Jerry Lawler calls the Commercial Appeal about the comments made in regard to him and the XFL.

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Jerry Lawler called. And, yes, he seemed to be wielding a folding chair.

Lawler on the critics: "A lot of the critics, a lot of the media people, they sit around and say, 'How dare you use wrestling announcers to announce a football game.' And secondly, 'How dare they tell a joke during a football game.' Well, give me a break. It's a game."

Lawler on taste: "Look at how many people watch Temptation Island and how many people watch PBS. A lot more people watch Temptation Island which is, basically, you throw a bunch of guys in with a bunch of whores and you hope people will get to see it."

Lawler on the XFL: "They're targeting males 18-34. This is their target group. These people want to see scantily-clad cheerleaders. It's amusing to them, it's not offensive. It's a joke and they get it. Sure, there are a lot of people who won't get it, but they don't matter to the the XFL."

Yes, Jerry Lawler called. It was not to beg for forgiveness.

As you may or may not know, our very own Jerry "The King" Lawler was ripped for his clownish performance on NBC Saturday night.

Jim Rome hammered him. USA Today's Rudy Martzke game him an "F." Yours truly took some shots, too.

Lawler was not pleased by this. So he called Wednesday to make three essential points: 1> He's just doing his job, 2> He's doing it darn well, 3> If you don't like it, you can sick it up your Tagliabue.

"These critics just don't get it," he said. "In the eyes of the people that matter, we did the best job. We did what they wanted. If some people don't get that, that's their problem."

At some level, Lawler is right, by the way. He's not some renegade announcer going off on unsanction rants. He certainly wasn't reprimanded for his string of sexist comments Saturday.

Indeed, according to Lawler, after NBC switched from the Las Vegas game to his Orlando game Saturday night, Vince McMahon and Dick Ebersol used Jerry Lawler and his partner Jim Ross, to demonstrate what they wanted from their broadcasters.

"They called Jesse Ventura and Matt Vasgersian out of the stands and down to the control truck and told those guys to listen," Lawler said. "So strong are their feelings, that they split the teams up in the hopes that we'll bring both of these guys around to produce a broadcast that the XFL wants to present to the fans."

"(McMahon said) ' We'd like to put Vasgersian with you and Jim Ross with Jesse because we weren't happy with the emotion those guys brought to the game. We feel like Matt can learn from you and we feel like Jim Ross will raise Jesse Ventura's enthusiasm level.'"

"I even brought up the re-views and McMahon said screw those people, they don't get it."

Ahh, Vince. Always gracious in victory.

The discouraging part of all this is that it suggests that, far from toning down the sleaze in week two, the XFL may crank it up to new levels. We could get more sex. We could see skimpier outfits. We could hear more sidesplitting jokes about tight ends and wide receivers. And if we do, Lawler will be there, ready to play the good, if tawdry, soldier.

"The guy in USA Today gave me an F, making the comment that Jerry Lawler reached an all-time low by saying we're in the land of milk and honeys," Lawler said. "If that guy thinks that was an all-time low, he doesn't know me very well."

  - Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN  02-08-01