SBD/31/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              Rams President John Shaw testified on behalf of the St.
         Louis Convention and Visitors Commission in its antitrust
         lawsuit against the NFL, according to Tim O'Neil of the ST.
         LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.  Shaw said that the team "won a rich
         financial deal" because the league's policy against franchise
         relocations put St. Louis at a "huge disadvantage" in
         bargaining.  Shaw: "I felt St. Louis was at a huge
         disadvantage.  If they wanted a team, if they wanted the
         Rams, they basically had to give in to our terms."   Shaw
         said that he told St. Louis officials that getting the Rams
         would be "costly."  Shaw: "For the Rams to move, the deal
         would have to be incredibly lucrative for us."  Shaw added
         that at the time of the team's relocation from Anaheim, the
         league "proposed charging the Rams as much" as $100M.  He
         said that NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue told him the $7.5M
         relocation fee that the city of St. Louis was willing to pay
         "wouldn't be enough ... because the NFL television contract
         had more than doubled in value since 1988."  Shaw also said
         that "several other team owners told him they were afraid to
         move because of league pressures."  Shaw will continue to
         testify today (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/31). 

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL, LA Rams

              The NBA opens its season tonight with 14 games on its
         schedule and much of the media focus continues to be on the
         league's naming of its first two women officials and a N.Y.
         Times article from last Sunday on the drug and alcohol use
         among its players.  On Wednesday, NBA Commissioner David
         Stern and NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik discussed the
         state of the league in a conference call with the media.
              TWIN TOWERS: Granik, on if there will be a new "code of
         conduct" from the league for its players: "I don't think
         there's a new code of conduct as such, but I think we have to
         decide to become more aggressive with the players and our
         teams about reminding them what conduct is expected of
         players who are competing in the NBA."  Stern: "Asking our
         players to behave in a certain way, and asking our teams to
         behave in a certain way doesn't seem, to us, to be too much
         to ask. ... [W]e're going to be asking our players, our teams
         and ourselves to be a little bit more vigilant because there
         is an opportunity to lead."  Stern discussed revising the
         league's drug testing policy to cover marijuana.  He said he
         would like to discuss "the entire issue of marijuana and
         other things" with the NBPA, but, "frankly, we've been unable
         to get the players association to address that issue. ...
         [W]e're dumbfounded by the approach.  We think that there is
         an extraordinary opportunity for our current players to
         follow the leadership mold of those that preceded them and we
         also think that [NBPA Exec Dir] Billy Hunter does not voice
         the feelings or aspirations for sports that a very
         significant number of his players do. ... [O]ur goal is to
         ... cut down on the use of marijuana if its occurring. ...
         And it's a bad example for professional athletes to set.  But
         apparently Mr. Hunter has a different agenda, and we'll just
         have to see how that works out" (THE DAILY).  In N.Y., Mike
         Wise wrote that, "Within hours after Stern criticized the
         players association for its refusal to address the league's
         concern over marijuana use, Hunter fired off a scathing
         statement aimed at Stern's 'misrepresentation of the issue'"
         (N.Y. TIMES, 10/30).  In Tacoma, Dave Boling wrote that Stern
         gave a "[g]ood speech.  And frankly, I love Stern's tough
         talk.  And it's nice to think that such a visible enterprise
         as the NBA would rise to the forefront of this issue.  But
         few of us are going to swallow such a heavy dose of altruism
         when everybody knows the NBA is not in the business of trying
         to lead by example" (NEWS TRIBUNE, 10/30). ESPN's David
         Aldridge: "Marijuana continues to be a hot-button issue for
         the league and the players' union" (ESPN, 10/30). 
              NEW REFS: The league's appointment of Dee Kantner and
         Violet Palmer as the first women officials "is pure P.R.
         genius, a move that strikes precisely the right kind of chord
         in a society more sensitive than ever to gender equality,"
         according to Steve Bisheff of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. 
         Bisheff: "Not only is [Stern] more progressive and free-
         thinking, he also recognizes the immense public relations
         value attached to a move like this" (OCR, 10/30).  In S.F.,
         Gwen Knapp wrote Stern "went to the to hoop hard this week,
         throwing down an historic dunk, scoring big points for NBA
         public relations."  Knapp: "It was a power move,
         enlightenment as a marketing tool" (S.F. EXAMINER, 10/30). 
         An S.F. CHRONICLE editorial: "All we ask if that the league
         give these women a chance to succeed or fail on the merits of
         their work" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/31).  In San Jose, Ann
         Killion: "The NBA isn't in the business of losing
         credibility.  The same respect the league received when it
         launched the WNBA should hold here.  The thinking then was
         that the NBA wasn't going to pour money into a losing
         proposition.  The thinking now is that the NBA isn't about to
         turn itself into a laughingstock" (MERCURY NEWS, 10/30).  In
         Chicago, Bob Verdi: "If your initial response to the news
         contained a trace of skepticism, you were not alone.  We are
         always suspicious of big business and the NBA is a big
         business that prides itself on setting trends.  But I'm going
         to believe the NBA is sincere on this matter, that it's
         taking the high road, that Kantner and Palmer ... are at
         least as qualified as the male candidates" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
         10/30).  A HARTFORD COURANT editorial: "Critics who say the
         hiring is a move by NBA to get more publicity are
         overestimating the draw of officiating" (COURANT, 10/31).  
              OVERALL: In previewing the NBA season, Stefan Fatsis of
         the WALL STREET JOURNAL asks, "Will mounting labor tension
         make the league yearn for old-fashioned distractions such as,
         oh, Dennis Rodman kicking a cameraman? ... [F]ans might do
         well to shout the NBA's 'I Love This Game!' mantra now,
         because they may not like what happens in 1998" (WALL STREET
         JOURNAL, 10/31).  In Chicago, Michael Hirsley examines TV
         ratings for a post-Michael Jordan NBA: "A lot of casual fans
         have been drawn to NBA telecasts by Jordan's aura.  How many
         of them can connect similarly with potential superstars Grant
         Hill, Shaquille O'Neal, Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway or [Kevin]
         Garnett?  Who will want to 'be like Allen Iverson?'" (CHICAGO
         TRIBUNE, 10/31).  In S.F., David Steele: "It's the dawn of
         another season in the NBA.  And for the first time in years,
         the skies are dark, with forecasts of clouds for the
         foreseeable future" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/29).  In L.A., Mark
         Heisler: "Storm clouds are gathering over a league in which
         things have never been better and worse at the same time"
         (L.A. TIMES, 10/29).  In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz: "The NBA
         has problems. ... [T]he quality of play is eroding.  The NBA
         is shrewd at peddling stars, but in the rush to hype an
         increasingly artificial product, the league has lost
         substance" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/29).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, Seattle Storm, Walt Disney, WNBA
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