SBD/7/Leagues Governing Bodies

NFL TAKES ITS CASE BEFORE CONGRESS ONE MORE TIME

     In testimony during two previous hearings before Senate
committees on his request for antitrust legislation to restrict
team movement, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue "got a favorable
reception."  But yesterday in testimony before a House committee,
Tagliabue "met resistance," according to Richard Sandomir of the
N.Y. TIMES.  House Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde (R-IL):  "I am not
certain that legislation is necessary or justified in this case.
What is the compelling public interest here?"  OH Rep. Martin
Hoke, who sponsors legislation to protect cities from team that
want to leave, told Tagliabue:  "It is not that leagues can't
restrict team movement -- it is that they refuse to --and they
refuse to because it is clearly against the owners' economic
self-interest to do so" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7).  Hoke's bill would
give the NFL a limited antitrust exemption to control franchise
movement (WASHINGTON POST, 2/7).  USA TODAY notes Tagliabue was
met with "skepticism and hostility" (Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY,
2/7).  In Chicago, John Killian writes, "It was ambiguous as to
whether the billion-dollar dispute had moved any closer to
resolution" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/7).
     BIG DAWG HAS HIS DAY:  John "Big Dawg" Thompson, leader of
Cleveland's "Dawg Pound," also testified.  Thompson:  "Fans need
rights to protect themselves from men who park on runways in Leer
jets and wait for secret knocks to sign secret deals to take away
our children's opportunity to have the same investments in the
Cleveland Browns or any other football team" ("SportsCenter,"
ESPN, 2/6).
     NO ENCOURAGEMENT FOR SEAHAWKS FANS:  Tagliabue, asked if
there was anything he could say to reassure Seattle fans that
they would not lose their team:  "I've said what I'm going to say
about the Seahawks.  We're still gathering the facts. ... What
helps in these situations is some calm deliberations and analysis
of the facts and the methods to resolve them" (SEATTLE POST-
INTELLIGENCER, 2/7).
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