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DAVID REMAINS A GOLIATH; PLAYER BOYCOTT OF NETS EARNS SCORN
Published November 2, 1998
FAME's David Falk plans to take a "more proactive role in ending the lockout," according to Mike Wise of the N.Y. TIMES. Wise: "It remains to be seen whether his presence will be divisive or helpful." Noting Michael Jordan's active role in last Wednesday's talks, Falk said, "I'd like to think Michael spoke up partly because of our conversation the night before." Falk said he told Jordan and NBPA President Patrick Ewing: "If I told you I bought four vacation homes around the world and realized that I could not reasonably afford all of them, and then I decided to raise your fees to 50 percent to pay for them, what would you tell me? You'd tell me, 'If you can't afford them, sell them.'" Falk would "not elaborate" on his threat to create a new league through his partnership with SFX: "I don't want to blow up what we've created in the way of progress, but when billionaire owners show they want to break the will of the players by direct economic power, then the players have a right to break their will, too. There are ways to exercise economic power" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/31). FROM THE LIP: In N.Y., Mike Lupica noted Falk's comments: "There may be worse phonies in sports than David Falk, but it is hard to come up with one today." Calling Falk a "cheap hustler," Lupica concluded, "There aren't many guys who can make you root for a sports owner. Falk can" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/1). On "The Sports Reporters," Lupica continued and said, "I just wonder how Michael feels about looking like a bobblehead doll for [Falk]?" (ESPN, 11/1). AND WHAT OF JORDAN? In Chicago, Bernie Lincicome calls Jordan "Air Hoffa," as he has become a "crusading union boss." Lincicome: "I can just see Jordan now, out there in those Southeast Asia shoe factories, sleeves rolled up, righting neglected wrongs. ... I am sure that just as soon as Jordan has secured the right of Kevin Garnett to be overpaid beyond reason and budget, he will get around to those Third World exploitees. A man can only do so much, and there are tee times to arrange" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/2). NBC/TNT BOYCOTT? In N.Y., Phil Mushnick calls the union's threatened boycott of the league's TV partners "kinda sad, given that NBC had spent years pandering to and promoting the players, even going to absurd lengths to protect their ugly sides from view. After the lockout, perhaps NBC should refuse to interview players who insist on appearing while wearing their endorsement logos" (N.Y. POST, 11/2). Also in N.Y., Bob Raissman called the boycott "a very dumb negotiating ploy that no one is taking seriously." Raissman: "The only logical reaction to this proposed interview boycott is to laugh" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/1). In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell: "You know this lockout thing is nasty when it threatens to break up Michael and Ahmad." Jordan: "I'm not saying that the players shouldn't give interviews. But I'm saying that they should remember what (the networks) did when terms were being negotiated" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/1). On "The Sports Reporters," Dick Schaap: "Does this mean Michael Jordan is no longer going to confide in Ahmad Rashad? How are we going to find out Michael's innermost thoughts without Ahmad's probing questions? How will journalism survive?" (ESPN, 11/1). SPONSOR FALLOUT? In Miami, Steve Wyche reported that "there is mounting speculation that high-paying sponsors are leaning on the networks to lean on owners to reach a deal so lost broadcasts are minimized" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/1).