SBD/Issue 245/Leagues & Governing BodiesPrint All
Tour De France Organizers Open To Allowing
Armstrong To Ride In Next Year's Race
OBSTACLES IN THE ROAD: Prudhomme "cautioned that anti-doping rules had become stricter since Armstrong last raced in 2005." USA TODAY's Sal Ruibal writes Prudhomme's comments are an "indication that Tour organizers are still suspicious that Armstrong circumvented doping rules during his seven-year win streak." Those suspicions "might also be an obstacle for joining" Team Astana, which was "banned from this year's Tour because of past doping offenses when it was under different management." Prudhomme has not indicated whether the team's ban would be lifted for the '09 race (USA TODAY, 9/11). The AP's Jerome Pugmire noted Armstrong's comeback plans "aren't being met with sweeping enthusiasm from the cyclists he hopes to race against." Team Astana cyclist Levi Leipheimer, who rode with Armstrong for one Tour while on the U.S. Postal Service team, "seemed soured by talk of riding with Armstrong again." Leipheimer: "I don't want to talk about it." Team QuickStep cyclist Tom Boonen: "Why is everybody so impressed? I'm surprised in a way that I don't know what he's got to win from it. If somebody feels like racing just let him race" (AP, 9/10).
Armstrong Hopes Comeback Will Boost
Ability To Raise Money For Cancer Research
TO RIDE OR NOT TO RIDE: The BBC's Tom Fordyce writes for "those who see Armstrong as one of modern sport's great heroes, it's the best thing that could possibly happen to a sport that has lacked household names and good news since he retired." If Armstrong "rides the Tour and loses, it might tarnish his proud record," and if he wins, it "throws an unflattering light over every other rider in the sport" (BBC.co.uk, 9/11). But in Baltimore, Childs Walker writes, "I wish Lance Armstrong would stay retired from professional cycling." Armstrong is "fighting a battle that goes beyond his competitive legacy, and it's one he cannot win." If Armstrong in the Tour "rides poorly, critics will say he's incapable of greatness under stricter drug testing." But if Armstrong "wins, they'll say he's still a master at beating the system." If journalists "dig up more dirt, true or not, his legacy will be further tarnished" (Baltimore SUN, 9/11).
SPONSOR LOYALTY: The WASHINGTON POST's Jenkins said of Armstrong signing with a team, "I'd be extremely surprised if he did anything that conflicted with his loyalty to Nike and to Oakley, because they were there when no one else was. Extremely. However, if he got the okay from them to go in a different direction, he's a cool enough businessman to do it" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/10). A Portland OREGONIAN editorial stated despite the "close relationship" between Armstrong and Nike Chair Phil Knight, the brand "never quite managed the art of marketing cycling shoes or apparel," and "few in the bike biz were surprised when, soon after Armstrong retired, Nike backed out of the cycling business altogether." However, Nike does produce a "Livestrong line of off-the-bike clothing from which all profits go to Armstrong's foundation for fighting cancer" (OREGONLIVE.com, 9/10).
LANDIS NEXT? In London, Brendan Gallagher reports Floyd Landis, who was suspended two years following testing positive for testosterone during his '06 Tour de France win, "intends to resume competing in February." Landis is "reportedly on the point of announcing details of a contract to ride with a team formed by the Momentum Sports Group." Momentum Team Dir Mike Tamayo: "We are in negotiations for 2009, but as of yet we have not signed a contract" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/11).
Bivens Says English-Proficiency
Plan Was Not An Official Policy
PLAYERS REACT: LPGA golfer Se Ri Pak, a South Korea native, yesterday defended the LPGA, saying that learning English "can benefit rising international stars." Pak said that it is "important for young players who don't speak English to learn it so they can discuss their successes on the course." Pak: "They're like hiding behind a shadow because they just can't talk and can't really get attention for it." Golfer Johanna Head: "When a player has won, they should be able to speak good English so they can communicate." Golfer Alena Sharp said that the policy "isn't to 'single out players,' and it was 'silly' for the LPGA to backtrack on it." Sharp: "Something needs to be done. I don't want to lose any more sponsors." But golfer Stacy Lewis said of the original policy, "I don't think it's fair because I think you should be out here based on your play, not what language you speak" (AP, 9/10). Paula Creamer said the penalty for players not learning English was “way too harsh” (Golf Channel, 9/10).
OUT OF BOUNDS: GOLFWEEK's Beth Ann Baldry notes the LPGA "calmed the storm by removing the teeth of its policy, but the story is far from over." The tour "has yet to disclose how it will evaluate players' English and what, if any, penalties might be assessed." Baldry: "It's yet another example of poor execution from [Bivens], who has ruffled more than her share of feathers in her three-year tenure" (GOLFWEEK, 9/13 issue). GOLF WORLD's Ron Sirak writes the "outrage since the LPGA revealed its plan for the English-proficiency requirement clearly was not what the tour expected, which raises the question: Why not?" Sirak: "There is no question language at times creates problems for the LPGA. But this matter could have been handled on an individual basis. ... Foreign money has played a major role in the LPGA's growth, and part of the price is cultural respect. That's the lesson here" (GOLF WORLD, 9/12 issue).
MOVING ON: In Boston, Jim McCabe writes the LPGA owes golfer Michelle Wie a "huge thank you." Wie in two weeks will attend LPGA Q-School for the first time, which has "led to talk about something other than the 'English proficiency' issue that was a public relations nightmare" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/11).
Goodell (r) Discusses NFL Issues In
Sit-Down With Brown On "Inside The NFL"
CBA NEGOTIATIONS: Goodell touched on the passing of NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw and the impact that will have on future CBA negotiations. Goodell: "We're working with our clubs right now to focus on what are the priorities for the ownership. What’s happened right now is our system is 60% of the gross, but the cost of generating that revenue continues to grow at a rapid rate and there’s no recognition of that. Second, there are a number of system issues that need to be addressed. Of course, into that falls the rookie pool. I think that’s something that we’ve been quite outspoken about. I think the last thing would be our retired players. We do believe that the retired players’ needs (have) to be addressed in a responsible fashion. They're the men that helped build the game and we owe a debt of gratitude and should be responsible to them.”
CUTTING PRESEASON GAMES: Brown noted preseason games are a "pretty profitable center" for team owners and asked if the owners agree on "reducing the number of preseason games." Goodell: “It’s something that we’re evaluating. I think everyone recognizes that the preseason, the quality of the preseason, is not up to NFL standards and that has been the focus that I’ve had with the ownership over the last year. I think there’s a recognition of that within the ownership. On the other hand, it’s something that I think we need to address for our fans. I think it’s not meeting those standards and our fans are asking us to address that, and make sure that it’s higher quality football" ("Inside the NFL," Showtime, 9/10).