SBD/18/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • CFL SUSPENDS POSSE FOR SECOND TIME, ENDURES HEAVY CRITICISM

         While there were reports over the weekend that CFL
    Commissioner Larry Smith was engaged in last-ditch talks to save
    the Las Vegas Posse, it appears that the league is ready to go
    ahead with a "dispersal draft" of Posse players today (TORONTO
    SUN, 4/18).  On Friday, the CFL again suspended the franchise
    after efforts to sell the team to FL-based developer Norton
    Herrick and move it to Jackson, MS, again fell through.  Herrick
    pulled out after failing to convince local MS politicians to
    cover his estimated $3M annual loss.  Any further talks seemed
    directed at avoiding legal action.  Noting that the Posse is a
    publicly-owned company, Calgary Stampeders Owner Larry Ryckman
    said, "By law, it is our responsibility to say we did everything
    we could to sell the Las Vegas Posse.  The league is in a very
    tenuous situation with this public franchise."  One league source
    described the situation as "the worst mess the CFL has ever
    gotten itself into.  This is a serious problem -- a very serious
    problem" (Allan Maki, CALGARY HERALD, 4/15).
         TOUGH TIMES:  In Baltimore, Ken Murray writes, "The CFL was
    left with a huge credibility crisis and a shell of a franchise."
    In three years of U.S. expansion, the CFL "has made its share of
    clumsy mistakes."  But the "mishandling" of the Posse "could be
    the low point."  Robert Wanzel, a sports management instructor at
    Ontario's Laurentian Univ.:  "If we were bush league before, what
    are we now?"  (Baltimore SUN, 4/18).  In Vancouver, Kent
    Gilchrist writes, "Never before in the league that has been
    around since 1909 has it been exposed to the ignominy and
    credibility-sapping of the last month" (Vancouver PROVINCE,
    4/18).
    

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  • GRANTHAM OUT AS NBA UNION HEAD IN MIDST OF NEGOTIATIONS

         Late Friday afternoon, the NBPA and Charles Grantham
    released a joint statement announcing Grantham's resignation as
    NBPA Exec Dir.  The release cited "irreconcilable differences
    concerning matters of Association governance."  NBPA President
    Buck Williams said Grantham was leaving on "amicable terms."
    NBPA General Counsel Simon Gourdine will assume Grantham's
    duties, effective immediately (NBPA).
         WHAT BROUGHT IT ON?  Two sources close to the union told the
    N.Y. TIMES that the NBPA executive board "either ousted Grantham
    or allowed him to step down under pressure, mainly because he had
    failed to move along negotiations" for a new CBA.  NBPA Exec VP
    Charles Smith:  "After months and months of talking about the
    future, and what needs to be done, it just got to the point where
    we saw a difference of opinion and it wasn't going to change"
    (Mike Wise, N.Y. TIMES' 4/15).  In an interview, Grantham shed
    little light on the situation:  "I analogize it to a coach and
    his players.  When things don't go as you wanted them to for a
    long time, what do you do?  You get rid of the coach." Grantham
    "vehemently denied" that he had pushed for a work stoppage, but
    "admitted his proposals and vision, ultimately, were not going
    over with the union as well as they once had" (Mike Wise, N.Y.
    TIMES, 4/16).
         HOOP WRITERS REACT:  In New York, Peter Vecsey writes,
    "Common sense dictates something definitely went down the wrong
    wind pipe and it had nothing to do with Grantham's collective
    bargaining work.  Either Grantham did something funny or he lost
    a power struggle to Gourdine."  Vecsey suspects the former,
    citing word of "unnecessary trips at the union's expense" (N.Y.
    POST, 4/18).  In Chicago, Sam Smith writes, "The resignation is
    not considered good news for the NBA since Grantham was a more
    experienced negotiator, suggesting some hard-line players may be
    moving to a position of power, which would lead to uncertainty
    for the league" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/16).  Lacy Banks writes, "For
    the players to lose their top leadership in the middle of
    negotiations certainly is no show of strength" (CHICAGO SUN-
    TIMES, 4/16).  In Boston, Mark Murphy writes the move "would seem
    to indicate serious division within the ranks" (BOSTON HERALD,
    4/15).  Jackie MacMullan writes, "As the dust settles, league
    officials will try to determine whether the union was unhappy
    with Grantham because it thought his stance on the [CBA] was too
    hard or too soft" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/16).  In Dallas, David Moore
    writes the resignation "may change the tone of negotiations with
    the NBA, but it's not expected to change the substance" (DALLAS
    MORNING NEWS, 4/16).  In Denver, Mike Monroe writes, "What's
    clear is that something had to be very wrong inside the union for
    Grantham to leave before an agreement" (DENVER POST, 4/16).
         WHERE DO TALKS STAND?  In Washington, Richard Justice cites
    "various sources" who say Grantham's resignation "won't affect
    labor negotiations.  A deal apparently will get done during the
    playoffs and will include a rookie salary cap" (WASHINGTON POST,
    4/18).  In New York, Mitch Lawrence cites a union source who
    reports "some progress" and says that a union counter-offer made
    in the last month would "not change the landscape as dramatically
    as has been indicated."  Notes Lawrence, "In other words, a cap
    still will be part of the deal" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/15).
         OTHER QUOTES:  NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik released
    a statement praising Grantham:  "We have always maintained a
    productive business relationship with the union's leadership and
    are confident that this relationship will continue with the union
    under the direction of Buck and Simon" (Mult., 4/15).  One NBA
    official:  "It came right out of the blue.  We'd heard nothing to
    indicate there was a problem" (Richard Justice, WASHINGTON POST,
    4/15).  Mark Fleisher, a former member of the Agents Advisory
    Committee for the CBA and son of Grantham's predecessor, Larry
    Fleisher:  "By coming out so early and saying he wanted to put an
    end to the salary cap, and the draft, and restricted free agency,
    he boxed himself into a corner.  And, when he ended up shuffling
    back from that corner, he lost a lot of credibility, both with
    the league and with his own people" (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON
    GLOBE, 4/16).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA
  • HARD-LINE OWNERS PUSH FOR BALLOW TO STEP FORWARD

         While Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig continues to insist
    that Chuck O'Connor has not been removed as general counsel of
    the Player Relations Committee, he "acknowledges that his daily
    legal briefings are now conducted by Rob Manfred, formerly the
    PRC's No. 2 lawyer."  And with the  owners' legal strategy "under
    fire," Nashville attorney Robert Ballow "continues to move into a
    more prominent role" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 4/16).  Replacing
    O'Connor with Ballow will bring "the real war," predicts agent
    Tom Reich  (Peter Gammons, BOSTON GLOBE, 4/16).
         COLLUSION III?  MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said an
    investigation is under way to determine if owners are guilty of
    collusion in signing free agents since the strike ended.  Selig
    called the suggestion "so ludicrous it's hardly worthy of
    comment" (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY, 4/18).
         UNION BLACKLIST:  Fehr made the rounds of training camps
    providing players with lists of replacement players.  In Boston,
    Mike Shalin writes, "Do they really need to know?" (BOSTON
    HERALD, 4/15).  In K.C., Jonathan Rand writes the union "clearly
    has too much free time.  Last time anybody looked, there was
    still no collective-bargaining agreement" (K.C. STAR, 4/17).  In
    Cleveland, Bill Livingston writes, "It smacks of the blacklist of
    the McCarthy era" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 4/16).  MLBPA General
    Counsel Gene Orza said the union has informed all players that
    harassment or retaliation against replacements is illegal (Murray
    Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 4/18).  In New York, Bill Madden notes Fehr
    was telling the players they "won" the labor stand-off.  But
    Madden asks, "Won what?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/15).
         PRESSURING BUD:  USA TODAY's Hal Bodley reports members of
    MLB's Executive Council "tried again to twist Selig's arm" to
    become permanent commissioner.  While Selig again resisted, "if
    he thinks he can serve the game, he'll reluctantly accept the job
    -- as early as the owners' meetings in Minneapolis, June 6-8"
    (USA TODAY, 4/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
  • UMPIRES COME FORWARD WITH NEW OFFER; LEAGUES NOT IMPRESSED

         The MLBUA lowered their salary demands yesterday, but their
    new proposal was not enough for the AL and NL to consider ending
    their lockout of the umpires, according to Murray Chass in
    today's N.Y. TIMES.  MLBUA General Counsel Richie Phillips said
    the new proposal represents a 40% raise, down from 53% in the
    previous offer.  But management negotiator Robert Kheel
    disagreed, "saying the front-loaded nature of the increases makes
    the package far more expensive than Phillips portrays it."  The
    umpires propose a salary range from $90,000 for rookie umps to
    $265,000 for those with 30 years or more.  The owners have
    offered a 10% increase.  Kheel, on the latest MLBUA proposal:
    "We're very discouraged" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/18).
         LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:  Phillips said the umpires are not
    asking the players to honor their informational picket lines
    during spring training, but that "will change" during the regular
    season.  Phillips:  "We're going to ask the players not to cross
    those picket lines, not because we want to out them on the spot
    but because we feel compelled to do that."  MLBPA General Counsel
    Gene Orza said the players "have not resolved nor addressed" the
    issue of umpires' picket lines (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 4/15).
    Former umpire-turned Yankees TV analyst Steve Palermo said he
    would not work on MSG Network telecasts until the regular umpires
    return.  MSG Exec Producer Mike McCarthy said the network
    supports Palermo's stance (N.Y. POST, 4/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Madison Square Garden, New York Yankees, YankeeNets
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