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Members of the NBPA begin voting today on whether or not to decertify the union. Ballots can be cast at NLRB regional offices around the country today and next Wednesday, September 7 (THE DAILY). AT QUESTION: The exact question players will face is: "Do you wish to be represented by the National Basketball Players' Association for the purpose of collective bargaining?'" (TORONTO SUN, 8/30). A "yes" vote keeps the union intact; a "no" vote decertifies the union. WORDS FROM THE TOP: NBA Commissioner David Stern: "We think the facts have finally gotten to the players. We expect a good turnout and a resoundingly positive vote for the union, the deal and the season" (David Moore, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/30). NBPA Exec Dir Simon Gourdine: "Now all we can do is wait for the votes to be cast and tallied. We've toured 17 cities in 12 days and talked with 99 players. As such, we've done our best to get our message across" (John Jackson, CHICAGO SUN TIMES, 8/30). Michael Jordan: "Because of the danger of not having a season, should we accept any deal that's proposed? I don't think that's fair for the players. We're using decertification to get the best fair deal. We're not striking here. We want to play" (Roscoe Nance, USA TODAY, 8/30). ANOTHER TWIST: Kings' guard Mitch Richmond has filed an unfair labor charge against Stern, alleging his statements threatening a cancellation of the season if the NBPA decertifies violate labor law. Richmond attorney David Odom, on Stern: "He's scaring the guys into voting against decertification, and that's illegal." NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik: "There have been no unfair labor practices committed by the NBA. It is simply a fact that the only way to assure the 1995-96 season will begin on time is a 'yes' vote in (today's) election" (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 8/30). GETTING CARDED: The POST's Asher also reports that NLRB New York Regional Director Daniel Silverman said players might be able to use their trading cards as identification for balloting. Silverman: "It has a signature on it and it has a picture on it. A reasonable argument could be made that it is sufficient identification and we likely would accept it" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/30). HOW'S IT PLAYING? Here is a round-up of many of the headlines players are reading in their hometowns this morning as they head to vote: Baltimore SUN: "NBA players begin decertification vote: effect is to approve or veto contract"; CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: "NBA Players to decide future of union"; CHICAGO SUN TIMES: "Both sides campaigning hard before NBA labor vote"; CHICAGO TRIBUNE: "NBA, union aim to get out vote on NBA labor situation"; DALLAS MORNING NEWS: "NBA players set to vote on decertification issue"; FT. WORTH STAR TELEGRAM: "NBA could be on its way to a certified mess"; HOUSTON CHRONICLE: "SIgns grow that union will survive: informal poll gives hope NBA to begin on time"; L.A. TIMES: "NBA Lockout: They'll approve collective bargaining agreement or decertify players' association"; Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE: "NBA players to vote to side with Stern or Jordan"; N.Y. TIMES: "It seems anyone's call as polls open today"; PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: "A day of decision in NBA"; SACRAMENTO BEE: "NBA's players head for the polls"; SALT LAKE TRIBUNE: "It's Stern vs. Jordan as NBA voting opens"; TORONTO SUN: "Polls open today for NBA players"; WASHINGTON POST: "Players vote on NBA union today"; WASH. TIMES: "Players to decide union's fate with trips to the ballot BOX."
The PGA Tour Tournament Policy Board voted yesterday to expand the number of tournaments available to "nonmembers" from five to seven, Because the Players Championship, the NEC World Series of Golf and the three U.S. majors do not count against the limit, the change will allow international players who are members of another circuit access to a total of 12 Tour events. The Board also has made it "easier" for graduates of the Qualifying School to get into tournaments, by reducing the number of spots reserved for PGA of America members, amending the medical exemption category and reserving the top 125 exempt list to Tour members only. These changes "should allow" all Q School grads the chance to compete in 26 or 27 events (N.Y. TIMES, 8/30).
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones expressed his views on the NFL's marketing and sponsorship system in a guest column in this morning's DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Jones opens, "The face of professional sports is constantly changing. My personal philosophy regarding change -- and progress -- is that innovation is not a spectator sport. You better be one of the group that is spearheading change and pushing the envelope." Jones continues by addressing his team's "recent moves in the areas of marketing and sponsorships." Jones: "Anything done by the Cowboys in the area of team marketing is done in a progressive spirit, with the intention of benefiting the entire National Football League." Jones adds that the "primary flaw" in current revenue sharing of NFL Properties "is that it eliminates the incentive for teams to go out and aggressively create marketing opportunities that are unique to their team and community." Jones: "Quite frankly, we can all do better at the local level." Jones writes that individual franchises "are much better suited to create their own unique marketing strategies than a central sales force that is located in New York City." EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW YOU LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN: Jones writes that he believes revenue sharing "is critical to the overall balance and success of a league. I also believe the time has come to modify some of the procedures we have in place for creating and distributing revenue." Jones notes that he is against changing the system in which television and gate money are split, and adds that the ticket revenue sharing system "has worked on the incentive plan," encouraging local teams to hustle "to put people in the seats" by rewarding them with 2/3 of ticket revenue. Jones: "I believe that each team could easily improve upon the 5 percent that is currently generated by NFL properties." BALANCE WILL REMAIN STABLE: Jones believes an incentive-based system "is not going to upset any perceived balance of power, it's only going to open untapped outlets of opportunity." Jones says "safeguards" could be established to help teams with "geographic or economic disadvantages in this new way of marketing." Jones: "The league is only as strong as our weakest team" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/30).