ST. PAUL (AP) -- Gov. Jesse Ventura kept things uncontroversial for a second weekend in a row as a color commentator for the XFL.
The governor took a single shot Saturday at sports writers, who roundly criticized the fledgling football league after its debut last week, unsuccessfully looking for reassurance from former Chicago Bears player Dick Butkus.
"We've taken a lot of heat from these sports writers, these columnists," Ventura said. "I like to call them pukes because most of them have never strapped on a helmet."
Butkus didn't take the bait and just said the league was about playing football.
The debut NBC telecast was a ratings winner, but the broadcasts were widely panned by TV critics and sports columnists. Critic Caryn James of the New York Times, for example, said the XFL "mingles violence, voyeurism and even politics into one trashy Saturday night show that suggests how the lowest television culture is gaining mainstream respectability."
Critics had wondered if Ventura would raise more eyebrows in his second week, mostly because he was paired with a new play-by-play commentator with whom he had worked before.
Ventura was teamed up with Jim Ross for Saturday's game in Los Angeles.
Ross, known to pro wrestling devotees as JR, has been a ringside announcer for the World Wrestling Federation since 1993. Last week, he and another WWF announcer, Jerry Lawler, broadcast the XFL's backup game in Orlando, Fla., while Ventura worked the main XFL game in Las Vegas.
While Ventura focused his commentaries on the game and ignored the dancing girls and other distractions, Ross and Lawler had a more animated, uninhibited style, and paid considerable attention to the cheerleading corps.
But the change didn't seem to make much of a difference on Saturday for Ventura, who still contained most of his comments to the game between the Los Angeles Xtreme and the Chicago Enforcers.
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