- The Washington Times - Monday, August 21, 2000

Kennedy's foe in Senate racesays he's Jackie Robinson's kin

Would a political candidate tell a little, er, white lie? Such a thing is unthinkable, of course, but sometimes you have to wonder …

In Barnstable, Mass., Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack E. Robinson said he is "a distant relation" of a near namesake, baseball pioneer and Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson.

"Not close enough to be anything fancy," the candidate added, whatever that means. "It's a cousin on my father's side, down in Mississippi or Alabama or somewhere."

Only problem is, the relationship was news to Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, who died in 1972. Said her assistant, one Daren Gaskins: "Ms. Robinson does not recognize the name at all."

Rachel Robinson can't rule out the possibility, Gaskins said, because Jackie Robinson didn't know his father. But he added, "She just finds it a coincidence that after 50 years, he decided to say it is his relative. It's a funny time now that he's running."

Probably none of this will change the outcome of Robinson's race for the Senate. His opponent is longtime incumbent Edward M. Kennedy, of all people.

Jones in the Arena

Apparently, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn't consider bossing around one football team enough of a diversion. Jones has been awarded an Arena Football expansion team for Dallas.

The team will be run on a day-to-day basis by Jones' son, Stephen, and begin play as soon as April, contingent on securing an arena lease.

Why in the world bother?

"I had a personal bridge to cross because I never wanted to be involved in any other sport or any other team other than the Cowboys," Jones said. "The Arena League is different than traditional football. It's a distinct game yet it exhibits all the football skills, and there are a lot of things that it can do to complement the NFL, so I see a tie-in."

Wonder how long it will take ol' Jer to fire his first Arena coach and might his old Cowboys coach and adversary, Jimmy Johnson, be interested? Stranger things have happened. After all, George Steinbrenner hired Billy Martin five times.

Dolfan Denny bows out

First Don Shula left. Then Dan Marino. Now Dolfan Denny. Do the Miami Dolphins have anything left besides those aqua-accented uniforms?

Denny, a k a Denny Sym, had led Miami crowds in cheers and chants in his glittering orange and aqua hat since the Dolphins' first game in 1966. He started in the stands, but in 1976 former owner Joe Robbie asked him to move down to the field as the team's official motivator, paying him $50 a game.

Sym, 65, said his age and constant heckling by belligerent fans helped him decide to retire. "I thought it was time," Denny said. "I got tired of having beer poured over me and hearing people say, 'Old man, go away.' "

If that's a commentary on today's sports scene, it's a sad one.

Parcells vs. Belichick

Don't invite Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick to the same party unless it's July 4 and you want to have your own fireworks.

Parcells, former coach of the Giants and Jets, takes some harsh shots at longtime assistant Belichick, among others, in a forthcoming book. Parcells, who stepped down as coach of the Jets after last season but remains the team's director of football operations, doesn't understand why Belichick left to coach the New England Patriots rather than succeed him in New York.

"I'm still not happy with Belichick," Parcells writes in "the Final Season." "I don't know how you can take a million dollars to stay another year to become the head coach and then walk out on the job. I still can't figure out why he didn't take this job."

Belichick, whose contract designated him as Parcells' successor, quit one day after replacing him, citing uncertainty regarding the club's change in ownership. Parcells, who wrote the book with Boston Globe columnist Will McDonough, called that reason "weak."

Stay tuned for Belichick's reply and possibly further salvos from both sides.

Eminently quotable

Former Boston Red Sox star Dom DiMaggio, on comments about brother Joe's death by attorney Morris Engelberg, who was at his bedside, in a Vanity Fair interview: "I believe it's a sick monologue of utterances delivered by a person that appears to have a very serious problem. Mr. Engelberg professes a great love, affection and a very close friendship with and for Joe, then proceeds to destroy the privacy Joe so zealously guarded when Joe is no longer available to defend himself. I think it's disgusting." …

Hall of Famer Ted Williams, on why he thinks Boston's Nomar Garciaparra has a (distant) shot of matching his .400 average (actually .406) in 1941: "I never saw a better looking right-handed hitter, and I saw the great Joe DiMaggio, and I saw Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente, and all those guys. The only one that I'd say was a better hitter than him Hank Aaron was a great hitter. But Garciaparra, he has got style and beauty of swinging." …

Former Georgetown point guard Kenny Brunner, whose off-court problems have plagued his college career, on why he plans to enroll at Georgia: "I'm just coming down there to bring a winning attitude to the team and help win some games." …

Patrick Klinger, promotions director for the Minnesota Twins, on distributing popular bobble-head dolls at games: "If we could give these out every night, baseball wouldn't have any more problems with small-market teams."

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