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Detroit Free Press

The law of the pot and the kettle is invoked against professional football's Bert Bell by Sports Editor Lyall Smith, who says the pros are in no position to cast aspersions on the colleges in the matter of televising ball games.

That Blast by Bert Bell at Fritz Crisler & Collegiate Co. has all the tinny sounds of the pot claiming that the kettle is black.

The pro football commissioner's blood pressure hit new heights when he heard of a collegiate "blackout" on professional gridiron activities...i.e., no mention of pro ball on collegiate broadcasts, no pro coaches on collegiate interviews, etc.


If he had criticized the collegians for invoking such bans, and then let it go at that, Bertram would have been on solid ground. But he let himself be carried away so far that he obviously forgot that there also is mud on the shoes of the professionals.

Bell charged that Crisler, Big Ten Commissioner Tug Wilson and others are responsible for the current television setup which permits only one collegiate game to be televised each Saturday. Another part of that setup provides that a team can be on only one televised game each season.

He claims that they put in this "controlled-plan" because the Big Ten was afraid that Notre Dame would monopolize TV monitors if the once-a-season edict wasn't invoked.

"Notre Dame would get the receipts and deprive some of those selfish men (Crisler et al.) of trying to control the situation so that Notre Dame would be in the same capacity as they," he declared.

Then he switched back to the pros. "As far as we're concerned, we are televising on Saturday nights as planned. That's why they are afraid of us.... We said it before, and we say it now, we are going to give the public all the television we can...."

Bell makes it look as if the collegians are stifling TV appetites because of selfish reasons while the good old pros are sacrificing everything just so fans can sit at home and watch games on their living room sets.

That's hogwash. Pure, plain, unadulterated hogwash.

Not that the collegiate TV setup is perfect. It isn't. But when Bell tries to make the pros look good at the collegians' expense, he's way off base.

He insists that the pros are going to give the public all of the television they can. Funny thing about that one. I still remember the title game here at Briggs Stadium last December.

It was a sellout. But would Commissioner Bell let it be televised here in Detroit so all the fans who couldn't buy seats could watch it? He would not.

There will be games played this fall in the pro wheel which will find Briggs Stadium again sold out solid. On those same days, there will be televised games starring the Browns, 49ers, Rams and other good teams.

These games could be televised into Detroit for the benefit of shut-ins who are physically unable to go to games and other persons who are physically able to go but were shut out at the ticket office.

But will Bell let such games be televised? He will not. League rules, you know.

Sure, there are reasons why the pros put restrictions on television. But they are exactly the same reasons why the collegians have put similar restrictions on the same great medium which drops football action right into your lap.

Financial reasons. That's what they are. And the pros are just as worried about them as are the collegians.


Both camps are convinced that unlimited television would hit them where it hurts the their pocket-books.

For the commissioner of the pro league to call the collegians "selfish men" for doing the same thing his own professional men are doing puts him in a strange spot.

Like the pot and the kettle.

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