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NFL TAKES ITS CASE BEFORE CONGRESS ONE MORE TIME
Published February 7, 1996
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).