John Feinstein, who is best known for A Season on the Brink, the year he spent embedded with former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, has quit the Navy Radio Network after 14 years as a color commentator after the school agreed to do a documentary with CBS about the Army-Navy game — a project that Feinstein, whose book The Civil War chronicled the annual football game between the two service academies, reportedly pitched to CBS in the past, but to no avail.
I have no doubt CBS will do just fine with this. They’ll have the access and they’ll spend the money. They won’t have my anecdotal memory or know some of the stories about past players that I know and I’m SURE they won’t try to claim any of the stories I’ve written or told in the past as their own.
I’m not angry with the people at Army or Navy. This was a business decision. Could they have pushed CBS a little harder to involve me, pointing out that it would benefit the project? Yes. Would that have done any good? I doubt it.
The reason I’m stepping down then isn’t because I’m throwing a hissy fit at being left out. But, as I said in my note to the Navy people, Army-Navy and doing Navy football has never been a job to me, it has been a passion. Doing this documentary would have been a labor of both love and passion and, yes, I believe I would have done it better than anyone else.
So, to be at the games this fall and see CBS there with their cameras following players around; knowing they’re in the locker room with their cameras; encountering people from CBS all the time, is something I simply can’t face. It’s a little bit like dating a girl for 10 years, getting dumped and then being invited to her wedding. I just don’t want to watch it.
Can’t really blame him. Then again, the idea for a documentary about the Army-Navy game doesn’t seem like something that Feinstein alone could have brainstormed. Not involving him, though, seems odd. Hopefully CBS will address the reasons for doing the documentary without him.