SBD/21/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              AL President Dr. Gene Budig fined and suspended five
         Yankees and Orioles players for their part in the fight
         Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.  Orioles P Armando Benitez
         was suspended for eight games; Yankees P Graeme Lloyd and OF
         Darryl Strawberry for three games each; and O's P Alan Mills
         and Yanks P Jeff Nelson for two games each (AL).  Benitez
         and the Yankees players "waived their right to appeal,"
         while O's officials said Mills "will make a decision about
         whether to appeal later" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/21).
              REAX: In N.Y., Joel Sherman criticizes the length of
         the suspensions and writes that Budig "continues to have a
         blind spot for how important perception is in a sport that
         is constantly losing that battle," adding that it was "par
         for the course for him not to go the 10 miles from his
         midtown office to [Yankee] Stadium to be on hand last night"
         (N.Y. POST, 5/21).  On L.I., Shaun Powell: "This wasn't a
         beanball from Budig, this was a Beanie Baby. ... A month off
         the bench would have gotten an entire league's attention
         about the whole notion of beanballs" (NEWSDAY, 5/21).  
         Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner, on Benitez's eight-game
         suspension: "A month's suspension should have been the least
         he should have gotten" (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/21).  In N.Y.,
         Dave Anderson writes that as MLB "is still searching for a
         commissioner, it needs someone to rule on fines and
         suspensions in both leagues instead" of the league
         presidents (N.Y. TIMES, 5/21).  Also in N.Y., John Harper
         credit Budig's ruling, calling it "the first properly severe
         suspension that Budig has handed down" (DAILY NEWS, 5/21).
              LEAVING THE BENCH: MLBPA Associate General Counsel Gene
         Orza, on the suggestion that leaving the dugout/bullpen be
         an automatic suspension: "It can't be in our sport because
         there's only one player on the field against nine" (N.Y.
         TIMES, 5/21).  On ESPN SportsZone, Rob Neyer agrees with the
         dugout aspect, but writes that what is realistic "is a rule
         barring anyone from leaving the bullpen" (SportsZone, 5/21). 

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, New York Yankees, Walt Disney

              At the NFL owners meetings in FL, "most members" of the
         NFL Coaches Association (NFLCA) "quietly took part in a
         protest" before a coaching symposium was set to begin,
         according to Mike Freeman of the N.Y. TIMES.  The group of
         "about" 50 to 60 coaches, "upset with issues they say
         include race and age discrimination, as well as pension plan
         issues, staged a non-confrontational protest that could
         signal future labor unrest."  The members entered the
         symposium 15 minutes late on Wednesday morning "to show the
         league that coaches, particularly assistants, are unified
         and prepared to take on the league."  Among the coaches were
         Eagles head coach Ray Rhodes and former Raiders head coach
         Art Shell.  Also present was NFLCA Founder William Wallen,
         who said that 94% of the NFL's assistants are association
         members.  But NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the
         protest "bordered on silliness because we're well aware of
         their issues."  Tagliabue: "We've been talking to them; more
         than talking to them, we've changed a number of policies."
         He cited changes in the league's health insurance plan (N.Y.
         TIMES, 5/21).  In DC, Leonard Shapiro writes that the NFLCA
         members now face "a more important question: What next?" 
         Sources say the NFLCA "will not register as a union, but
         that a class-action lawsuit charging the NFL with age and
         race discrimination is being considered."  While coaches
         acknowledged the health insurance changes, they said other
         issues "have not been addressed" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/21).
              OTHER LEAGUE NOTES: NFL owners adopted a resolution to
         allow NFL teams to own AFL teams within their own markets.
         ...Kansas City's proposal to be considered to host the 40th
         Super Bowl in 2006 was rejected (USA TODAY, 5/21)....NFLPA
         Exec Dir Gene Upshaw said the league should make the new
         Browns franchise competitive as quickly as it can: "We are
         not going to punish an expansion team for being an expansion
         team.  It's not fair to the players, it's not fair to the
         city, it's not fair to the new owners, and it's not fair to
         the league" (BEACON JOURNAL, 5/21).  Panthers Owner Jerry
         Richardson: "We'll resolve it in a way that will give them a
         fair chance to compete.  Ours worked well" (SUN-SENTINEL,
         5/21)....Of the 52,000 PSLs sold for the new Browns
         franchise, about 10,000 are left, most of which cost $250 or
         $500 (BEACON JOURNAL, 5/21)....In San Jose, Sam Farmer
         writes that during the meetings, NFL owners "tiptoed oh so
         close to the issues troubling the 49ers, yet never treading
         on that delicate ground."  Tagliabue, on the fate of the
         team's $525M stadium/mall complex: "I really haven't spent
         enough time on it recently to feel comfortable that what I
         would say would even be accurate" (MERCURY NEWS, 5/21).

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Browns, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers

              Warriors G Latrell Sprewell sued the Warriors and the
         NBA yesterday, "seeking lost wages and damages stemming from
         what his lawyers allege as excessive discipline for
         Sprewell's attack" on coach P.J. Carlesimo last December,
         according to Jesse Barkin of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.  The
         suit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges the team and
         league "made several transgressions -- including a violation
         of Sprewell's civil rights, racial discrimination and
         violation of antitrust and unfair business practices
         statutes at the federal and state level."   Sprewell is
         "seeking as much" as $30M, which takes into account lost
         wages of $6.4M, plus court costs, legal fees and damages
         (S.J. MERCURY NEWS, 5/21).  The suit also states that the
         league "demonized Sprewell with a 'massive' public-relations
         campaign that made him a scapegoat."  Also named in the suit
         were parties "X, Y, and Z," which will be fill-ins for
         potential defendants added later.  Sprewell was not present
         at the press conference, but is scheduled to make a public
         comment "in the near future," according to his legal
         advisor, Robert Gist.  In S.F., C.W. Nevius writes that the
         "breadth and the scope of the suit had many observers
         raising their eyebrows, but few jumped on the bandwagon." 
         The NBPA issued a statement that it "has not endorsed this
         lawsuit and has advised Mr. Sprewell's attorney against
         bringing this action" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/21).  In a
         statement, NBA Exec VP & Chief Legal Officer Jeffrey Mishkin
         said, "This is a poorly disguised attempt by Mr. Sprewell's
         new attorneys to reargue claims that have already been
         rejected and put to rest by the arbitrator" (NBA).
              TIME FOR WAPNER: SI legal analyst Lester Munson said
         that Sprewell "is going to go 0-for-4 in this case.  His
         lawyers were sitting there at the press conference talking
         about punitive damages, treble damages, double jeopardy. 
         They misused almost all of these legal terms.  I think the
         outcome here is going to be that the NBA will not only win
         this case early but also Latrell Sprewell will end up paying
         the NBA's attorney's fees for getting this case dismissed"
         ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 5/20).  In S.F., C.W. Nevius writes
         that Sprewell's suit is "about revenge" and has "no chance." 
         Nevius: "This is a long longshot, and a play that a lot of
         major law firms wouldn't even begin to touch" (S.F.
         CHRONICLE, 5/21).  In Denver, Mark Kiszla writes Sprewell's
         suit is an example of the "sad tale of a professional sports
         league dying slowly at the hands of millionaires who are
         above the law. .... Sprewell isn't killing the NBA's
         integrity.  He's just here to bury it" (DENVER POST, 5/21). 
         In related news, George magazine named Sprewell one its 20
         most fascinating men in politics, saying he "finally set the
         bar for what the American public will tolerate from the
         modern pro athlete" (N.Y. POST, 5/21).
              PLAYERS WARNED TO CLEAN UP: In Seattle, Steve Kelley,
         under the header, "NBA Millionaires Continue To Act Anything
         But Civil," wrote, "Do the players really think the public
         is going to be on their side if owners follow through with
         their threat of a lockout?" (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/20). 

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