SBD/14/Leagues Governing Bodies

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         There was no meeting between suspended Nuggets guard Mahmoud
    Abdul-Rauf and NBA officials yesterday, as reported. Instead, the
    league reiterated its position on suspending Abdul-Rauf
    indefinitely over his refusal to stand for the national anthem,
    while Abdul-Rauf released a statement clarifying his position
    (Mult., 3/14).  This morning's DENVER POST quotes one Abdul-Rauf
    "confidant," who says, "The statement may have been step one.
    And I look for step two to happen today.  I think he will say
    something that will get him back to playing basketball."  Should
    he comply, "it may be because he was convinced to change his
    position by other prominent Muslims" (DENVER POST, 3/14).
         UNION REAX:  The NBPA will file a grievance against the NBA
    over Abdul-Rauf's suspension, according to the N.Y. DAILY NEWS.
    NBPA Acting Exec Dir Alex English: "The rule the league relies on
    was not agreed to in collective bargaining, but was imposed by
    the league unilaterally in an operations manual without any input
    from the players" (Curtis Bunn, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/14).  More
    from English:  "I feel that the action the NBA took was a little
    premature and a bit strong.  We could have dealt with it in a
    different way" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/13).
         ANOTHER MUSLIM PLAYER WEIGHS IN:  Hakeem Olajuwon disagreed
    with Abdul-Rauf's interpretation of the Koran in regards to
    nationalism.  Olajuwon:  "In general, Islamic teachings require
    every Muslim to obey and respect the law of the countries they
    live in. ... Islamic teachings is to worship none but God, but
    you respect the flag.  You respect and honor America.  That is
    what is distinguished, between worshipping and respect" (HOUSTON
    CHRONICLE, 3/14).
         OTHER MUSLIM REAX:  Howard Univ.'s Sulayman Nyang:  "The
    mainstream scholars are clear that you honor the country you are
    in, as long as the country protects you" (Larry Witham,
    WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/14).  Colorado Muslim Council's Mohamad
    Jodeh:  "Where he gets the interpretation not to stand, I don't
    know" ("World News," ABC, 3/14).
         LEGAL ISSUES:  Asked if the case is a freedom of religion
    case, Duke Law Prof. John Weistart notes the constitution does
    not apply because the government is not involved.  Weistart said
    league-union relations is the "forum" in which the matter should
    be resolved because it allows the matter to be talked over in a
    "private, non-public way" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/13).  Attorney
    Kevin Baine, of Williams & Connolly, said Title 7 of the Civil
    Rights Act is the pertinent statute, not the First Amendment.
    The "significant question," according to Baine, "is whether the
    NBA is unable to reasonably accommodate Abdul-Rauf's religious
    beliefs without undue hardship" (Ken Denlinger, WASHINGTON POST,

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         NFL owners "don't have a lot to show for their four days of
    meetings at the plush Breakers Resort and Beach Club," according
    to Paul Domowitch of the PHILA. DAILY NEWS.  NFL Commissioner
    Paul Tagliabue did approve the experimental use of instant replay
    during the '96 preseason, and "the league will experiment with it
    unofficially during the regular season."  Domowitch notes if they
    are "satisfied," replay could return in '97 (PHILA. DAILY NEWS,
    3/14).  But Thomas George of the N.Y. TIMES notes some owners and
    coaches understood if the pre-season experiment worked, it could
    be implemented in '96 by a special vote.  Tagliabue "insisted"
    that was not the case (N.Y. TIMES, 3/14).
         LOOSE ENDS:  The "hot-button issues" of franchise free-
    agency and revenue sharing were left unresolved, and Tagliabue
    noted he would convene a special meeting in April to vote on the
    Oilers move.  In Washington, Leonard Shapiro notes the owners did
    "virtually nothing."  Bills Owner Ralph Wilson:  "I'm exhausted
    and we didn't do anything."  Asked why the league had yet to
    address franchise relocation, Tagliabue said -- "somewhat
    testily" -- "It's like [Giants GM] George Young says, 'You want
    me to have peace in Bosnia, but you work out the details'"
    (WASHINGTON POST, 3/14).  A "disgusted" Bucs GM Rich McKay:
    "This was a typical NFL owners' meeting" (Tim Panaccio, PHILA.
    INQUIRER, 3/14).  Wilson: "Call us the National Floating League"
    (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/14).  Asked if he was going to
    Cincinnati to lobby for the tax increase before Tuesday's vote on
    a new facility for the Bengals, Tagliabue said, "Not that I'm
    aware of."  This "fueled speculation" the league wouldn't mind
    seeing the Tuesday sales-tax vote fail, allowing the Bengals to
    move (Bart Hubbuch, Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 3/14).
              TALK TURKEY:  Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt "unexpectedly re-
    opened" the issue of the Thanksgiving Day game, including the
    discussion as part of his bid to have conference championships
    played at neutral sites and to expand the playoffs from 12 to 16
    teams.  A questionnaire was given on the Thanksgiving contest,
    asking owners their thoughts on rotating or adding a game.  Lions
    COO Chuck Schmidt was "upset" with the timing (Mike O'Hara,
    DETROIT NEWS, 3/14).
         NEWS & NOTES:  NFL spokesperson Joe Browne said the league
    expects to house Browns' records and memorabilia in a trust at
    the Hall of Fame, while the team awaits a new owner (Akron BEACON
    JOURNAL, 3/14)....The Cowboys are likely to play the Chiefs in
    the American Bowl in Monterrey, Mexico, this August.  The Cowboys
    will also play the Oilers in Orlando during preseason.  The
    Citrus Bowl is paying each team $1M for the appearance (DALLAS
    MORNING NEWS, 3/14).... Dolphins Owner Wayne Huizenga "cleared a
    major hurdle" on cross-ownership when the Finance Committee
    recommended changing the policy.  The Committee suggested owners
    be allowed to control more than one pro franchise as long as the
    teams compete in the same market (MIAMI HERALD, 3/13). ....San
    Francisco's "pullout" as host of the '99 Super Bowl is expected
    to be finalized this week.  S.F. Mayor Willie Brown is expected
    to ask for 2002 (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/14).

    Print | Tags: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Edmonton Oilers, Kansas City Chiefs, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Miami Dolphins, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Wilson Sporting Goods
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