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Remarks by ‘The Greek’ Stir Furor

From Times Wire Services

CBS Sports commentator Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder said Friday that if blacks “take over coaching jobs like everybody wants them to, there’s not going to be anything left for the white people.”

Snyder, known for his predictions on sporting events, later apologized to anyone he said he may have offended by the remark and others in an interview with WRC-TV in Washington. He has worked for CBS for 12 years.

Snyder was interviewed at Duke Zeibert’s, a Washington restaurant. WRC reporter Ed Hotaling went there on Friday, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, to ask people about the progress blacks have made in society.

Parts of the Snyder interview were shown Friday night on the “CBS Evening News.” CBS anchorman Dan Rather said WRC, an NBC-owned and operated station, had received many complaints after it broadcast Snyder’s remarks.

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Rather then read an apology from Snyder, who appears on CBS’ “NFL Today” show.

“I’m truly sorry for my remarks earlier today and I offer a full, heartfelt apology to all I may have offended,” Snyder said.

The network had made no decision Friday on whether Snyder would work Sunday’s broadcast, CBS spokeswoman Susan Kerr said.

Irv Cross, a black who is one of Snyder’s colleagues on “NFL Today,” said he was shocked by the remarks.

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“They don’t reflect the Jimmy The Greek I know, and I’ve known him for almost 13 years,” Cross, a former defensive back with the Philadelphia Eagles, said in a telephone interview from his Virginia home.

In the WRC interview, Snyder said blacks had been bred to be better athletes since the Civil War, when “the slave owner would breed his big black with his big woman so that he would have a big black kid. That’s where it all started.”

Snyder, 70, also said that if blacks “take over coaching jobs like everybody wants them to, there’s not going to be anything left for the white people. I mean all the players are blacks. The only thing that the whites control is the coaching jobs.

“Now, I’m not being derogatory about it, but that’s all that’s left for them. Black talent is beautiful, it’s great, it’s out there. The only thing left for the whites is a couple of coaching jobs.”

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Pluria Marshall, head of the Washington-based National Black Media Coalition, said Snyder’s comments made him sound like “some plantation master.”

Marshall said professional sports remains an area of segregation where “everything is white except for the athletes that draw people to the stadiums.”

The push for more black coaches and managers gained momentum last April after Dodger executive Al Campanis said in a television interview that blacks lacked the “necessities” to manage in the major leagues. The remarks created a furor, and Campanis resigned.

Snyder said one of the reasons blacks were better athletes is that whites were lazy.

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“There’s 10 players on a basketball court. if you find two whites you’re lucky. Four out of five or 9 out of 10 are black. Now that’s because they practice and they play and practice and play. They’re not lazy like the white athlete is.”

In addition to Snyder’s apology, CBS Sports issued a statement saying that it “deeply regrets the remarks made earlier today to a news reporter by Jimmy (The Greek)’ Snyder. We find them to be reprehensible. In no way do they reflect the views of CBS Sports.”


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