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Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner continues to criticize next year's schedule that would have his team play two, three-game series against the Mets: "If [MLB Commissioner Bud] Selig isn't careful, he will disintegrate the traditional rivalries of baseball" (N.Y. POST, 7/17)....Selig said he "supports" the idea of "someday" putting an MLB team in Mexico. Selig: "I like the idea. There's no question we have to take this game international in a myriad of ways. Does that mean putting a team in Mexico? Ultimately" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 7/16). CART NUMBERS: In Toronto, Gayle Macdonald examines sponsor support of CART's Molson Indy, which will be held this weekend and is expected to draw 170,000 fans. Although more than two-thirds of the spectators at the Molson Indy site are male, the "female participation rate is slowly growing." Of the men, 51% are in the 26-to-44 age group, and more than 35% of attendees make over C$75,000 a year. Macdonald: "All this spells major purchasing power, which has brought a new breed of sponsor" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/17).
About 1,400 Alan Eagleson-era NHL players will divide up a $1M fund taken from the former NHLPA founder, according to Brad Honywill of the TORONTO SUN. A trustee overseeing the distribution of $1M that Eagleson had to pay in restitution after a plea-bargaining agreement in a fraud case has announced that all players who were members of the NHLPA from '76-91 are "entitled to share equally in the recovered money." Split among 1,400 eligible players, the restitution "shrinks" to about $700 each (TORONTO SUN, 7/17). The maximum a player could receive is $1,400 and the minimum is $100 (Randy Starkman, TORONTO STAR, 7/17).
The U.S. World Championship basketball team arrived in Monte Carlo "virtually unnoticed Wednesday afternoon," according to Eddie Sefko of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE, who wrote that "with only [CBA], college and European-refugee players on hand, the U.S. entourage was greeted Wednesday by exactly one French sportscaster and one writer based in Nice, France." Sefko: "That, of course, doubled the American media horde following the U.S. squad" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/16). In Houston, Dale Robertson writes that the World Championships "should have nothing to do with the labor unrest in the NBA." But "some bucks might have accidentally trickled back through the international monetary system into the owners' pockets, and the players weren't going to stand for that" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/17). But NBPA VP Charles Smith is quoted in the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS as saying that NBA players wanted to play in Greece. He dismissed NBA Commissioner David Stern's comments that players "trashed" their country: "He wanted (fans) to take the 'rah, rah' position. ... [T]he players wanted to play. But then we were locked out. How can your employer prevent you from earning your pay, and then ask you to go make money for the organization?" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 7/17). WHERE'S THE RAGIN' CAJUN? CBS analyst Billy Packer tells USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke that the NBA "is like the Clinton PR team. The release said USA Basketball told NBC and Turner they can't carry the World Championships. But who canceled the TV coverage is basically David Stern." Martzke also quotes ESPN VP/Programming Dick Glover as saying that ESPN has "no intention" of televising games of NBA players during the lockout (USA TODAY, 7/17). SIX LOCKOUT TALES: In SI, MacMullan & Taylor write that "there are far more than two angles from which to view the lockout." In their piece, "Lockout Limbo," MacMullan & Taylor examine the lockout's impact in separate profiles of six people: a rookie (the 76ers' Nazr Mohammed), an established player (the T-Wolves' Tom Gugliotta), a journeyman (free agent Chuckie Brown), a GM (the Suns' Bryan Colangelo), an agent (Arn Tellem) and a fan (Bulls season- ticket holder Leslie Wright) (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 7/20). HELLO?? Midway through "Business Center," CNBC's Maria Bartiromo noted Michael Jordan's comments that he wouldn't play for any coach but Phil Jackson and described it as "breaking news." Bartiromo: "Breaking news now. While basketball superstar Michael Jordan is not saying for sure that he's retiring, he is saying today that we won't play for any other coach than Phil Jackson" (CNBC, 7/16). Jordan said he won't make an official announcement about his status until after the lockout, but as far as a possible retirement he said, "I'm pretty sure that's my decision" (Mult., 7/17).
The NFL "plans to talk" to Reggie White about a full- page ad in USA TODAY in which he spoke out against homosexuality while wearing his uniform, according to USA TODAY's Steve Hershey. NFL VP/Communications Greg Aiello: "No permission was asked for or given to use the Green Bay uniform. We feel that it is inappropriate for a player to appear in the NFL uniform in this type of ad." The ad was paid for by a coalition of 15 Christian groups. A Packers spokesperson said neither White nor any group asked the team's permission to use the uniform (USA TODAY, 7/17). FREE AGENT LEDGER: During the NFL's unrestricted free agency period, 113 veteran free agents re-signed with the old teams, while 113 signed with new teams. The Falcons and the Panthers signed the most unrestricted free agents from other teams with eight each. There were a total of 305 unrestricted free agents this year (NFL).