Talking Sports with Tom Arnold

Published February 18, 2005

| FoxNews.com

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," February 17, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: The sports world has been turned on its ear this week. First, Jose Canseco's (search) book made some shocking allegations about steroids (search) in Major League Baseball. Then, just Wednesday, it was announced that the hockey season has been officially canceled.

Just hours ago, I stopped by the set of the "Best Damn Sports Show Period" and sat down with one of its hosts, Tom Arnold.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Tom, I like the concept. I'm sitting in the guest chair interviewing you in the host chair.

TOM ARNOLD, "BEST DAMN SPORTS SHOW PERIOD": Well, it's an honor to have you here on the show.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's wonderful to be here. You got a great operation, a great set and a great topic, sports.

ARNOLD: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Speaking of sports, Jose Canseco has got a new book, have you read it?

ARNOLD: I have read it. I've leafed through it. I looked at the pictures. He makes some pretty outrageous claims. I wonder if he has read it. I think what happens is there's nuggets of truth in a lot of things and then you go to the book publisher they say, "Oh this isn't enough" and then there is some embellishment there and I think it's caused a lot of distress for the baseball business right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: I interviewed him in jail a while back and he's sort of a tragic figure.

ARNOLD: He is a tragic figure and because of that I think you take his exact words with a grain of salt. I'm not saying that steroids are not in baseball because they obviously are. There's a lot of things in baseball. There's a lot of things at the meat packing plant where I used to work. But I can still enjoy baseball knowing that in past years people did steroids the way I could enjoy a hamburger knowing the guys at the meat packing plant are taking speed.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so you can enjoy baseball in spite of the steroids. How about basketball in spite of the basket brawl?

ARNOLD: OK. That was something. Thank God nobody was killed. It was a wakeup call for the fans and for the players and for security and I try to look at the best of what came out of it. A lot of people lost a lot of money but, you know, I try to look at the funny moments like the guy that came out on the court to put his fists up to Ron Artest and realized, oh my God he is a giant man. It's not like on TV.

And, you know, so I think that we learned a lesson about protecting the athletes, also fans have to respect athletes and these athletes you don't know the things that fans say to them, throw at them and this is something that was going to happen I think and it happened and now we move past it and enjoy basketball.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have the athletes sort of though forgotten the fans a little bit? I mean the steroids story puts a little bit of a stain at least for the short run on baseball. The basketball brawl wasn't particularly attractive for basketball. Now we've got the hockey season shut down. What about the fans?

ARNOLD: Well, I think hockey players, what I want to say they're probably the nicest of all the athletes, you know, because of the way they start. They start very young and it's a real tough sport and it's cold and you start as a young kid and they turn out to be actually quite nice gentlemen.

But I think what happens with basketball in particular is these kids are coming out of high school. They're a star from the time they're in sixth grade and they don't really have a chance to mature. Perhaps Kobe Bryant is a perfect example of that. They're always the man.

Sometimes they don't go to college and, if they would go to college and have two years under Coach K. or Bobby Knight, I think that would set them up a little bit different and give them more skills to deal with things.

But then I think of Shaquille O'Neal (search), who was my next-door neighbor until, you know, this year — probably one of the nicest human beings on the planet. I saw him behind the scenes was nice to kids, you know, when nobody was watching and doing all these great, great things.

And it's so much easier to pick on an athlete for the bad things. But even Ron Artest drives his little sister to school every day, has before this. I think he means well. He just gets a little excited.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. The governor, I'm here in the state of California, I know you're friends with the governor, how's he doing?

ARNOLD: He's doing a great job and I think what has to happen, it's like a movie. We rode motorcycles a couple of weeks ago with Jim Cameron. He's taken some grief from the nurses and people are pretending that he's cutting education but I think if you look at the facts, it may be a little bit different.

But Jim said, "Are we at the end of Act 1 in this movie or Act 2?" I think there's going to be some cuts now and you're going to see a lot of surprises and I think what you have to do is buy in to him like America bought into FDR during those tough times and just assume that he knows what he's doing.

I believe he does and so you buy into him but as a person he hasn't changed at all. He still rides in the front of the motorcycle pack, way ahead of security. He always has to be you know number one but I think you got to buy into it and he's taking some heat but he'll master it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. One final question, Brett Favre, is he going to play another season?

ARNOLD: I hope so. I love Brett Favre. I know you are a part owner of the Green Bay Packers.

VAN SUSTEREN: One share, 200 bucks.

ARNOLD: That's right. I sense that he will because of the kind of man he is. He wants to do it a little bit better, you know, let himself heal a little bit but there's never been anybody like him. He's one of my heroes. I'm sure he's one of your heroes and Green Bay would sure love to have him for one more season.

VAN SUSTEREN: They sure would. Thank you, Tom, it was nice to see you.

ARNOLD: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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