Cosell’s Book Reads Between Lines Like a Sad Commentary

Frank Gifford has brought up a key point about Howard Cosell’s book.


Why would a man who has enjoyed such success in his field and has become extraordinarily wealthy choose to write such a book? Surely not for the money. And surely not to make a name for himself. How famous does one need to be?

The answer one hears from those who know Cosell is, “That’s Howard.”

Apparently, Cosell is so consumed with himself that he feels compelled to tell the world that he is above everyone else, even if it means hurting friends and former colleagues.

A year ago, this reporter sat for several hours in a hotel bar, listening to Cosell criticize almost every sportscaster in the business. The thought then: Why can’t this man enjoy his success? Why the bitterness? Why not just enjoy life?


As Gifford says, it’s sad.

When it comes to classless acts, how about Larry Holmes’ performance on national television during the press conference after his loss to Michael Spinks Saturday night?

Television cameras, ESPN’s and others, were on. There was no way to bleep out the expletives. But that didn’t slow down Holmes.

Some examples:

--"If you really want to get technical about the whole thing, Rocky Marciano couldn’t carry my jockstrap.”

--To Peter Marciano, Rocky’s brother, who was in the back of the room: “If I hurt your feelings back there--what is your name? Sonny? If I hurt your feelings, so (bleep) what.”

--After accusing Peter Marciano of freeloading (a Las Vegas hotel had picked up his tab), Holmes called Boston a racist city and added: “You can shove Boston up your (bleep).”

--Again to Peter Marciano: “You could never do what I have done. I fought my (bleep) off. . . . It takes a hell of a fighter, a champion, to do what I have done--a seventh-grade education to Ph.D. to common sense. When you open your mouth you should know what you’re talking about.”

Holmes, during the process of his little speech, changed his tune and apologized to Peter Marciano. But the true Larry Holmes had already surfaced--right in front of the TV cameras.

Add Holmes: His feud with Peter Marciano apparently stemmed from an interview Marciano did with ESPN’s Jim Gray. The interview was shown last Friday.

Said Marciano: “We feel that Rocky hasn’t been dealt a fair hand. We feel that with the kind of opponents Larry faced, that if things had been reversed, Larry Holmes would have had problems. There were guys out there who Larry should have fought. The true test should be the guys that are ranked.

“The truth should be told. The Marciano family is not happy with the way Larry Holmes reponded to this challenge. He has put Rocky down. I wish I was 15 years younger and a few pounds lighter. I’d like to go in there against him myself.”

Before Holmes’ little tirade, he mentioned that he was upset by some things he had heard a few days before the fight.

Shakeup at KABC radio?: The Los Angeles Daily News’ Rick Talley, a former member of KABC’s “Sportstalk” crew, reported recently that after the baseball season, the show will be cut from three hours to one and that Tommy Hawkins and Lisa Bowman will no longer be a part of it. Only Bud Furillo will survive.

Reportedly, former KMPC personality Geoff Edwards, now on Channel 9’s “Midmorning L.A.” show with Meredith MacRae, has already agreed to do a general talk show weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m., following the baseball season. The new trimmed-down “Sportstalk” would run from 6 to 7 p.m.

KABC General Manager George Green would not comment.

Prime Ticket update: Nearly 500 sponsors and cable operators were the guests of Jerry Buss, owner of the Lakers and Kings, and Bill Daniels, cable TV entrepreneur, at a luncheon at the Forum this week to kick off the new all-sports cable channel, Prime Ticket Network. Afterward, Buss, Daniels and Tony Accone, an associate of Daniels, met with reporters.

Some highlights:

--The channel will begin operation Oct. 19 with an exhibition basketball game between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics at the Forum. A hockey game between the Kings and the Edmonton Oilers will be televised the next night. The channel will carry 200 live events during its first year of operation.

--Besides the Lakers, Kings and Lazers (indoor soccer), the channel will carry boxing and tennis from the Forum, USC and UCLA events, including tape-delayed USC football, and live University of Hawaii football. Buss and Daniels are currently negotiating with the Clippers, and they plan to resume negotiations with the Angels after the baseball season.

--About 900,000 of the Los Angeles market’s 1.6 million cable households will receive the channel at first. There is hope that the subscriber base will reach 1.5 million within a year or two.

--There is no additional cost for the subscriber, but the cable operator will pay 25 cents a month per subscriber, and some operators may pass that cost on to the consumer.

--There will be 12 minutes of commercial time an hour, with two minutes allotted to the cable companies. Ten sponsors have already signed up. Commercial time is being sold at rates ranging from $300 to $1,200 per 30 seconds, depending on the event.

--Initially, satellite dish owners will be able to pick up Prime Ticket’s signal, but there are plans to scramble it. The events in Los Angeles will be televised via Satcom 4, transponder 20. Hawaii football will be televised via F1R, transponder 7.

--ON TV and SelecTV will carry about 70 of Prime Ticket’s 200 events.

Notes Beginning Monday, the Angels’ remaining four games with Kansas City and three games with Texas will all be televised by Channel 5 as long as the race in the American League West is alive. . . . Some readers wondered why the Dodger game last Friday night at San Francisco wasn’t televised by Channel 11. For many years, all games from San Francisco were televised, but since 1981, when the Dodgers expanded the TV schedule to 50 games, not all Giant games have been shown. . . . None of the Dodgers’ three games at Houston this week was scheduled for television, but Dodger publicity director Steve Brener said that if the Dodgers had been close to clinching the National League West title, the games would have been televised. . . . NBC has announced that Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola will work the National League championship series, and Bob Costas and Tony Kubek will work the American League series. No announcement has been made about pregame coverage, but an NBC source said that Dick Enberg will serve as the host and will work with Pete Rose, if Rose is available, and Tom Seaver. . . . ABC hasn’t made a final decision about its World Series announcing team, but one has to wonder if Howard Cosell will be involved. His book is expected to rub a lot of people at ABC the wrong way. . . . Reggie Jackson is expected to be involved in the coverage if the Angels are not in the Series.

Because of conflicts, KLAC (570) will carry Saturday’s UCLA-Washington football game and Sunday’s Angel-Cleveland game. . . . The Oct. 5 UCLA-Arizona State game at the Rose Bowl will be televised by CBS. The kickoff is now 11:40 a.m. . . . “Racing from Oak Tree” will return on Channel 56 for a third season, starting Monday night. The Oak Tree meeting opens Wednesday at Santa Anita. . . . On opening day, Santa Anita will inaugurate its own low-powered radio station, KWIN 830, which will offer race information throughout race days, plus race calls. The announcers will be Bill Kolberg, Alan Buchdahl and Jay Privman. . . . Shakeup at ESPN: Four announcers on the network’s “Sports Center” show--Lou Palmer, Dave Sullivan, Tom Mees and Bob Ley--are not having their contracts renewed. But Ley and Mees will be retained as salaried employees. The contracts of the other two will expire early next year. “We are shifting direction with the show,” executive producer Jack Gallivan said. “We will do more news-gathering in the field, so we don’t need as many anchor people.”