SBD/Issue 111/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Print All
  • Sports Leaders, Congress Spar Over Government Role In Sports

    Goodell (r) Only Commissioner To Support
    Federal Legislation Requiring Testing Guidelines
    NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday during the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade & Consumer Protection hearing on performance-enhancing drugs in sports "took the lead, angrily speaking out of turn on several occasions to defend the rights of sports leagues to police themselves,'' according to Ben DuBose of the L.A. Times. In reference to the '05 hearing the committee held, Stern said, "Sports leagues have gotten it right in the past two or three years. Enormous progress has been made. This is an area where federal legislation is not necessary." But U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) responded, "If you all had gotten it right, we would not be here today." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was the "only member of the first panel who acknowledged support for federal legislation requiring the implementation of testing guidelines recommended in the Mitchell Report." The other seven members on the panel all "rejected that notion repeatedly" (L.A. TIMES, 2/28).

    GOLDEN STANDARD? Goodell said during the hearing, "We've been testing for over two decades and we think we're the gold standard of testing in professional sports. We have such a high standard that (legislation) wouldn't have an impact on us" (ESPNews, 2/27). However, USOC CEO Jim Scherr and USADA CEO Travis Tygart, who were part of a second panel before the committee, "disagreed with Goodell's assessment." Scherr, when asked by U.S. Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) how pro sports drug testing differs from Olympic procedures, said, "Their penalties are more lenient." Scherr noted that in pro sports, the "degree of independence and transparency is inferior and there are fewer no-advance-notice tests" (USA TODAY, 2/28). Tygart: "While the professional leagues' anti-doping policies have significantly improved over the past several years, they still fail to fully implement all the basic elements of the most effective programs" (Baltimore SUN, 2/28). When asked if he objected to having a drug-testing policy comparable to the Olympics, Upshaw said, “We feel that our program is better than the Olympics in many ways and I think we do what we feel is best for the players in the (NFL)” (ESPNews, 2/27).

    FUTURE PLANS: Committee Chair Bobby Rush (D-IL) said it was his “full intention to move a bi-partisan bill” about mandating drug-testing. U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX): “Let’s go ahead and get something into law that’s acceptable. It’s no fun having this hearing every two to three years when we have another scandal" (ESPNews, 2/27). Rush said after the hearing that it "might take months for the legislation to move through Congress -- perhaps until a new presidential administration takes over in January" (Baltimore SUN, 2/28). Tygart added the "issue of drugs in sport strikes at the very heart of the question of what role sport will play in America's future. USADA's interest in this discussion is driven by a motive to not only protect the rights of today's Olympic athletes to play drug free, but just as important to protect America's next generation of athletes" (AROUNDTHERINGS.com, 2/28).

    Subcomittee Interested In
    Talking With WWE's McMahon
    OTHER SPORTS: NTRA President & CEO Alex Waldrop was part of the second panel, and he said that he wants "all states to adopt mandatory steroid testing for thoroughbred horses by the end of this year." Thus far, only a "handful have done so." Waldrop: "If they don't step up, then it is incumbent upon the federal government to step up" (L.A. TIMES, 2/28). U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said that he "would not be opposed to legislation to compel states to ban steroids at horse races." Whitfield: "Is it time to call the federal calvary and send it chasing into your stables with guns blazing to clean up the sport of horse racing?" The Maryland Racing Commission said that it "hopes to have rules in place by next year cracking down on 'cheaters' who load up their horses with steroids." Meanwhile, Rush said he wanted to question WWE Chair Vince McMahon, who declined to attend the hearing because his attorney was unable. In Baltimore, Jeff Barker reports the committee "became interested in WWE" after wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife and son before hanging himself last year; steroids were found in Benoit's home (Baltimore SUN, 2/28).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • Committee Asks DOJ To Investigate Clemens' Steroid Statements

    Subcommittee Asks DOJ To Investigate
    Whether Clemens Perjured Himself
    The U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate whether Roger Clemens “made false statements under oath about his suspected use of steroids and [HGH], strengthening the possibility that he could be charged with perjury,” according to Sandomir & Schmidt of the N.Y. TIMES. In a letter signed by Committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ranking Minority Member Tom Davis (R-VA) and sent to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the committee said that it “could not definitively say if Clemens had lied under oath” during a February 5 sworn deposition and the February 13 Congressional hearing, but that it “believed that the [DOJ] should pursue the matter.” The committee “did not reach the same conclusion” about former Yankees trainer Brian McNamee, who testified along with Clemens two weeks ago (N.Y TIMES, 2/28). Waxman said that he and Davis “concluded that their committee did not have enough evidence to declare conclusively that a crime had not been committed by Clemens.” Waxman said that “all evidence will be turned over to the [DOJ].” Waxman: “That completes our work here” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/28). Sources said that IRS agent Jeff Novitzky, who “would be the lead agent” if the DOJ opens an investigation against Clemens, “already has a trip planned to Clemens’ hometown of Houston during the next week.” He has “already begun to investigate Clemens" and will meet with Jose Canseco "to discuss the infamous party at Canseco’s house in 1998” (N.Y. POST, 2/28).

    Does Davis (l) Feel Waxman
    Overstepped Bounds Of Inquiry?
    PARTY LINES: In L.A., Bill Shaikin writes the bipartisan letter “appeared to indicate that Waxman and Davis had resolved the wide divide during the hearing, in which Democrats largely challenged Clemens and Republicans generally confronted McNamee.” However, Davis “issued a subsequent statement in which he appeared to chide Waxman for overstepping the bounds of the inquiry” (L.A. TIMES, 2/28). The N.Y. TIMES’ Sandomir & Schmidt report in addition to the letter, an 18-page memo on Clemens prepared by Waxman’s staff was “distributed to the Democrats on the panel and was far more explicit in making a case against Clemens -- to the point where unhappy Republicans seemed to regard it as overkill.” U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said that the memo was a “‘tirade’ by Waxman.” He added the memo “shows that this was always about going after Clemens” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/28). Issa said that he “didn’t doubt that Clemens had perjured himself, but felt that the lies may not have been material to the larger issue of baseball’s steroid epidemic -- the original justification of the probe” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/28). U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) yesterday said he thought Clemens "was lying" despite indicating he believed Clemens' claims before the hearing. Towns: “Why would [Yankees P Andy] Pettitte, who is his close, personal friend, all of a sudden say we talked about (using HGH)? I don’t see (Pettitte) lying about that” (NEWSDAY, 2/28).

    JUDGMENT DAY: Waxman said Clemens' case was referred to the DOJ because the "contradictions and conflicts in what Clemens had to say, as compared to what others had to say” (AP, 2/28). U.S. Rep Stephen Lynch (D-MA) said that Clemens’ case is “different than the Miguel Tejada referral to the [DOJ].” Lynch also emphasized that the testimonies from Pettitte and McNamee were "not part of the letter” (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/28). George Washington Univ. law professor Jonathan Turley “counts four perjury charges and possibly one obstruction of justice charge -- all of which carry a maximum of five years in prison” (USA TODAY, 2/28). Although as a first-time offender, Clemens “would probably avoid doing the max” (N.Y. POST, 2/28). The DOJ “doesn’t have to act on a Congressional referral and can open a grand jury on its own to review the existing evidence” (MLB.com, 2/27). However, SI.com’s Michael McCann wrote the DOJ “will almost certainly honor the request and immediately commence a thorough investigation” (SI.com, 2/27). ESPN’s Lester Munson reported the DOJ “will probably decide this during the Bush administration. That means it has to be decided before January 2009. It will be up to (Mukasey) and his people in San Francisco and in Washington to decide what to do” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 2/27).

    TIES THAT BIND: In DC, Shipley & Maske note yesterday’s referral brings to six -- Clemens, Tejada, Marion Jones, Barry Bonds, Trevor Graham and Tammy Thomas -- the number of current or former pro athletes who “could face, or have faced, federal charged of lying about steroid or other drug use in connection with the five-year-old investigation into a steroid ring run by [BALCO]” (WASHINGTON POST, 2/28).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • WADA's Fahey Says HGH Test In Beijing Will Deter Drug Cheats

    Fahey Says WADA Will Have Effective
    HGH Test At Beijing Olympics
    New WADA President John Fahey yesterday predicted that the Beijing Olympics would be the "most effective yet in tackling cheats, thanks in part to the first effective test for [HGH]," according to Paul Kelso of the Manchester GUARDIAN. HGH is "thought to be the drug of choice," as it has been undetectable 24 hours after it was taken, but WADA said that the new test "has an effective window of more than two days." However, Fahey "acknowledged the scale of his task yesterday when he admitted that, in common with the other war on drugs, victory is improbable." Fahey: "The fight is more than likely never going to be won." But Fahey added, "The public are sick and tied of cheats. I think the opportunity we have right now is second to none. People are sick of the Marion Joneses. They want to pay their money to see a contest that is a true contest. There is enormous public support for us to succeed and that leads to more assistance coming from various sources. We have to inculcate young people with the belief that if they want to play sport they have to play it within the rules embodied in sport, and that includes fair play" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 2/28).

    A LITTLE HELP: Fahey said that WADA's annual $25M budget is "not adequate to address all the agency's activities," and he encouraged governments to "increase their financial contributions to further the success of WADA's fight against doping initiatives."  Fahey noted that since '01, the organization has only "been able to commit" $31M to research. He indicated that he "wants to replicate a U.S. initiative," as the USOC and the USADA have partnered with major sports to contribute $10M for "advancing WADA's research projects." Fahey also urged governments to "accelerate their ratification of the UNESCO convention against doping in sport, which allows them to adopt WADA's doping code." Under the revised anti-doping code, the IOC will accept Olympic bids only from those countries whose governments have adopted the convention and whose "national bodies comply with the code" (AROUNDTHERINGS.com, 2/27).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • Agent Schaffer Attempts To Organize Backing Of PGA Tour Union

    All-Pro Sports & Entertainment Principal Peter Schaffer "has been dialing his agent brethren in an effort to form the PGA Tour's equivalent of the [NFLPA], with the NFLPA willing to bankroll the venture in the early stages," according to GOLFWEEK's Forecaddie. Schaffer, who represents PGA Tour member Jonathan Kaye and "more than a dozen current and former NFL players ... has been calling in an effort to lure a reputable, highly ranked player to battle the drug issue." One agent contacted by Schaffer said, "It's the same reason why any union would try to get people involved in other unions -- to help with their own negotiations. Let's say the golfers unionize and they get a perk from the PGA Tour they don't have in the NFL or NHL. The NFLPA can then go back and say, 'Hey, we want this, too, or we're walking.' It's kind of like the way the mob unionized in the '60s" (GOLFWEEK, 3/1 issue).  

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • George Paying Less Than '04 Offer For Champ Car World Series

    George To Pay Less Than $13.5M
    To Acquire Champ Car Assets
    IRL Founder Tony George “will pay less to acquire the assets of Champ Car World Series than he offered in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2004, but his commitment to the unification of open-wheel racing still will cost him at least $30[M],” according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The actual amount of last week’s offer has not been revealed, but IRL Exec VP/Communications Fred Nation said it was less than the $13.5M George offered four years ago for Champ Car. George has agreed to supply all Champ Car teams joining IRL with two cars and an "engine lease that costs just under $1[M].” League officials are “expecting between nine and 12 cars to migrate to the IRL,” including two from Champ Car co-Owner Kevin Kalkhoven’s KV racing. In the new agreement, George also gets “all of Champ Car’s assets, tangible and otherwise, including its traveling medical center, trademarks and all historical documents.” George and the Champ Car owners “currently have only an agreement in principle; they don’t yet have a contract,” and Nation said that it is “one of the many things still to be finalized” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/28).

    TITLE SPONSOR: Just Marketing Founder & CEO Zak Brown, whose company is being retained by IRL as a consultant, said that “several companies have expressed an interest in the unified series and he anticipates announcing a crucial title sponsorship this season.” Brown said that he is “targeting financial institutions and electronics companies in the Fortune 1000 -- mentioning Bank of America, Panasonic and Sony -- for what he expects would be a $10[M] deal.” IRL Commercial Division President Terry Angstadt said of reaching a deal, “It’s very important because the title sponsor helps build the racing series and its profile (much like Winston did for NASCAR). It’s a must we get one” (SI.com, 2/28).

    RACE SCHEDULE: At a press conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway yesterday, George said that the Edmonton Grand Prix “would survive in his series for the time being,” but he confirmed the end of the Champ Car in Montreal. George: “What’s going to be key is not to disenfranchise anybody so all the best opportunities remain out there for us. Toronto is an event that was discussed. ... It falls into the category of one of those events that you don’t want to disenfranchise someone with that much history” (TORONTO SUN, 2/28). George also said that he hopes the Champ Car race in Surfer's Paradise, Australia, "could be added to 16 scheduled IndyCar Series races this season” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/28). The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Champ Car race will be “run as scheduled on April 20.” However, the race will feature just Champ Car drivers, as the IRL will race that same weekend in Motegi, Japan. Drivers competing in the Long Beach event will be “awarded points toward the newly combined IRL series championship” (L.A. TIMES, 2/28).

    Kalkhoven Looking Forward
    To Open-Wheel Unification
    BUILDING UNITY: George “dismissed the notion that he will be the sport’s sole leader.” George: “I’ve never considered myself that. You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I’m fortunate to have a lot of good people that I depend on and I’m going to have a lot more now. There’s plenty of wisdom, knowledge, experience out there to draw from to help lead the sport." Kalkhoven said, “I think we all recognize there have been issues in the past. It’s not really a time to be looking back, and the exciting thing today is that we are really looking forward” (ESPN.com, 2/27). IRL team owner Roger Penske: “A unified open-wheel series should really help galvanize everyone. Not only will all the teams and drivers benefit from being together, but it should create more opportunities for sponsors as well, and that means more marketing and promotion for the series” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/28).

    DRIVING AHEAD: ESPN.com’s John Oreovicz wrote it is “going to take time and effort to bring back the fans, sponsors and manufacturers who turned their back on the sport over the past dozen years. But for the first time in a long time in the IndyCar paddock, there is a genuine sense that it can -- and will -- be done” (ESPN.com, 2/27). Autoextremist.com Editor Peter DeLorenzo: “I think (the IRL) definitely can get a toehold. Will they ever recover from the 12 years of rancor and discord that basically handed the platform of American racing and the mainstream media to NASCAR? No. There’s no chance.” However, IRL driver Helio Castroneves: “We are not competing against NASCAR. We’re just a different type of racing. Now we just have good things to show everyone.” Champ Car driver Graham Rahal: “The way we look at it now is we’re not going to be a challenger to NASCAR right away, but certainly I think over time we can get back to that position” (SI.com, 2/28).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • AFL To Consider Single-Entity Ownership To Lower Costs

     
    The AFL is considering a "single-entity ownership structure, which league officials believe would help lower costs and attract investors," according to John Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The AFL, which posted a $24M operating loss in '07,  is now structured as a limited liability corporation, in which each team is "counted as a member of the corporation and operates independently." While the league has not finalized its proposed structural changes, they "could range from a simple consolidation of services to having league investors buying franchises from owners and forming a centralized operation." AFL Commissioner David Baker: "Clearly, we have grown. Franchise values have grown and we are reaching a point to where we are looking to centralize some services, work on profitability and grow in a way that is going to bring a different economic model. We have turned the corner from looking at each team as its own economic unit to looking at the league as an entire economic unit." Galatioto Sports Partners Founder Sal Galatioto said that one key to a successful single-entity league structure is "to give team owners independence." Galatioto: "As long as the team owners can run the franchise as they want and they get a share of the league, it can work. It is more of a way to keep operating costs down." While the league did not disclose the vote count among owners to approve the single-entity conversion study, Baker said that the ownership group is "now changing how it views the league's operations." Baker: "Our brand has begun to get some respect and our owners are becoming more interested not just in their own operations, but also in what the other guys are doing" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/25 issue).

    Baker Says ArenaBowl Will Return
    To New Orleans This Season
    BAKER, LIVE: Baker appeared Tuesday on ESPN2's "First Take" and talked about new impact indicators on helmets of AFL players that would help prevent serious head injuries. Baker: "Safety is always a big issue for us and the safety for our players is paramount." Baker also noted the Arena Bowl will be in New Orleans for a second straight year ("First Take," ESPN2, 2/26). Baker also recorded an in-arena announcement that will be played before all league games and taped an interview for ESPN2's AFL preview show, which will air tomorrow night (AFL).

    ESPN ANNOUNCING TEAMS: ESPN will televise 29 games this season, including 18 regular-season contests. Bob Wischusen will pair with Shaun King and Marcellus Wiley to form the net's No. 1 broadcast team. Dave Pasch and Joe Tessitore will also serve as play-by-play commentators, while Ray Bentley will also serve as an analyst (ESPN).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug