SBD/20/Franchises

HOUSTON MAYOR CONSIDERS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST OILERS

     Houston Mayor Bob Lanier has asked city officials to
determine what legal action might be taken to force Oilers owner
Bud Adams to remain in the Astrodome when his lease expires in
1998.  Lanier: "At some point, the cities should have rights
dealing with sports franchises."  South Texas School of Law dean
Gerald Treece advised that Lanier sue the NFL to keep the Oilers
in Houston:  "Because the city of Houston has invested so much
emotionally and financially in the Oilers, unless, we (Houston)
are granted a new franchise, then the policies and practices of
the NFL are in violation of antitrust laws."  Former NFL attorney
Gary Roberts warned such a lawsuit would provide an "interesting"
legal case: "It's asinine to think you can tell the NFL where it
can put teams.  But because it's very confusing law and because
juries are partisan, you never know what's going to happen" (John
Williams, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/18).
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