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Goodell (r) Only Commissioner To Support
Federal Legislation Requiring Testing Guidelines
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
Subcommittee Asks DOJ To Investigate
Whether Clemens Perjured Himself
Does Davis (l) Feel Waxman
Overstepped Bounds Of Inquiry?
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).
Fahey Says WADA Will Have Effective
HGH Test At Beijing Olympics
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).
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).
George To Pay Less Than $13.5M
To Acquire Champ Car Assets
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
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).
Baker Says ArenaBowl Will Return
To New Orleans This Season
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).