SBD/Issue 126/Leagues & Governing Bodies

League Notes

Onstad, Players Hope Strike Vote Will
Bring Different Dynamic To Negotiations

ESPN SOCCCERNET's Jeff Carlisle wrote the vote by MLS players to strike without a new CBA in place by the March 25 season-opener is the "clearest indication yet of the lengths the union will go to in order to obtain more guaranteed contracts, fewer unilateral contract options, and some form of free agency for out-of-contract players." Dynamo G and player rep Pat Onstad: "We can say we're unified all we want, but for guys to put pen to paper, it was a good sign of solidarity. We're a long way off from getting a deal done, and we're not going to play soccer until the CBA is changed. We think it's very unfair, and we feel it needs to be a fair contract before we sign it." He admitted the MLSPU hopes the strike vote will bring a "different dynamic" into negotiations (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 3/12). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "If MLS players strike, will anyone notice?" He added a strike is "not a good idea for them because nobody will miss them, and it's possible when they want to come back, the world will have moved on" ("PTI," ESPN, 3/12).

BIGGER ISN'T ALWAYS BETTER: In Detroit, Chris McCosky reported NHL GMs last week "shot down a proposal" from Islanders Owner Charles Wang to "have a mini-tournament for the eighth and final playoff spot in each conference." Wang's proposal was to "have the teams that finish eight through 15 in each conference play a week-long tournament to decide the eighth-place finisher." The No. 8 seed, which "actually earned a playoff spot, would have to win it again, starting with the No. 15 seed and working back through the field." McCosky: "Having a mini-tournament at the end of the regular season would completely take the starch out [of] these final weeks of the regular season. Teams would just position themselves for the play-in tourney" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/13).

A GROWING DEBATE: In New Jersey, Bob Klapisch noted last week's diagnosis that Mets SS Jose Reyes has an "over-active thyroid" has sparked speculation about possible HGH usage, which is "why the players association needs to drop its tone-deaf opposition to HGH blood tests." If Reyes is "indeed innocent, he’s precisely the type of athlete who could benefit from this screening." But MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner Saturday said, "Blood testing is much more complicated in terms of the safety issues." Klapisch wrote that is "another way of saying the union would rather wait for the more-easily administered urine test, knowing that’s years away from being implemented" (Bergen RECORD, 3/14).

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