By Alex Distefano
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By Steve Almond
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She seemed to finally prove herself to the CBS brass when she snagged injured Portland Trail Blazer Bill Walton for a halftime interview one day, and her grilling got the star center to reveal that he thought team doctors cared more about serving the front office than the players. But soon after that, Chastain told her bosses she was pregnant and she was banished to the junk-sport hinterlands. "No more NFL or NBA," she says. "It was surfing and water skiing." When her contract ran out in '75, Robert Wussler, then the VP of CBS Sports, told her it wasn't being renewed.
Says Chastain, "I was told, 'You're not the person we hired.' After everything they'd changed about me, of course I wasn't!" (Numerous attempts to reach Wussler were unsuccessful.)
She returned to Miami for a year, then worked at KABC-TV in Los Angeles for two years before leaving sports in '78 to raise her son. These days, Chastain lives in California and writes a weekly political column for WorldNetDaily.com, having recently given up the daily talk show she hosted for nine years on Christian radio. A staunch conservative ("Bill Clinton should be in jail, not the White House"), she has appeared on Politically Incorrectwith the likes of Drew Carey and Ralph Nader.
Chastain says she's not bitter that her big shot at the CBS limelight flopped. She admits to being rankled, however, by the fact that too many people think it was a certain ex-Miss America who broke the gender barrier in TV sports. (Typical of the response of young reporters the Voicespoke to was that of CBS's 30-year-old Bonnie Bernstein, who said, "I never actually heard of Jane. When CBS got football back, most of the talk here was about the days of Phyllis George.") Chastain also finds it "curious" that no one has ever thanked her personally for her contributions.