SBD/Issue 151/Franchises

Franchise Notes

In Jacksonville, Matt Dixon reports the Jaguars last season contacted U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) to "help avoid a television blackout" for their final home game, against the Colts on December 17. Ronnie Simmons, Brown's campaign manager, said, "They called and said it is their last game and sales were not going to be good, and asked her to buy a block of tickets." Simmons said that Brown bought tickets "with campaign money and gave them away to supporters and community leaders." The team would not comment on the matter (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/20). Also in Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote, "The level of desperation has reached the point where the Jaguars and the business community are begging people -- almost a step short of bribing -- to purchase season tickets." No NFL team has "ever done more off the field to earn the fans’ business" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 4/19).

Smith Says There Is Not Going To Be
Much Tolerance For Off-Field Issues

STEEL RESOLVE: Steelers officials yesterday informed players there will be "zero tolerance" in regard to any off-field misconduct. Steelers OT Willie Colon said, "We were told early this morning either you get in line or you get kicked out of line. ... There is a zero tolerance, not only with the NFL but with the Steelers" (PITTSBURGHLIVE.com, 4/19). Steelers DE Aaron Smith said, "After what we've seen go on, there's not going to be much tolerance for stuff around here" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 4/20).

EVERY ROCK HAS ITS THORN? In New Jersey, Al Iannazzone notes Rod Thorn yesterday gave the "strongest indication yet that he will return as the Nets’ president and said he would be in charge of hiring the new head coach." A new deal for Thorn will not be finalized until Mikhail Prokhorov assumes ownership, but "all signs pointed to Thorn returning." Thorn: "As of right now, I am. Until someone tells me differently, I am. But who knows" (Bergen RECORD, 4/20). Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ) "did not relent from his attack" on Prokhorov, stating in a letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday that "he has records of Prokhorov’s relationship with 'individuals and entities that have close ties to the Mugabe regime' in Zimbabwe" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 4/20).

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