By Mary Paoletti
I'm in a weird situation.
Normally, I know exactly where I stand with Billy Packer: I think he's a racist, sexist, homophobic jerk.
Every time I watched March Madness coverage on CBS I imagined him taking swallows off a bottle of scotch and chain smoking.
Remember this drunken trainwreck of analysis?
What? How? Listening to that makes me want to rip my face off. Deadspin's summation is perfect:
Of all the "Sweet Christ, Billy Packer is so full of equine excrement" moments, we have to say, the "Just Going For The Ball!" foul from Gerald Henderson on Tyler Hansbrough at the end of the Duke-UNC game is definitely near the top of the list.
Getting rid of Billy Packer was one of the best things CBS ever did. And I'm including the War of the Worlds broadcast and the decision to make the M.A.S.H. finale 2.5 hours long in that list.
But I might be on his side today.
Charles Barkley called Packer a jackass during halftime of Thursday's MavericksKnicks game. This much is true. The reasoning is where Sir Charles and I part ways. See, Chuck is mad because Packer said he and Steve Kerr won't be a good fit for NCAA tournament analysis.
And boom goes the backlash.
We might not be very good and know all the players on all the teams in college basketball. Barkley said. I don't know any players on Wofford or UNC Asheville. You are absolutely right. But stop being a jackass.
Listen, we're going to do a good job. And I know you said they should have went to ESPN. Well, there was one problem. ESPN didn't have 11 billion dollars. We did. That's why we got it. So sit back, enjoy the March Madness with Greg Gumbel, Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and all of us. And shut the hell up.
YEAH. SHUT THE HELL UP.
Oh, wait. I'm on Billy's side.
Barkley basically says that the better "man" didn't get the job, the richer "man" did. Somewhere, in the walk-in closet of suits that is ESPN, there's a guy who knows every player on Wofford and UNC Asheville. And he's not a weirdo like The Schwab, he's simply sacrificed any chance he has at a normal human relationship to devote himself to the SoCon, which is awesome. Plus, this guy lives in the WWL's closet so he's got that trademark voice and smile and hair -- all the broadcasting must-haves.
What I don't want is for No. 15 Wofford to stage an historic upset over No. 2 UNC, and when we cut the studio for a halftime breakdown, we just see Steve Kerr screaming
"SHOW 'EM HOW TO DOUGIE, CHUCK! THAT'S HOW YOU DOUGIE, CHUCK."
while Barkley gets down.
Maybe it won't be that bad. It's comforting to know that Packer was almost always wrong in the past.