SBD/Issue 102/Leagues & Governing Bodies

League Notes

Writer Calls Smith Radical
Departure From Upshaw
In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell writes amid all the "good times and luxurious parties" in South Florida last week ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl, there was a "cloud of labor gloom." At the NFLPA's press conference on Thursday, it was "important to observe that there was something different about the man standing up there on the stage in front of a room full of reporters and television cameras." NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith "used this first time in the full national spotlight to essentially present his opening argument on the most high-profile trial of his professional life: the NFLPA vs. the National Football League." The public "hasn't seen anyone quite like Smith in the pro football labor battle before," as he is a "radical departure" from late Exec Dir Gene Upshaw. As Smith "made his rounds with the media" last week, "you could tell that he will present a fascinating and personable foe in the public forum for the telegenic commissioner, Roger Goodell" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/9). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said the biggest offseason storyline in the NFL is the labor situation, and fans in '11 are "going to be looking at a league that wants to reset the economic model that they're working with." Wilbon: "There could very likely be a lockout and therefore, ultimately replacement games" ("PTI," ESPN, 2/9).

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: SI.com's Ian Thomsen wrote of NBA labor talks, "The truth is that no one can be sure what the negotiations between owners and players will bring. As much as many owners may wish for a hard cap with no allowance for a luxury tax or other vehicles that provide extra money to players, a hard cap will include aspects they won't like. For one thing, it will be harder than ever to make a trade if every team's payroll is bumping up against the impenetrable ceiling of a hard cap" (SI.com, 2/5).

SNOWED OUT? MLS and the MLS Players Union had a CBA session scheduled for tomorrow in DC, where the union is headquartered, but it may be postponed due to the severe snowstorm there, according to a source. The MLS CBA expires on Friday, after which time players could strike, the league could lock them out or the two parties could agree to continue bargaining. The agreement was originally set to expire on January 31, but both the union and the league agreed to extend it until Friday (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal).

BUILDING THE SCHEDULE: The number of LPGA events this season is down from 34 in '08 to 25 this season, and golfer Paula Creamer said of rebounding from the lost events, "It's all about the sponsors and the relationships we have with them. If you don't have sponsors, you don't have events. I feel like those relationships have been hidden under the radar, whereas they need to be more of the 1-2 priorities in our commissioner's eyes." Creamer said new LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan "understands the corporate world," and his vision "seems right on track with what" the tour needs (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 2/8).

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