SBD/6/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              With the NBA's All-Star Weekend in New York, Stefan
         Fatsis of the WALL STREET JOURNAL examines the state of the
         league under the header, "NBA Bravely Plans For Post-Jordan
         Era."  The league's "shifting business strategy reveals an
         industry laying the groundwork for transition ... testing a
         pack of new players for stardom and renewing sponsorship
         contracts" before Michael Jordan retires.  In addition, the
         league is "undertaking projects deemphasizing the NBA brand
         [and] ... extending its international reach."  Although
         Bulls merchandise accounts for "nearly" 20% of total sales,
         with Jordan's jersey "far and away" the top seller, the NBA
         "maintains it can handle the ball" without Jordan.  Now, the
         league is working with licensees such as Champion to
         "identify which young players deserve the most attention." 
         Fatsis adds that NBC is "joining the game plan."  During
         last weekend's Bulls-Lakers broadcast, the network "hyped
         not Jordan but" Kobe Bryant (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/6).
              ALL-STAR NOTES: NBC's "Meet The Press" this Sunday will
         host Stern, Bob Costas, Jordan, Bryant, Tim Duncan and Keith
         Van Horn (NBAE)....NEWSDAY's Shaun Powell writes that this
         weekend's NBA festivities are "almost totally restricted to
         stuffy corporate types and sponsors," with only "a few"
         tickets made available to outsiders."  Powell expects that
         the Sprewell hearing will "spill over into the festivities
         and spoil the mood" (NEWSDAY, 2/6).  Also in N.Y., Karen
         Hunter writes an op-ed in the DAILY NEWS and criticizes the
         lack of tickets for the fans (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/6).

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bulls, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBC

              In day four of Martin v. PGA Tour, Ken Venturi, who
         during his win at the '64 U.S. Open "walked the course in
         100-degree heat with severe dehydration," testified that
         Martin "should not be allowed" to use a cart, according to
         Thomas Heath of the WASHINGTON POST.  Venturi: "It's
         changing the level of competition."  Arnold Palmer, Jack
         Nicklaus and Scott Verplank also testified yesterday as the
         Tour began its case, and all "agreed" that walking is "an
         integral part of tournament golf."  Nicklaus added that
         carts would "tarnish" golf's image on TV and would
         "reinforce the belief that it is a non-strenuous, country
         club activity."  While each witness said that they "admire"
         Martin, each said that his use of a cart would be "unfair"
         to other competitors (Thomas Heath, WASHINGTON POST, 2/6). 
              VENTURI TALKS: While questioning Venturi, Martin's
         attorney William Wiswall tried to establish that since
         Venturi won the '64 Open, the fatigue must not have affected
         him.  Wiswall: "The fatigue didn't affect you?"  Venturi:
         "It damn near killed me."  Verplank testified that he
         "benefited from" the injunction Martin was granted last
         year, which allowed players to ride a cart at the PGA
         qualifying tournament.  Verplank, who won the event: "I rode
         the whole week.  I felt great" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/6).  PGA Tour
         attorney William Malendon: "You're starting to see now what
         we believe this case is all about. ... It's about whether or
         not an organization such as the PGA Tour or [MLB] or the NBA
         can make the rules for its competition" (ESPN, 2/5).
              IF HE LOSES? ESPN's Jimmy Roberts said that PGA Tour
         Commissioner Tim Finchem and former USGA President Judy Bell
         will "perhaps" be the final witnesses.  Roberts reported
         that Martin said that "one of the reasons he may not appeal,
         is because he was told by [U.S. Senator] Tom Harkin that if
         he does lose, it is entirely possible that some action will
         be taken in Congress" (ESPN, 2/5).  But in L.A., Jim Murray
         warned against Congressional intervention and wrote it "has
         no business dictating how" the game of golf should "be
         played."  Murray: "The [ADA] is meant to give the disabled
         an opportunity.  It's not meant to give them an advantage. 
         If it is, it's unconstitutional" (L.A. TIMES, 2/5).
              THEIR WORST NIGHTMARE? Media reaction continues on the
         Martin case: In SI, Rick Reilly, on the Tour's stance:
         "Shame on them. ... Shame on every self-important and greedy
         Tour pro who won't budge an inch of tradition to fit in a
         spoonful of compassion" (SI, 2/9).  In K.C., Jeffrey
         Flanagan PGA Tour comes across as "nothing but a collection
         of predominantly white, wealthy, completely self-centered
         men incapable of envisioning anything beyond their own
         greed" (K.C. STAR, 2/6).  While a PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS
         editorial calls the Tour's stance a PR "disaster," it says
         it is "right to stick by its rules" (PHIL. DAILY NEWS, 2/6). 
              PUBLIC POLICY: A CBS SportsLine poll posted this week
         asked users, "Should the PGA Tour allow disabled golfers to
         ride in carts?"  Of 5,031 respondents, 63% said yes.  In a
         similar survey posted January 28, ESPN SportsZone asked
         whether the PGA Tour's stance on Martin was insensitive.  Of
         the 4,931 respondents, 55% said the Tour's stance was
         insensitive (THE DAILY)....Martin's trial was the subject of
         Thursday's "Talk Back Live" on CNN (2/5).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, NBA, PGA Tour, Sports Illustrated, USGA, Walt Disney

              NBA Commissioner David Stern spent "nearly" five hours
         yesterday being questioned as the Latrell Sprewell hearing
         "crept to a conclusion," according to David Steele of the
         S.F. CHRONICLE.  Afterward, with his "tongue loosened
         somewhat" following arbitrator John Feerick's "loosening of
         the gag order," Stern "spoke as if the stand taken by the
         league and the Warriors ... had a good chance of being
         upheld."  Stern: "I'm very comfortable with our actions. ...
         I feel comfortable that I have acquitted myself the way I'm
         supposed to."  Also yesterday, NBA VP/Security Horace Balmer
         testified for "more than" three hours, completing his
         testimony from Wednesday.  Steele writes that the league and
         Warriors "closed testimony with what appears to be a solid
         one-two punch" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/6).  USA TODAY's David
         DuPree reports that NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter said that his
         side was "confident of the outcome."  Post-hearing briefs
         are due by February 13, and closing arguments will be made
         February 16 in New York.  Following that, Feerick will have
         30 days to issue his decision (USA TODAY, 2/6).

    Print | Tags: Golden State Warriors, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA
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