>No. <v John Callaway>Why not? <v Howard Cosell>Because they go on in a public exhibition frame of reference. <v Howard Cosell>Should NBC put on that they pay. <v Howard Cosell>Pete ?inaudible? the columnist of Newsweek? <v Howard Cosell>To go on? <v John Callaway>Well, you, you assume that a journalist who was working as a commentator is paid. <v John Callaway>But you don't necessarily assume, for example, I don't pay guests for these interviews. <v John Callaway>Maybe I should. <v Howard Cosell>Well I'm doing, I'm doing this video because it's public television. <v John Callaway>Right. But I'm saying-.
<v Howard Cosell>Cause I don't often give an interview like this-. <v John Callaway>But if I, if I did pay you-. <v Howard Cosell>In fact, I've got to-. <v John Callaway>But if I did pay you, I would say so. <v Howard Cosell>Oh, I'm sorry. <v John Callaway>Isn't that fair? <v Howard Cosell>Muhammad Ali is an entertainer. <v Howard Cosell>He is a performer. If he asks for money and the sports <v Howard Cosell>department can't get him otherwise to come on and answer the same questions I <v Howard Cosell>would ask him if he weren't getting paid, then my company is <v Howard Cosell>losing out. If they can get him exclusively, they should get him <v Howard Cosell>exclusively. <v John Callaway>In other words, if I go on the Carson show, they're going to pay me. <v Howard Cosell>You're darn right. <v John Callaway>And then he's going to interview me whether I'm paid or not. <v John Callaway>Is that the point? <v Howard Cosell>Yeah. <v John Callaway>Okay. Would it help the cause of sports journalism if it were run <v John Callaway>by the news divisions of the networks? <v Howard Cosell>I don't think so. That's a problem that the man I've worked <v Howard Cosell>for through all of my years at ABC has discussed with <v Howard Cosell>me and I have discussed with him from his own point of view. <v John Callaway>Roone Arledge. <v Howard Cosell>Roone Arledge, a totally brilliant man. <v Howard Cosell>When you are the president of news, you don't <v Howard Cosell>face the problems you face if you are the president of sports. <v Howard Cosell>Because when you are the president of sports, you don't have a death <v Howard Cosell>wish and you're in a rat race business and you're in a race <v Howard Cosell>for rights because unlike the other medium, <v Howard Cosell>you can't exhibit in an event unless you buy the rights. <v John Callaway>So you're inherently in the entertainment business if you're in sports. <v John Callaway>Is Monday night football, Thursday night football, <v John Callaway>Saturday afternoon football, Sunday afternoon football, Sunday night football, <v John Callaway>all of that, is that also a part of the problem? <v John Callaway>Are you a part of the problem? Is being a part of those broadcasts-. <v Howard Cosell>That's A very fair question. Lipside once raised in my class at Yale. <v Howard Cosell>He looked at the class. He said it's entirely possible that this man is the best <v Howard Cosell>sports journalist in the country and maybe even the best sports journalist who has yet <v Howard Cosell>lived, but he must answer that question as to whether or not somewhere <v Howard Cosell>deep inside of it, he lives with a moral ambiguity <v Howard Cosell>because if Howard Cosell does an event, people will react. <v Howard Cosell>More people will watch. More people will talk about it. <v Howard Cosell>We of the press will write about it. <v Howard Cosell>And so isn't he contributing to this?
<v Howard Cosell>I've thought long and hard about that because it's a fair question, an appropriate <v Howard Cosell>one. And I have decided that I <v Howard Cosell>serve nobody by departing the scene, there has to be somebody <v Howard Cosell>who is going to speak out. A simple little thing like a Larry Holmes Scott <v Howard Cosell>LeDoux fight. My company pays a fortune for the rights <v Howard Cosell>to that fight. Otherwise, we can't exhibit it. <v Howard Cosell>At that fight was Dave Anderson of The New York Times, Dick <v Howard Cosell>Young of the New York Daily News, Schlesinger of Cleveland, so <v Howard Cosell>and so of Chicago. And they don't have to pay a dime. <v Howard Cosell>And I went on the, and the next day, the fight was excoriated <v Howard Cosell>in print as a mismatch. <v Howard Cosell>But I didn't wait till the next day. <v Howard Cosell>I went on that night and at the expense of my company, which it paid more than a million <v Howard Cosell>dollars for the fight, I said, this is a disgrace. <v Howard Cosell>It shouldn't have been licensed and so on. <v Howard Cosell>Now, isn't it better to do that? <v Howard Cosell>And doesn't that take more character and integrity? <v John Callaway>If you look at what you say in print, you're absolutely right on the nickel <v John Callaway>intellectually when you say that we take sports too seriously. <v Howard Cosell>Why make it just a nickel? <v John Callaway>And yet, and yet, Mr. Cosell, I can see <v John Callaway>you saying something as historically trivial as that <v John Callaway>right tackle is a fine young man. <v John Callaway>He plays a terrific game of football. <v John Callaway>And wasn't that a sweet tackle? <v Howard Cosell>No, I don't agree. <v John Callaway>And yet and yet you say it with such an import <v John Callaway>that it makes you out to be somebody that's taking it more seriously <v John Callaway>than you in your heart and certainly in your mind do. <v John Callaway>Do you see the paradox of that? <v Howard Cosell>I do see the paradox of that, though. <v Howard Cosell>I challenge the nature of your impartation of my <v Howard Cosell>alleged words because I'm not capable of saying what you just said I said, <v Howard Cosell>although the press will misreport my words every single day of the week. <v John Callaway>Howard, I got to get straight with this. <v John Callaway>I'm not talking about the presses, I watch you. <v John Callaway>And, and I have an I have mixed feelings about this. <v Howard Cosell>Look-. <v John Callaway>?inaudible from crosstalk? <v Howard Cosell>If I think a game stinks, I say it. <v John Callaway>Oh no, you do all of it, but I'm saying the intonations of your voice give it an import <v John Callaway>above and beyond what you intellectually would print. <v Howard Cosell>I suppose it's quite possible. <v Howard Cosell>I have a naturally dramatic delivery and, but
<v Howard Cosell>I hardly think I think, John, you have to look at something else. <v Howard Cosell>When a man is an educated man <v Howard Cosell>who edited one of the major law reviews of this nation. <v John Callaway>NYU right? <v Howard Cosell>New York University Law Center. <v Howard Cosell>When a man uniquely <v Howard Cosell>is brought back to Yale 3 times in 5 years and I'll be going back <v Howard Cosell>next year again, when a man is asked by the attorney general of <v Howard Cosell>the United States to address the Department of Justice in the Great Hall <v Howard Cosell>on sports and the law, when a man who is a sports commentator <v Howard Cosell>is asked to be the keynote speaker at the American Bar Association annual <v Howard Cosell>convention, he must be doing something <v Howard Cosell>right now. Why, then, are such facts never written <v Howard Cosell>and why the pathological fervor in print <v Howard Cosell>to a point of vilification almost exceeding that heaped upon Richard Milhous <v Howard Cosell>Nixon or Charles Manson? <v Howard Cosell>Why? <v John Callaway>I have-. <v Howard Cosell>Isn't that the real psychological question to ask? <v John Callaway>I have a theory. <v Howard Cosell>What are they afraid of? <v Howard Cosell>What is their fear and how deep is their envy? <v John Callaway>I have a theory about it, I'd like to try it out on you. <v John Callaway>I think that at one level it's anti-Semitic. <v Howard Cosell>Roone Arledge has propounded that. <v John Callaway>And I think at another level it is a good <v John Callaway>old American revulsion of and <v John Callaway>fascination with a kind of what is <v John Callaway>perceived of as a studied loud mouth know-it-all <v John Callaway>authoritarian guy who's right so much of the time it hurts to hear it. <v John Callaway>The perception of it. <v Speaker>That's a factor. <v Speaker>I don't buy the anti-Semitic fact- factor personally, although certain newspapers <v Speaker>have openly courted that which will be in my-. <v John Callaway>?inaudible from crosstalk? the anti-Semitic thing after the tens of thousands of letters <v John Callaway>you've gotten calling you what you've been called. <v Howard Cosell>Yeah, but that's-. <v John Callaway>That's overwhelming evidence, Howard. <v Howard Cosell>Well, that's a release. That's the old scapegoat thing, the frustrations of the people. <v Howard Cosell>I'd like to think it's not so. <v Howard Cosell>I also think that America has been taught from birth <v Howard Cosell>that sport is Camelot and it's pure. <v Howard Cosell>And I think that many of them don't want to hear the truth. <v John Callaway>Some of us and I don't know whether you've had much feedback on this or whether you agree <v John Callaway>with the premise at all. Some of us are very upset <v John Callaway>about the kind of continuing high level crowd sound that comes out of Monday Night
<v John Callaway>Football. You know what I'm talking about. <v Howard Cosell>I do. <v John Callaway>It's a different, it's a different sound than, say, you get on the CBS radio broadcasts <v John Callaway>or even on any others. It seems hyped and it seems continuous. <v Howard Cosell>It absolutely is not. There is a different-. <v John Callaway>There's nothing? There's no, no. <v Howard Cosell>Ah, that's that deep garbage. <v John Callaway>No, no, no. This is, this is my ear. <v Howard Cosell>No. <v John Callaway>No? <v Howard Cosell>No. It's Monday. <v John Callaway>Seriously. <v Howard Cosell>Monday Night Football- <v John Callaway>Because it's high. <v Howard Cosell>It's a special event. <v Howard Cosell>Those crowds are crazy. <v John Callaway>They're really like that? <v Howard Cosell>My God, I've had my life threatened over who is on the halftime highlights. <v John Callaway>Now, that's serious. <v Howard Cosell>Yeah. <v John Callaway>I mean, you've had a threat-. <v Howard Cosell>Sure, sure. <v Howard Cosell>That's the sports syndrome. <v John Callaway>Have you ever had a bodyguard? <v Howard Cosell>I have police protection at every arena in the country. <v Howard Cosell>So does Dandy. So does Fran. <v Howard Cosell>So does Frank. <v John Callaway>NBC. <v Howard Cosell>Not like I do. <v John Callaway>NBC tried again. <v Howard Cosell>But I remember a night when Frank Gifford's daughter Vicky was attacked in Candlestick <v Howard Cosell>Park in San Francisco. <v Howard Cosell>And Alex Karris was with us then. <v Howard Cosell>And he went after the guy and had he been able to get him he would've killed him, <v Howard Cosell>and he'd have been justified. <v John Callaway>Say you're in Chicago. You haven't had a baseball winner since '59. <v John Callaway>You haven't had a football winners since '63. <v John Callaway>If you're a Cub fan, you haven't had a winner since '45. <v John Callaway>'Given that, what are the legitimate expectations <v John Callaway>of a fan and the legitimate behavior of a fan on behalf <v John Callaway>of those expectations, and what are the fans responsibilities? <v John Callaway>Could you talk about that? <v Speaker>I think a fan has a reasonable right to expect that an ownership <v Speaker>produce a representative team in terms of winning and losing <v Speaker>over a reasonable period of years. <v John Callaway>What does representative mean? <v Howard Cosell>Contending, challenging. <v Howard Cosell>Not necessarily championship, but a team none the same. <v John Callaway>Yeah, ?inaudible? <v Howard Cosell>And that should be done in a period of 5 to 7 years. <v Howard Cosell>The nature of competition being what it is, it's not easy to do, but it should be. <v Howard Cosell>The fan is entitled to a safe, clean ballpark. <v John Callaway>Do we have a fan violence syndrome developing in this country? <v Howard Cosell>We certainly do, and it's one of the most dangerous phenomenons in this country.
<v Howard Cosell>Yet every decade we're supposed to be advancing as a civilization. <v Howard Cosell>How did this craze develop? How did sports get this way? <v Howard Cosell>Why isn't this dealt with in the media, both in television and <v Howard Cosell>in print? Why not? <v Howard Cosell>Don't these deserve to be talked about and written about? <v Howard Cosell>I tell you, the growth of that whole sports syndrome is a failure of the media. <v Howard Cosell>Mine as well as theirs. <v John Callaway>How can you have anything but the syndrome if we have thousands <v John Callaway>of hours are spent by a nation that watches television and sports <v John Callaway>is such a rich part of that. <v Howard Cosell>Which I think is totally wrong in disgrace. <v Howard Cosell>That's another part of this, totally. <v John Callaway>We're going to 24 hour a day cable sports television in this <v John Callaway>country. You can get that now. <v Howard Cosell>Well, I think what you're talking about here is ESPN. <v Howard Cosell>Is that what you're talking about? Oh, don't worry about it. <v John Callaway>But it's coming if they don't succeed, somebody else will. <v John Callaway>All sports all the time. <v Howard Cosell>I would say in a period of 5 years, sports will be basically <v Howard Cosell>pay cable and television sports on the networks <v Howard Cosell>won't be as we now see. <v Howard Cosell>The place for the networks to go now, which they've not done properly, <v Howard Cosell>is in sports journalism. <v John Callaway>This is what Van Sodder at CBS and Brant Musburger at CBS say they're going <v John Callaway>to pioneer in. How do you-. <v Howard Cosell>Pioneer? <v John Callaway>Pioneer in. How do you feel about that, Howard? He asked. <v Howard Cosell>That's funny. I have great respect for Van Sodder, but <v Howard Cosell>when you go against Roone Arledge, you must remember <v Howard Cosell>that we are recognized around the world as the leader in sports <v Howard Cosell>television and nobody's going to beat us in anything. <v John Callaway>Howard, I've I've read quotes from you going back <v John Callaway>many years that you don't know how much longer you can stay covering <v John Callaway>the trivial events, comparatively trivial events of sports. <v John Callaway>I think I saw those quotes attributed to you 10 years ago, 5 years ago, <v John Callaway>3 years ago. <v John Callaway>How are you doing on that question? <v Howard Cosell>Well, I'm afraid I'm consigned to it now for however <v Howard Cosell>much longer I want to stay in the business. <v Howard Cosell>I grew up in Brooklyn with a fellow named Jude Kerry. <v Howard Cosell>Lunched with him at 21 a couple of weeks ago. <v Howard Cosell>And I was with one of my bosses, Elton Row, the president of my company. <v Howard Cosell>And ?inaudible? talked about how he came up to Montreal in '76 <v Howard Cosell>and tried to get me to run for the United States Senate.
<v Howard Cosell>And Bob Strauss called me, but my family was dead set against <v Howard Cosell>it. And I didn't do it. Yesterday by sheer happenstance I <v Howard Cosell>spent 5 hours with Republican Senator <v Howard Cosell>Bill Cohen of Maine and Democratic Senator Gary Hart of Colorado <v Howard Cosell>and they talked to me about it. But it's too late now. <v John Callaway>How do you say it's too late? <v John Callaway>If we have a president of the United States who became that at, what, the age <v John Callaway>of 69? <v Howard Cosell>Yeah, well, it's not too late for Ronnie. <v Howard Cosell>It's too late for me. <v John Callaway>Why do you say that? <v Howard Cosell>Because it's my determination. <v Howard Cosell>Because my wife and my daughters and even now <v Howard Cosell>my growing grandchildren are entitled to some privacy and to some <v Howard Cosell>peace and the kind of print vilification in their minds <v Howard Cosell>that I would have received. had I run, although I think I would have won, was <v Howard Cosell>something they didn't want to undergo. <v John Callaway>Where are you politically? Who are you politically? <v Howard Cosell>I grew up a Franklin D. <v Howard Cosell>Roosevelt, New Dealer in a Democratic home. <v Howard Cosell>I have voted Republican in my time. <v Howard Cosell>Politically, I think I stand a humanist. <v Howard Cosell>I do believe that the great presidents of my lifetime have come from <v Howard Cosell>the Democratic Party, Roosevelt and Truman. <v Howard Cosell>And I happen to think that Lyndon Johnson domestically was a very great <v Howard Cosell>president who became tarred and feathered because of Vietnam. <v John Callaway>Where do you stand on the great economic issues of the day? <v John Callaway>Where are you with-. <v Howard Cosell>I do not think it's-. <v John Callaway>The market system and growth and those sorts of questions. <v Howard Cosell>Well, first place, I don't think it's possible to expand our military <v Howard Cosell>and at the same time reduce taxes. <v Howard Cosell>I don't think that this Chrysler thing and the underwriting of Chrysler <v Howard Cosell>by the federal government is at all a good thing. <v Howard Cosell>I think the ramifications of that are vast and are in <v Howard Cosell>some respects terrifying with regard to our traditional system <v Howard Cosell>of free enterprise. Now your question specifically, market <v Howard Cosell>growth. How do you mean? <v Howard Cosell>Will the growth product of this country continue to increase? <v Howard Cosell>Naturally, the population continues to increase. <v Howard Cosell>That's a whole other huge problem as environment <v Howard Cosell>problems now are so huge that they will not be solved in a 4 <v Howard Cosell>term- 4 year presidential term. <v Howard Cosell>It's impossible. These problems can only be solved in terms <v Howard Cosell>of history, in terms of 25 year plans now
John Callaway Interviews
Howard Cosell
Producing Organization
WTTW (Television station : Chicago, Ill.)
Public Broadcasting Service (U.S.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
JOHN CALLAWAY INTERVIEWS: HOWARD COSELL reveals sides of the sportscaster that few people suspected were there. During the interview, the outspoken Cosell addresses himself to the country's preoccupation with sports ('a kind of holy ritual,') sports scandals on a collegiate level, and the absence of responsible sports journalism. Cosell describes his Brooklyn boyhood and how he found his career in the industry he says he loves to this day. He fondly remembers associations with many of the greatest figures in sports, and at one point tearfully recalls the death of a promising athlete. "Cosell takes a candid and hard look at himself, with reference to his insecurities, the part that being Jewish has played in his life, and how he sometimes feels criticized with 'a pathological fervor to the point of vilification almost exceeding that heaped upon Richard [Milhous] Nixon or Charles Manson'"--1981 Peabody Awards entry form.
Series Description
"JOHN CALLAWAY interviews outstanding Americans and world-renowned figures who rarely sit for intimate, often intense and humorous, one-on-one television interviews. The hour-long, in-depth conversations result in carefully drawn, multi-dimensional portraits of public figures as diverse as Mike Wallace, Dr. Jonas Salk, and Howard Cosell. The subjects talk not only about their work, but about their private lives, personal feelings, and beliefs.
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Guest: Cosell, Howard
Host: Callaway, John
Producing Organization: WTTW (Television station : Chicago, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Public Broadcasting Service (U.S.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-d2bf3248268 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 1:00:00
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Chicago: “John Callaway Interviews; Howard Cosell,” 1981-11-10, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “John Callaway Interviews; Howard Cosell.” 1981-11-10. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: John Callaway Interviews; Howard Cosell. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from