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KTVT in Dallas/Ft. Worth announced it would not broadcast Rangers replacement games. The station, which becomes a CBS affiliate in July, has been the team's flagship station for the past 10 years and pays $4M a year for the rights. The move is seen as "the latest in an ever-deepening rift" between the team and station. KTVT tried to get out off its contract last winter because of potential conflicts with CBS programming, but the Rangers insisted on KTVT fulfilling the final year. Rangers President Tom Schieffer says the team "could seek another local outlet to televise the games or bring legal action in an attempt to enforce the contract." The Yankees and Blue Jays' local TV outlets are also refusing to broadcast replacement games (T.R. Sullivan, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/14)....In New York, new MSG President Dave Checketts met with Yankee officials about a "requirement" that MSG Network pay its full $46M rights fee payment for the season, even if replacement players play. Checketts: "I told them I want them to see this as a partnership, and we hope they resolve this" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 3/14).
Peter Vecsey, analyst on NBC's coverage of the NBA and a N.Y. Post columnist, said that NBC's decision not to cover the Reggie Lewis story during last Sunday's NBA coverage was based on a feeling that the article in question was a "speculation piece." Vecsey's colleague at the Post, Phil Mushnick, raised the issue of NBC's non-treatment of last week's Wall Street Journal story, which alleged that cocaine use may have caused Lewis' fatal heart condition. Vecsey, who made his comments on WFAN-radio's "Imus in the Morning" show: "The Wall Street Journal, which obviously does not have enough brokers and guys downtown on Wall Street that they can write about who are doing drugs, have to find a guy that's dead for two years and speculate about him doing cocaine." Asked what he thought prompted the Journal story: "[The Celtics are] retiring Reggie's number next week and I guess they felt it would be timely to sell some newspapers. To go after a speculation piece that had nothing new than what the Boston Globe wrote a year ago when it did a huge investigative piece ... there's no reason to go after this. Nothing was proved. I've covered this league almost 30 years -- you're telling me that two years after this guy's death I wouldn't hear one word from one player that he did drugs. I didn't hear it when he was playing, and I was around the Celtics all the time. I haven't heard it since. And nowhere in that story did they come up with anybody who said that they were with Reggie when he did it, that they heard about Reggie doing it. You can't keep these things a secret in the NBA" (WFAN, 3/14).