Zorn Discusses Schmucks and Portis's Comments
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.
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