SBD/15/Leagues Governing Bodies

ESPN'S MORTENSEN SAYS NFL "NERVOUS" ABOUT ST. LOUIS SUIT

          The NFL "is nervous and rightfully so," about the
     antitrust lawsuit filed by the St. Louis Business and
     Convention Bureau that is set to be heard in U.S. District
     Court on October 6, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The
     lawsuit is over the $29M relocation fee that NFL charged the
     Rams to move from L.A., of which the Visitors and Convention
     Bureau was charged $20M.  While the NFL has "made overtures"
     to Rams President John Shaw about settling, one St. Louis
     source said that "is a fruitless attempt because the Rams
     are not the litigant" and have "only filed a lien to collect
     against the NFL if a judgement is rendered in favor of St.
     Louis."  One league owner told Mortensen that the NFL "is
     irate with Shaw because, in a deposition, he accused NFL
     commissioner Paul Tagliabue of lying about circumstances
     regarding the Raiders' obligations on a move."  Mortensen
     adds that the "league is not confident about the case" since
     St. Louis "has a distinct home-field advantage."  While
     damages could be trebled, a court loss would also impact the
     NFL's relocation deals with the Ravens and Oilers.  League
     sources say that Ravens Owner Art Modell "will be a witness
     for the league [h]owever there is an agreement that the
     Ravens' deal will be modified on the exact terms of any
     settlement with St. Louis" (ESPN SportsZone, 9/14).

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