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ONE OF NFL'S ROOKIE FRANCHISES GETS HARSH INITIATION
Published January 4, 1995
In response to the Panthers' pursuit of Steelers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers as the team's first head coach, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue yesterday delivered "one of the most punitive actions in recent NFL history. Tagliabue fined both teams and ordered that the Panthers forfeit their second and sixth-round draft picks in the upcoming draft. The $150,000 fine to the Panthers and the $50,000 fine to the Steelers, as well as the loss of draft picks, was "significantly more severe than the figurative slap on the wrist that Carolina GM Bill Polian had predicted" (Len Pasquarelli, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/4). The ruling marked the first time in NFL history that a club has been penalized more than one draft choice for rule violations. The Panthers justified their actions by saying that they couldn't wait until the end of the Steelers' season to pursue Capers because of "potential competition from colleges" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/4).