SBD/14/Sports Society

MORRISON CASE HAS BOXING, OTHER SPORTS REVISITING HIV

     Heavyweight Tommy Morrison holds a news conference tomorrow
on his positive test for HIV (USA TODAY, 2/14).  In the wake of
the report, boxers and athletes in other sports, as well as
members of the media, are revisiting the issue of mandatory
testing for the HIV virus.
     OTHER "BLOOD SPORTS":  NHLPA President Mike Gartner noted
that most teams offer voluntary HIV testing, but he stopped short
of calling for mandatory tests.  Gartner:  "I don't think I'd
want to go that far" (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 2/14).  But Mark
Messier and Bernie Nicholls told the N.Y. POST they would welcome
testing.  Larry Brooks reports the NHLPA had presented a HIV-
drug-alcohol counseling program to the league as part of the new
CBA, but it was rejected by management "because of its projected
cost."  The NHL is currently developing its own plan (N.Y. POST,
2/14).  In Philadelphia, Timothy Dwyer writes, "Clearly it is
time for professional football and hockey players to begin
mandatory testing" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 2/14).  In St. Petersburg,
Gary Shelton notes the "safety" issue and urges the NFLPA and
NHLPA to "ask some strong questions of their memberships" (ST.
PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/14).  ABC's "Nightline" hosted the NBPA's
Dir. Michael Johnson, the CA Athletic Commission's Bill Eastman,
and NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci.  Johnson, on estimates that the risk
of transmission for NBA players is "one-in-a-billion":  "That's
essentially zero, and there's no activity that is absolutely zero
risk.  This whole idea about reassuring us that there's zero risk
and mandatory testing eliminates that risk, or any risk that
there would be, is really just not true" (ABC, 2/13).
     CHALLENGE FOR BOXING:  PA Boxing Commissioner George
Bochetto reports the "telephone lines have been more than hot"
among other state officials regarding testing (Jay Searcy, PHILA.
INQUIRER, 2/14).  Referee Mills Lane, who reports being "covered"
with blood after working a recent Morrison fight, said he went in
for a test.  Lane told the WASHINGTON POST:  "Your right to
privacy ends where my right not to be infected begins."  Michael
Wilbon writes, if boxing can't enforce mandatory testing
everywhere, "then it is a sport whose ruin will be accelerated
exponentially" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/14).  However, George Foreman
told the N.Y. DAILY NEWS that he would fight Morrison "tomorrow."
Foreman:  "If Tommy got cut, just stop the bleeding, bandage it
up, and let's go back at it. ... If Tommy quits, five years from
now he is going to wish he hadn't, just like Magic Johnson" (Ian
O'Connor, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/14).
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