SBD/Issue 37/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • Adam Silver Confirms NBA Owners Seek To Impose Player Pay Cuts

    Silver Says CBA Proposal Included Reduction
    In Player Contracts, Cuts Going Forward

    NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver Friday confirmed that team owners are seeking to "roll back existing contracts, imposing a pay cut on all 450 players" as part of a new CBA, according to Ken Berger of CBSSPORTS.com. Silver offered "on-the-record confirmation that the NBA is looking to do to its players what the NHL did in 2005." Silver: "It's part of our proposal. It included a reduction of existing contracts in addition to a reduction of the maximums going forward." In addition, two sources said that the "across-the-board pay cuts sought by the owners were floated with a key caveat in their January proposal: If the players agreed to the rollbacks and ratified a new CBA in time for this season, the owners would have agreed to soften the blow." In other words, "if the new economic model sought by owners had been put in place a full year in advance, the pay cuts would've been less severe, and would have included the possibility of some grandfathering of existing deals." The "key condition was that the proposal needed to be adopted before the start of the monumental free-agent class that began on July 1, 2010." One of the sources said that it was "presented to the players as 'a carrot' to induce them to negate the possibility of a lockout." But Silver said, "The union's response to all of our proposal has been, 'No.' And as you know, they countered with a proposal that looks a lot like the existing deal."

    TOUCHY SUBJECT: Berger noted the "issue of across-the-board pay cuts is touchy and especially complicated in this case because owners in various places on the league's revenue spectrum aren't in complete agreement as to how to accomplish it." Under one model being proposed, it is "conceivable that some teams' payrolls will still exceed the hard cap even after the rollbacks." NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter "has been quiet of late on the labor talks, and the union so far has elected not to go as public with details of its proposal as league officials have." But that is "expected to change in the coming weeks, as the NBA's draconian ideas and cries of poverty become more and more incompatible with reality." Berger wrote, "After an otherwise remarkable first week of the NBA season, with TV ratings and interest soaring from coast to coast and from big markets to small, we are reminded once again how temporary all of it could be" (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/1).

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  • Bettman Says NHL Is Not Interested In Exploring Contraction

    Bettman Says Woes In Phoenix Do Not
    Mean The NHL In General Is In Trouble

    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said putting the idea of franchise contraction on the bargaining table is "not something we're interested in exploring," according to Nicholas Cotsonika of YAHOO SPORTS. NBA Commissioner David Stern last month suggested that contraction could be an option for the NBA, but Bettman said, "We don’t think it’s necessary in our case. We don’t think it’s appropriate in our case." He continued, "When a franchise is -- or a couple of franchises are -- in trouble, we can’t paint it with one broad brush. The fact is, where we are in Phoenix is unique to Phoenix. ... So I don’t see any reason for us to be discussing contracting." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly addressed low attendance for Coyotes games at Jobing.com Arena, saying, "With so much uncertainty surrounding the franchise, it’s unfair to test the market on the basis of where that franchise exists now. Obviously if we transition to new ownership and secure the franchise long-term in Phoenix, I think you’ll see a significant uptick in how the fans respond to the club." Bettman said, "To segue, I don’t see any reason why anybody who covers our game is focused at all on collective bargaining. I mean, we’re starting to get those questions. There are three other leagues that go before we do. We’ve got two years." Bettman said he and presumptive NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr have talked "periodically over the last few months." Bettman: "Really informally. I think he is probably waiting and would be more comfortable till the point in time where he’s officially the executive director. And from our standpoint, we really need for the union to tell us officially who we’re going to be dealing with." When asked if he had "discussed any concrete business" with Fehr, Bettman said, "No" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/29).

    GAME MISCONDUCT: THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell wrote the "culture of violence is still alive and well in hockey and it continues to be perpetuated and sold by the NHL." On NHL.com, fans "can view highlights of any number of fights in all their high-definition glory." Campbell noted an "unofficial count of the number of fights archived so far by NHL.com this season is 21," including an Oct. 9 skirmish that the website titles, "Clarkson Cleans A Clock." NHL.com notes how Devils RW David Clarkson "tries to inspire a flat Devils team in a third period slobber-knocker versus Jason Chimera." Campbell wrote what "makes all this even more insipid is that when Bettman talks about fighting, he frames it as a necessary component of an emotional game." The commissioner will "maintain the league does not glorify it or revel in it, but then allows fisticuffs to be displayed on its website for all to see" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 11/1).

    TIME TO TAKE A STAND: On Long Island, Arthur Staple wrote NHL GMs need to "take steps to punish players who use sexual slurs, especially those with homophobic connotations." The league last month suspended Islanders D James Wisniewski for two games after he "made an obscene gesture" during a game. NHL Dir of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said, "We don't want to become the morality police. It's up to the (general) managers to provide some guidelines." But Staple noted the NHL "already has guidelines on certain words," including a ban on racial taunts, so "why not sexual ones as well?" Staple: "Bullying of teens, gay and straight, has become the focus of national outrage, and the NHL would be wise to get in step with the movement" (NEWSDAY, 10/30).

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  • LPGA, Wegmans Extend Deal For LPGA Championship Near Rochester

    Wegmans Increases The Purse For The LPGA
    Championship To $2.5M For '11, Up $250,000

    The LPGA and Wegmans Food Markets announced that "they’ve agreed to stage the Wegmans LPGA Championship -- one of the tour’s four major tournaments -- for two more years at Locust Hill Country Club" outside of Rochester, N.Y., according to Jeff DiVeronica of the ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE. The grocery store chain has increased the purse for the event, scheduled for June 23-26 next year, to $2.5M, up $250,000 from this season. Only the U.S. Women's Open and Evian Masters, both $3.25M, "had larger payouts" this year. Wegmans assumed the title sponsorship "last year after McDonald’s ended its 16-year sponsorship and the LPGA struggled to find a replacement." Tournament officials "pitched a six-year deal to host the event but the LPGA agreed on a two-year extension" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 10/30).

    EVERY SEASON, TURN, TURN, TURN: In New York, John Pitarresi reported the PGA Tour and Turning Stone Resort on Friday announced that the event in Verona, N.Y., "will not return in 2011." Oneida Indian Nation CEO Ray Halbritter said that the "decision not to extend the Nation’s contract with the PGA Tour was based strictly on the inability to secure a preferred date." Halbritter: "We were given some dates that were possible, but those dates were not within the parameters that had been given to the PGA." Pitarresi noted the Turning Stone Resort Championship, played in October as part of the Tour's Fall Series "in its first three years, was troubled by severe weather, including cold, rain and hail in 2008 and 2009." It was held Aug. 5-8 this year, "opposite the Bridgestone Invitational, which involved the top players on Tour." Halbritter said that one date the Tour offered was "opposite the British Open, but he couldn’t recall the other." The event had been asking for a "date two weeks before or two weeks after a major tournament" (Utica OBSERVER-DISPATCH, 10/30). Golf Channel's Scott Walker said, "The event was well received by the players and provided a launching pad for past winners ... but the resort wanted its own date in the FedExCup schedule" ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 10/29).

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  • Retiring Tennis Player Believes Doping Is Taking Place In Sport

    Rochus Claims Use Of PEDs In Tennis Takes
    Place Despite Increased Drug Testing

    Retiring tennis player Christophe Rochus in an interview with Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure said that he "believes doping takes place in tennis and that he 'would not be against' the legalization of performance-enhancing drugs," according to TENNIS.com. Rochus: "There's a lot of cheating. Simply, people don't like to talk about it. I simply would like to stop the pretending. This hypocrisy is exasperating." Rochus noted that he "received a warning letter from the ATP after speaking out on the issue in the past." Rochus also "addressed past speculation that some sort of doping suspension was behind Justine Henin's sudden retirement in May 2008," from which she returned in January '10. Rochus: "I found it surprising, her sudden stop without apparent reason. Usually, champions like this announce several months in advance and do a sort of farewell tour" (TENNIS.com, 10/31).

    PASSING THE TEST? In Portland, Douglas Perry wrote, "Does tennis have a problem similar to the one that has upended baseball over the past two decades? I have no idea. What I do know is that tennis has one of the most rigorous testing programs in all of professional sports, to the point that players like Rafael Nadal have complained about it being overly intrusive." Perry added, "Is it a perfect system? No. ... But it appears to be a serious system, and tennis' powers-that-be have been straightforward" (OREGONLIVE.com, 11/1).

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