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Maple Leafs President Ken Dryden "is determined to see fighting abolished" in the NHL, according to Marty York of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. Dryden: "I intend to start lobbying for it formally. ... As far as I'm concerned, the NHL should not be treating fighting as though it is part of the game. In my view, if an NHL player fights, he should be ejected, plain and simple, just as players in baseball or basketball are." Dryden said that he has "expressed his opinion to the NHL informally" at a recent meeting. Dryden: "There was a real difference of opinion in that room. ... Essentially, we've been programmed to consider constant fighting in hockey as if there isn't a choice, as if there is an inevitability to it" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/27). CHEERS FOR DISNEY: NHL Oilers President Glen Sather, on Disney's handling of Paul Kariya's holdout: "We're all watching it with a lot of interest. And I'm 100 percent behind the way [Walt Disney Chair Michael] Eisner and Disney are handling this. This is the function of the collective bargaining agreement. This is what we had all those negotiations and a lockout about" (EDMONTON SUN, 11/29).
In the dispute on the WTA Tour's player association board, a N.Y. Supreme Court judge has "issued a temporary restraining order," leaving the dismissal of former WTAPA Exec Dir Sara Fornaciari "intact but prohibiting the WTAPA board from taking further action." The two sides have held a "private meeting," and one source close to WTA management said, "They're making progress. The issue is going to go away in the next week or so" (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 11/27)....The NBA's drug policy was examined by Lynn Zinser of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. She called it "feeble front to back" with "no provisions for random testing, few provisions for testing anyone besides rookies and ... nothing to say about marijuana." She also criticized NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter for his "whining" after NBA Commissioner David Stern stated his wish to strengthen the policy. Zinser added that Hunter's "botched reaction to this is ... frightening" and said that with his moves, he has "stranded Stern on the high road" (DAILY NEWS, 11/28)....In noting the NHL's deals with CTV and Labatt Brewery, Tim Panaccio of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER wrote that "whether you agree with some of [NHL Commissioner Gary] Bettman's moves ... you have to give him credit for taking risks. So far, hockey has benefitted from Bettman's bold moves. ... Bettman has been aggressive in carrying out new identities for the NHL worldwide. In doing so, Bettman hasn't shown favoritism. Molson and TSN are still smarting over these deals" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/30).
The NFL has asked the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) to pay $527,474 as the league's cost of defending itself against the CVC's antitrust suit, according to Tim Bryant of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. As the winner in the suit, the league is "entitled to recover its costs of defending the case." The bill does not include attorneys fees. Among the expenses was $228,000 paid to MA-based consultant Franklin Fisher, who billed himself at $800-an- hour, and "outlined the NFL's defense" against the CVC. The league is asking the CVC to pay for computer rentals, copying expenses and issuing subpoenas and court summonses. The CVC "may dispute" the figures (POST-DISPATCH, 11/27). L.A. STORY: Columnist Randy Harvey called on City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas to give up his bid to bring the NFL back to the Coliseum and instead "support the Dodger Stadium area." Harvey said the Coliseum plan included "too many obstacles" and "most discouraging is that NFL officials have little enthusiasm for" the site (L.A. TIMES, 11/26). NOTES: The NFL's female fan-base was examined by David Adams of the AKRON BEACON JOURNAL. While "still dominated by men," females represent 43% of the NFL's fan base now -- up from 33% in '90 (BEACON JOURNAL, 11/28)....Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said the league is looking at "upwards" of a $10M increase in its '98 salary cap, boosted by a new TV deal. The '97 cap is $41.45M (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/27).