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Zorn Discusses Schmucks and Portis's Comments

No to Schmuck talk, and no to Svrluga-sponsored team dissent. (By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

Yesterday was one of the most remarkable days I've ever heard listening to 980, whatever name or ownership group is attached to that frequency of yammering sports bliss. (It's ESPN 980, for the record.)

I already mentioned the Clinton Portis-Brian Mitchell screamfest, which was without a doubt one of the best radio segments of the year. But after that segment was already in the books, the Sports Reporters came back with another winner during the 4 p.m. hour. That's when the Jim Zorn Show comes on, and the new guy didn't disappoint, with both the ridiculous (Yiddish definitions!) and the serious (Zorn addressing the team about Barry Svrluga's article last week, which included Clinton Portis's controversial comments about his offensive line).

First the Yiddish.

Andy Pollin As someone who is familiar with Yiddish, I was somewhat amused to hear you talk about Antwaan Randle El as "not being a Schmuck."

[And jeez, when you consider that Cooley junk, there was an awful lot of schmuck talk circling the Redskins this week. - ed.]

Jim Zorn: Oh. My. Gosh. I didn't know it was Yiddish, I just used the word as kind of, "He wasn't a dud, he wasn't a guy that couldn't perform."

[Couldn't perform! Zing! - ed.]

Zorn: And when I used the word "Schmuck," I didn't think anything of it. It just goes to show you that I need to develop my vocabulary a little bit more.

Steve Czaban: See, I thought "Putz" and "Schmuck" were about the same, and then one day, coach, Andy says, "Nah, not exactly."

[Huh? According to this online dictionary, and to my own understanding of the language, "Putz" means "Slang word for (something Chris Cooley might photograph)" while "Schmuck" means "Self-made fool; obscene for (something Chris Cooley might photograph)." I don't think Zorn should start calling his players Putzes, either. Any Yiddish speakers out there? - ed.]

Zorn: Yeah, I should have said just "dud." I'll remember that. You know what, I'll probably never use the word again in public. I'll probably just be very discrete about when I use it."

[Don't use it in the corner office, Jim!!!! He knows what it means!!!! - ed.]

But things got actually newsy a few moments later, when Czaban asked about that legendary Svrluga-Portis interview.

Zorn: Well, for me, I'm ok with it because I understand the context of how he said it....I try not to read anything, because I don't want to be swayed one way or the other about certain comments and how people feel and all that kind of stuff, criticisms or even praise....So people were running to me talking about, "Oh no, Clinton made this and that comment," and [the comments] were told to me more than me reading them. And then after listening to the spirit with which he said it, I understood, so it didn't bother me.

Czaban: Is the O-line cool with Clinton?

Zorn: It shouldn't bother them either. The thing that I did was I brought it up in front of our whole team.

Pollin: Oh you did?

Zorn: Oh, absolutely.

Pollin: And was there any reaction from the team to the article, anything that they particularly said they were upset about or anything like that?

Zorn: Oh, I didn't give them a chance to let me know whether they were upset or not, because one of the things that can't happen on any football team is that guys get upset about words. The thing that I said was, "Let's make sure that we're very careful number 1 with things we say, number 2 let's not jump to any kind of conclusion and become bitter or embittered with where we are and who we are and stuff like that."...I didn't let anybody necessarily voice their opinions. I didn't let Clinton stand up and explain himself, I didn't let the O-line stand up and tell him how upset they were or anything like that....I just wanted to make sure that everybody knew there was this article, everybody knew that Clinton was still a Washington Redskin, and everybody knew that we were going in the same direction.

What a two-fer: Yiddish lessons and an internal team meeting in which players were informed about a Barry Svrluga-Clinton Portis newspaper piece, and in which the Redskins were instructed not to get embittered by words. Just great.

Can you imagine Joe Gibbs being publicly schooled on the contextual difference between a Schmuck and a Putz? Never. Might as well imagine him saying his team was fighting its Kishkes out.

Oh, and things ended like this:

Pollin: One last Yiddish word to leave you with: Winning is a Mekhaye! Remember that.

Zorn: Awesome. I'll look at it.

Yeah. Awesome.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 17, 2008; 11:29 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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Putz = anyone that roots for the Dallas Cowboys!

Posted by: G20FdaCowboys | September 17, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Creemifew | September 17, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Chutzpah = B. Mitch
Chazzer = Daniel M. Snyder
Schmuck = Clinton Portis

Posted by: Yiddhoo | September 17, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

this is a great Blog i bookmarked it direct.
Thank you for all this information and work.


Posted by: MonikaWe | September 17, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Yea, i agree, 980 was fantastic yesterday. I still wonder how long Snyder will keep Polin & Czaban around but so far so good. I still think there has to be a 2nd sports talk station in this town though. There needs to be more local programming on the air.

Posted by: Chimpanzee Rage | September 17, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Clinton, oy vey!

Posted by: DirtyHarry | September 17, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

What's Yiddish for "lame blog post"?

Posted by: Just wondering? | September 17, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

lick me

Posted by: G-Skins | September 17, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Mazel Mazel good things

Posted by: jonthefisherman | September 17, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

G20FdaCowboys's "putz" obsession is almost amusing. But, hey, it takes all kinds, right?

Posted by: Naf Salad | September 17, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes, i do agree that 980 was fantastic yesterday. But I still wonder how long Snyder will keep Polin & Czaban around but so far so good.

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Posted by: David Williams | September 22, 2008 3:59 AM | Report abuse

If you want to develop or increase your vocabulary then you have consult books and as well as sports movies.

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Brian Goethe

Posted by: Brian | September 23, 2008 5:26 AM | Report abuse

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