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SBD/15/Law PoliticsPrint All
Mayors or representatives from 12 NFL cities met in Cleveland yesterday for a conference on franchise relocation. In Chicago, John Kass compared them to "desperate members of a self- help group." Despite talk of unity, "they didn't deny that they would grab another city's team if their own clubs left" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/15). Today, the mayors hear from NFL Chief Counsel Jay Moyer on antitrust law, from NFL President Neil Austrian on league finances, and from legal experts on retaining franchises (Pat Yasinskas, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/15). CHICAGO: Mayor Richard Daley, currently in heated talks with the Bears over threats to move to Gary, IN, said he disagreed with the idea of petitioning Congress to give the league more power over relocation. Daley said he would want the option of seeking a team should the Bears leave, despite any league stance. Daley proposed punishing teams that break leases by requiring them to pay taxpayers for any public investment (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 12/15). Daley's comments on the Cardinals replacing the Bears "underscored the difficulties the mayors had in presenting a united front" (John Kass, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/15). CLEVELAND: Mayor Michael White, the host of the conference, again denied city officials have talked with the Bucs on moving to Cleveland (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 12/15). HOUSTON: Mayor Bob Lanier said he believes Houston will be an NFL city again after this "turbulent period" ends. Lanier also proposed the NFL consider sharing all revenues, including skybox fees and stadium naming rights deals (John Williams, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/15). TAMPA: Mayor Dick Greco: "At some point, somebody is going to pay $192 million for a team and have no place to go." Columnist Martin Fennelly writes, "The only sobering moment came when they turned all the mayors upside down and shook them by their feet. A hundred Malcolm Glazer business cards fell out" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/15).