SBD/28/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 28: AGENTS STAND BEHIND BOB

         "If anyone was anticipating an uprising against NHL players
    boss Bob Goodenow, it simply wasn't in the cards," writes Damien
    Cox in this morning's TORONTO STAR.  A group of about 35 player
    agents that met with Goodenow yesterday "basically reaffirmed
    their support" (TORONTO STAR, 10/28).  "Any hopes the owners
    might be able to drive a wedge between the agents and the union
    were dashed when Goodenow revealed the league cancelled its
    insurance policies on the players on Oct. 15 -- and didn't tell
    anyone. ... While the NHLPA has since agreed to pay the insurance
    premiums, the players were without medical, dental and life
    insurance for nearly two weeks" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN,
    10/28).  This is a "blow" for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman,
    writes David Shoalts.  "Now, not only is Bettman facing a smart,
    stubborn union leader, he is facing one with the unwavering
    support of all elements of his constituency" (Toronto GLOBE &
    MAIL, 10/28).  But, in her report on the Goodenow/agents summit,
    ESPN's Linda Cohn noted: "There is a sign union solidarity might
    be showing signs of weakening, at least among its younger
    players" ("SportsCenter," 10/27).
         CHECK THE RECORDS:  According to a CANADIAN PRESS report,
    Goodenow also requested that the league's 26 owners release their
    financial records.  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "agreed to do
    so if the players agreed to return to work under the terms of the
    NHL's last collective bargaining proposal while an audit was done
    by a firm chosen by the NHLPA" (Nancy Marrapese, BOSTON GLOBE,
    10/28).
         STARS ON TOUR:  Bettman said he can't stop a proposed tour
    of Europe by a team of NHL stars led by Wayne Gretzky.  But he
    did say:  "I hope they don't reverse the strides we have made to
    improve our relationship with international hockey."  Notified of
    Gretzky's plans, IIHF General Secretary Jan-Ake Edvinssson said
    they would need consent from local federations and the NHL before
    any games could be scheduled (George Gross, TORONTO SUN, 10/28).
    ESPN hockey analyst Mike Milbury called the proposed exhibitions
    "a real bad idea":  "That takes care of the stars, but what about
    the other 650 guys who are out walking the dog or doing the
    dishes?  What does it do for them?" (Nancy Marrapese, BOSTON
    GLOBE, 10/28).  The first of four scheduled NHL players' charity
    games will be Sunday night in Sarnia, ONT, between a team of
    NHLers and the junior Sarnia Sting (Mult., 10/28).     GRETZKY
    SPEAKS:  Wayne Gretzky: "We want to play hockey, too.  Kirk
    Muller wants to play hockey, I talked to him yesterday.  Doug
    Gilmour wants to play hockey.  I want to play hockey.  Messier,
    he is out in L.A. saying he wants to play hockey.  But, we are
    not going to do anything to step on Bob's toes. ... It is going
    exactly the way we were all told and we are just basically
    standing back and we have our trust in the Association"
    ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/27).     NO COMPARISON, SAYS NHL:  The
    NHL released a statement in response to requests for comment on
    the NBA's decision to start its season under a no-strike/no-
    lockout agreement with its players' union.  From the NHL:  "The
    NBA arrangement preserves a status quo for that League that is
    competitively and economically sound.  The NBA has had in place
    for more than 10 years a system designed to preserve the
    competitive balance and economic viability of its clubs and the
    financial well-being of its players.  It makes good sense for the
    NBA to continue under a system like that. ... The NBA has assured
    itself what we accomplished a year ago -- playing one season
    without a CBA" (NHL).  NHL Senior VP & Dir of Hockey Ops Brian
    Burke, on the NBA:  "Let's see where they are a year from now."
    Burke also noted the NBA's salary cap, adding that he "hasn't
    heard the NHL players say they'll play with a cap this season
    while negotiations continue" (KNIGHT-RIDDER/SAN JOSE MERCURY
    NEWS, 10/28).
         ON LAYOFFS & NO PAYOFFS:  The Canucks gave layoff notices to
    their ticket manager and special events manager, but teams
    officials said to avoid further layoffs, Canucks employees may be
    shifted to work for the expansion NBA Grizzlies (VANCOUVER SUN,
    10/28)....Maple Leaf Gardens Chair Steve Stavro announced there
    will be no Leafs layoffs until January at the earliest (TORONTO
    STAR, 10/28).  But MLG also announced that, because of the
    lockout, it would not pay its customary quarterly dividend for
    the first quarter of FY '95.  MLG announced its revenue is down
    $2.8M from a comparable period in '94 (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
    10/28).
    

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  • IN FRIENDLY GATHERING, NBA & UNION AGREE TO PLAY THE SEASON

         Unlike MLB and the NHL, the NBA "displayed its viable
    working relationship/partnership with the players yesterday by
    reaching a temporary agreement to avoid a work stoppage."  Both
    sides agreed to play the season under a no-lockout/no-strike
    pledge while negotiating a new CBA (Roger Brown, FT. WORTH STAR-
    TELEGRAM, 10/28).  NBA Commissioner David Stern: "The 1994-95
    season through and including our finals will be played in their
    entirety."  NBPA Exec Dir Charles Grantham: "Our players are very
    concerned about the integrity of the game and a full and complete
    championship season" (Mult., 10/28). "In a far cry from the
    animosity that has pockmarked the hockey and baseball
    negotiations, both men took turns acting like best friends, then
    worthy adversaries" (Flip Bondy, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/28).
    Hornets Player Rep Kenny Gatison: "It's just a truce.  The issues
    aren't dead.  This is just a breather" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER,
    10/28).
         THE SPIN:  Peter Vecsey writes, "Naturally, we knew all
    along basketball wouldn't triplicate the mistake committed by
    baseball and compounded by hockey. ... It was only a matter of
    time running out before they came to their dollar and senses"
    (BOSTON HERALD, 10/28).  In New York, Ian O'Connor writes, "This
    was Stern's day, though, the day he went back to being the best
    in the world at running a game" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/28).  ESPN's
    Bob Ley: "The initiative for the truce came from the consummate
    dealmaker, David Stern" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/27).  Acting
    MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: "The bottom line is the two sports
    that are playing both have salary caps" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/28).
         PLAYERS WANT TO PLAY?  In L.A., Mark Heisler notes that
    "reports surfaced that several young stars," including Shaquille
    O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning, "had passed word they didn't want to
    go on strike."  Leonard Armato, the agent for O'Neal and Hakeem
    Olajuwon, "said he didn't see the need for a strike."  Pacer
    center LaSalle Thompson: "Sam Mitchell and I were joking, that
    [if] the owners locked us out, we'd sue them to let us come back
    to work" (L.A. TIMES, 10/28).  For the players, "giving up the
    right to strike was not conceding as much as the owners did by
    taking the no-lockout pledge" (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE,
    10/28).
         PARTS OF THE DEAL:  Included was the inclusion of a "window
    of opportunity" for players under contract.  Players now have
    until November 8 to renegotiate or extend their deals.  After
    that date, no action can be taken for the rest of the season.
    Unsigned draft picks and free agents will have unlimited time to
    come to terms.  Grantham did concede that he would have liked a
    longer "window of opportunity" (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE,
    10/28).  Also, "as part of the peace accord," players Howard
    Eisley and David Wood allowed their suit against the league
    charging it maintains an "artificially" low cap to be postponed
    until next summer.  Eisley agent Frank Catapano: "It's a good
    thing we filed the suit.  I think it really bothered the NBA.  I
    didn't think it would be that big a deal when we filed it, but
    the league must have been afraid they'd lose it, because they
    didn't want to go to court" (Steve Bulpett, BOSTON HERALD,
    10/28).   BACK TO THE TABLE:  While yesterday's news assured the
    NBA of a full season, "it did not signify a closing of the gap
    between the two groups who are admittedly nowhere near an
    agreement" (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/28). The salary
    cap "may create an insurmountable barrier" (Murray Chass, N.Y.
    TIMES, 10/28).  CNN's Mark Lorenz:  "The two sides are still far
    apart on a new labor contract, but decided to put good faith
    above any bad feelings that might exist" ("Sports Tonight," CNN,
    10/27).  The union have said it wants to abolish the cap, but
    several veteran players are open to a rookie cap.  The owners not
    only want to keep the cap, but want to close the loopholes to
    make it a "hard" cap.  The two sides are expected to re-divide
    the licensing pie.  As of now, the players get $500,000 a year
    out from merchandising of the $2.5B in expected '94 sales
    (Mult.).
         THINKING AHEAD:  "While basketball fans are cheering the
    decision by the league and its players to sidestep the labor muck
    that has mired baseball and hockey, this could mean there will
    still be no labor agreement in place by this time next year.  And
    that raises the spectre of labor strife short-circuiting the
    inaugural season of Canada's [two expansion franchises]" (Craig
    Daniels, TORONTO SUN, 10/28).
    

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  • NFL NEWS & NOTES: PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK'S FALL MEETINGS

         1999 SUPER BOWL:  NFL owners attending the next week's fall
    meetings in Chicago will determine whether Candlestick Park or
    Joe Robbie Stadium will be the host stadium for the 1999 Super
    Bowl.  David McIntosh, Chair of the South Florida Super Bowl 1999
    Host Committee, said that the vote "will be close": "But we have
    a great bid.  We've got better weather, a better stadium, a
    better bid all around" (Armando Salguero, MIAMI HERALD, 10/28).
         ROONEY FIGHTS FOR REALIGNMENT:  Steelers Owner Dan Rooney
    said he will make a "last ditch" attempt to sell the owners on a
    realignment plan when the group meets in Chicago on Tuesday:
    "This is our last chance to do it.  If we don;t do it now, we're
    not going to realign for a long time" (Ira Miller, SAN FRANCISCO
    CHRONICLE, 10/28).  League sources said yesterday it seems
    unlikely the 28 owners will agree on any realignment (Leonard
    Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 10/28).
         NEW DRUG POLICY:  The NFL and the NFLPA have agreed on a new
    drug policy that emphasizes treatment and rehabilitation rather
    than detection and discipline.  The policy, which also stresses
    confidentiality for players in treatment, will be formally
    announced some time before league owners gather in Chicago next
    Tuesday for their annual meeting.  The policy does not address
    the issue of steroid use (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST,
    10/28).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • VIRGINIA GOVERNOR JOINS BASEBALL EXPANSION EFFORT

         VA Governor George Allen has joined the efforts of two
    Northern VA groups trying to lure a baseball expansion franchise
    to the area.  If a team is granted, Allen adminstration officials
    said that the state will create a VA Baseball Stadium Authority
    that could issue tax-exempt bonds to cover stadium, parking and
    transportation costs.  Allen is also considering personally
    delivering Northern VA's plan to MLB officials in Chicago next
    week.  In an interview, Allen said state aid ultimately "has to
    have a payoff" in economic benefit to the area.  Five sites are
    under consideration for a proposed stadium, most located near
    Dulles Airport in the DC suburban area.  Fairfax County officials
    are in Richmond today to "work out financial details" with Allen
    administration officials.  The "key question" in raising bonds is
    the source of repayment.  Parking fees and ticket taxes are
    possible revenue sources, but "general" taxpayer money could be
    included.  Fairfax County Board Chair Thomas Davis, who is in a
    tight race for a Congressional seat, said he intends to form a
    task force next week to study possible stadium sites (Peter
    Baker, WASHINGTON POST, 10/28).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
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