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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Billy Packer Apologizes For Remark

New York Daily News

Longtime CBS college basketball analyst Billy Packer set off a firestorm that was quickly doused Saturday when he referred to Georgetown guard Allen Iverson as “a tough little monkey.”

The switchboard at WUSA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Washington carrying the game, immediately lit up with dozens of angry calls.

However, Georgetown coach John Thompson came to the defense of Packer, a close friend.

“Billy Packer might have made a mistake in what he was saying. But my perception is that Billy Packer is a damn good man. Allen is not offended. I am not offended.”

Iverson echoed Thompson’s sentiment.

“I’ve been watching CBS games Billy Packer has done all my life,” Iverson said. “I never heard him say anything offensive. I don’t consider him a racist.”

After being told about the reaction to his comment, Packer apologized on the air.

“I hope nobody took offense to that. …,” Packer said. “(It was) not meant to be a disparaging remark in any way.”

The comment rekindled memories of Howard Cosell’s description of Redskins receiver Alvin Garrett as a “little monkey” during an ABC broadcast in 1983.

Packer’s remark about Georgetown’s leading scorer came after Iverson scored on a second-half driving layup despite being hammered by Villanova’s Alvin Williams.

Packer said he intended the phrase to be a compliment. “I have great respect for the way he plays,” Packer said. “He’s fearless. … I have great admiration for that kid.”

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