SBD/29/Leagues Governing Bodies

PHIL GRAMM GETS IN THE MIX TO BRING FOOTBALL BACK TO HOUSTON

     U.S. Senator Phil Gram will bring NFL Commissioner Paul
Tagliabue to Houston today to begin talks "aimed at easing the
testy relations between the city and the league," according to
John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  The two will meet with
Mayor Bob Lanier and Harris County Judge Robert Eckels.  A "key
to the discussion" will be U.S. Rep. Martin Hoke's (R-OH) Fan
Freedom and Franchise Protection Act, currently before Congress.
That bill would require leagues to restore teams to abandoned
cities within five years.  Gramm has been "unwilling to support
the bill," but an aide said he might change his mind if Houston
does not get a team to replace the Oilers (HOUSTON CHRONICLE,
5/29).  In Nashville, Rep. Ed Bryant (R-TN) said he has had talks
with GOP House leadership and believes the Hoke bill will be
"quickly killed" (Penny Bender, Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/24).
     NEWS & NOTES:  ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports, in addition
to a $500,000 fine for any contact between an owner and another
city over relocation, other sanctions, including the loss of
draft picks, could be levied ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/28).  In
Baltimore, Vito Stellino writes in his column ("Tagliabue's no-
move edict has no teeth") that the Commissioner "seems to have
forgotten that action speaks louder than words" (Baltimore SUN,
5/26)....In Tampa, Nick Pugliese writes "straw polls" at the
latest NFL meetings in Charlotte showed that "old-guard owners
still have enough votes to block changes" to the league's cross-
ownership policy -- "hardly good news" for the Dolphins' Wayne
Huizenga or the Seahawks' Paul Allen (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/26).
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