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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 201: THE SCOTTSDALE TALKS
Published February 28, 1995
Negotiations resumed at the home of acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig in Scottsdale, AZ. The "civility" seen during two days of talks in Milwaukee continued, but neither side wished to characterize any progress in the dispute. The MLBPA delegation includes MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr, MLBPA attorney Lauren Rich, and players Paul Molitor, Terry Steinbach and Jay Bell. The owners are represented by Selig, Red Sox CEO John Harrington, Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris, Braves President Stan Kasten and management attorneys Chuck O'Connor and Rob Manfred. In L.A., Ross Newhan reports that Fehr left his hotel with Rich and McMorris "for what was suspected to be a clandestine session out of the media spotlight" (L.A. TIMES, 2/28). ESPN's Bob Sirkin reported the union believes "that before management is really ready to make a deal, they will first have to witness the failure of exhibition and regular season games using replacement players" ("SportsCenter," 2/27). THE SHADOW: White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf was at the hotel on the grounds, but did not participate. Reinsdorf: "I live here. They brought the talks down here and it would be rude if I didn't come over and say hello." Murray Chass writes that people on both sides believe the timing of Reinsdorf's comments last week, in which he said Fehr had a "pathological hatred" of ownership, "was more than coincidental" and that Reinsdorf might have been sending a message to owners "that they shouldn't get soft now." One management source says that Reinsdorf claims to have nine owners pledged to block a settlement they don't like (N.Y. TIMES, 2/28). In Washington, Mark Maske reports speculation that the comments were a "plot by Selig and Reinsdorf to irritate Fehr and ruin any chance of a settlement. Others guessed that Selig had split with Reinsdorf and now desperately wants to reach a compromise" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/28). One "union-friendly agent": "I think Jerry's throwing grenades at the end trying to save his coalition" (Dave van Dyck, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/27). MEANWHILE, BACK IN WASHINGTON: Murray Chass examines the likely fallout when NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein issues his decision on the unfair labor charge against the owners. People on both sides expect Feinstein to issue a complaint against the owners and to seek an injunction forcing the clubs to restore the rule that existed before they implemented their salary cap. A complaint would lead the NLRB and the owners to court, with a judge's ruling possible by March 15. A court- approved injunction would bring the players back, and face the owners with the decision whether to lock the players out and risk being liable for back pay plus interest (N.Y. TIMES, 2/28). MEAN GENE: MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza, who called Special Mediator William Usery "senile" during the last round of talks, was not in Scottsdale. Rather, Orza was running meetings with minor-leaguers in FL and AZ (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/28). Orza, on criticism of the union position: "Oh, come now, minor-leaguers are being asked to do something terribly different than in the past. Minor-leaguers would not be in camp under normal circumstances" (Paul Sullivan, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/28).