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Billy Packer Just Can't Win, Can He?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 8:03 AM, under , ,

Athens, GA (Apr 8, 2008) - In a conversation with RAYCOM Sports Play-By-Play Announcer Dave Neal and his wife last year, the question of how they met came up. His wife. a graduate of Ole Miss, was direct and to the point. "We were at the same party. I walked up to him and told him he was blatantly biased against our school whenever he broadcasted our games." Obviously, they got past this hurdle and are now happily married with children. But what he heard is something that all sportscasters hear. CBS Sports Billy Packer is certainly one of them, as over the years he has been consistently blasted by people for what they see as a pro-ACC slant.

So last Saturday, during the national semi-final game between Kansas and North Carolina, he delclared "game over" when Kansas hit a 3-point shot to take a 38-12 lead. So what happens? He gets criticized for making such a declaration with a lot of time left in the first half, even getting on-air partner Jim Nantz to basically say "you are kidding, right?".

Imagine what people would have been saying if Packer had said that the game was far from over and that the Tar Heels still had a chance to get back in the game? They would be screaming that is is so "pro-ACC" and unwilling to concede that North Carolina was toast at that point in the game. Of course, he would have looked really bad IF Carolina had come back somehow to win the game.

I am not a huge Billy Packer fan for a number of reasons that are not worth discussing here. But he does know his basketball and he does speak his mind. We may not like what we hear. It is highly possible that CBS Sports Executive Producer Tony Pettiti cringed when the "game over" declaration was made, fearing people would turn the game off. Maybe he didn't, but unless he publicly says anything to the contrary, I will go with that supposition.

There are sportscasters who are "homers" and where the team colors on their sleeves. University of Georgia Radio Play-by-Play Announcer Larry Munson is one of them, with his declarations thsat "Oh we are back up against the wall" or "We have got to hunker down" or "One of THEIR guys is making it hard for US". But for the most part, sportscasters are there to present a game without bias. It is our filters that make us hear bias in their words, especially if they are saying something we do not want to hear or accept.

So in this case, let's give Mr. Packer a break. He knew enough about UNC from the full season to make the call he did. Tar Heel fans and others just need to get over it and move on. After all, it is just a game.

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