SBD/24/Franchises

LEGAL FIGHT WITH RAMS COULD BE LONG AND BLOODY FOR NFL

     The potential for a "lengthy" and "nasty" court fight
between the NFL and the Rams is examined by Thomas George in this
morning's N.Y. TIMES.  "You know the league doesn't want it,"
writes George.  But by voting down the Rams move to St. Louis,
their feeling "must be a strong one to opt for the courts rather
than allowing the move."  Rams President John Shaw said he saw a
group of owners forming to block the move because they "see the
opportunity we have and wish they had it.  Pure jealously."
Before the vote, the league reportedly played a tape of Rams
Owner Georgia Frontiere "passionately giving reasons why the
league had to right to prevent" the Raiders from moving in the
early '80s.  George writes the "crux of the matter" is whether
the league is treating Frontiere unfairly because she is a woman.
Shaw calls their chances for legal success "excellent" -- but
George adds, "So, too, are the chances for an ugly spectacle
during the NFL's most fruitful times.  And for plenty of blood"
(N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).  SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's "Scorecard" reports the
NFL "stands little chance of winning in the courtroom with the
argument it is currently making," but that keeping a team in the
L.A. market during a period of legal action is their "top
priority" (SI, 3/27 issue).
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