SBD/August 24, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

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  • Violence At Candlestick Part Of Troubling In-Stadium Trend For NFL

    The fallout from Saturday's Raiders-49ers preseason game at Candlestick Park, "marred by shootings and a horrific beating, is reverberating" throughout the NFL, according to Jay Paris of the NORTH COUNTY TIMES. The "severity of recent altercations -- on Saturday, a victim was knocked unconscious in a restroom, and there were two postgame shootings -- is raising numerous eyebrows." When safety is a "concern in the stadium or tailgating lots, that's problematic" for the NFL. Paris notes there are "families that have stopped going to Chargers games because of the unruly antics of a minority of patrons" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 8/24). SI.com's Don Banks wrote the NFL's "losing battle to promote the superiority of its in-stadium game-day experience suffered a not insignificant public relations setback with the outbreak of fan violence at the Raiders-49ers preseason game." Banks: "Perceptions matter, and anything that prompts more fans into staying home and plopping down in front of their HD widescreens, rather than joining the crowd at their local stadiums, isn't helpful to the league's efforts to compete with its own wildly successful televised product" (SI.com, 8/23). In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes, "It will be a while before local football fans shake the images, news dispatches and hospital reports surrounding Saturday night's exhibition at Candlestick Park. Before too long, though, the NFL has to awaken to an undeniable fact: The fans' viewing habits are changing. More so each year, people find their weekends better suited to home television viewing than a potentially nightmarish experience at the stadium" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/24).

    PART OF A BIG PROBLEM: Former 49ers President Carmen Policy yesterday said that the "beatings and shootings during and after Saturday's preseason game ... pose a serious risk to the NFL and its future success." Policy: "After Saturday, I heard so many people say, 'I'm not bringing my kids anymore.' That's horrible. That's a real problem for the NFL" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/24). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay writes under the header, "You Brought A Child To An NFL Game?!" The idea that it is "unsafe to bring the kids is unacceptable." Gay: "Here the weary sports skeptic asks: who brings a 4-year-old to an NFL game -- and a Niners-Raiders game at that? That stuff is for big boys only. You hear this about other games in other cities, too. Better to stay away. But that's a pathetic surrender. It can't ever be crazy to bring a kid to a sporting event" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/24). In Virginia, Bob Molinaro writes the NFL and its corporate partners "promote an image of fans as rowdy, beer-swilling Neanderthals, then they are appalled when the unwashed play out their assigned roles only too well." NFL on TV "provides a better show than what you get at the stadium" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 8/24). In Jacksonville, Scott Kendrick writes under the header, "Fan Fights Should Scare NFL." There is an "ugly side" to the NFL in-stadium experience. Kendrick: "Kind of makes you want to sit on the couch watching that high-def TV, doesn’t it? ... There’s no easy solution, but the NFL must address it. If not, more fans will be content to tailgate in their own driveways" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/24).

    FIRST RESPONDERS: Stadium security experts yesterday said that the 49ers' "swift response to fan violence" during Saturday's game "may not prevent future outbursts of unruliness but it was a reasonable step toward restoring confidence in stadium security." 49ers officials announced on Monday a "ban on post-kickoff tailgating, use of post-game DUI checkpoints, and enhanced police presence." In addition, 49ers President & CEO Jed York said that he "wanted the NFL to postpone next year's preseason game with the Raiders." DC-based Levick Strategic Communications Senior VP Jason Maloni said that the team "took appropriate action rather than imposing tougher knee-jerk reactions." Maloni: "It's far preferable than taking such draconian measures like raising ticket prices or cutting off serving alcohol after the second quarter at games" (AP, 8/23).

    SMART MOVE TO CALL FOR POSTPONEMENT
    : San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami said it "seems like a quick decision” to end the preseason series between the teams, but added, “There’s still blood on the asphalt outside of Candlestick." Kawakami: "Not bad to calm it down a little bit. Wait a year or two or three and see where this stands when things calm down a little bit.” Syndicated radio host Dan Patrick said, "If you're on the schedule against one another, got to have an afternoon game. And I’d have an early afternoon game” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 8/23). But in Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes, "Canceling the preseason series between Bay Area rivals, as York has proposed, is a reach. It's like stretching a bandage over an amputated limb." Voisin added, "We can't blame the Raiders this time. ... A thug is a thug is a thug. You can dress them in the black and silver of the Raiders or the scarlet and gold of the 49ers, but there is no disguising the fact that they remain a blight on the sports landscape and on society in general" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/24).

    IMPACT ON AN 18-GAME SCHEDULE
    : ESPN’s John Clayton reported the incidents Saturday night have "become a platform now for owners to start talking about going to the 18-game schedule." Moving to an 18-game schedule and "eliminating two preseason games pretty much limits the number of night games to two or three a week, knowing that the night games are predominant during the preseason.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and team owners feel the preseason “is way too long but the problem is, the players aren’t going for it because of safety.” The situation is “ironic” because there are “safety issues for the fans that are affected by the night games and the drinking and all those different things." But CSNBayArea.com's Ray Ratto said the idea that the incidents "wouldn’t have happened with an 18-game schedule is preposterous because one of the two exhibition games would still have been” 49ers-Raiders ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 8/23).

    GETTING POLITICAL: In San Jose, de Sa, Emmons & Rosenberg report Saturday's violence "had lawmakers talking tough on Tuesday." California Assemblyman Mike Gatto said that he "will draft a bill to enhance sentences for those convicted of fighting at sporting events." His bill also would "create a fund -- fed by $50,000-a-year donations from each of California's pro sports franchises -- that would pay for rewards when suspects are being sought." Gatto added that "his bill -- which comes late in the session and will need to be inserted into an existing piece of legislation -- will assist police in making arrests" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/24).

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  • Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson Discuss The New NFL CBA With PBS' Charlie Rose

    Jones (l) and Richardson (r) discuss CBA negotiations on PBS' "Charlie Rose"

    Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson, who played key roles in the negotiation of a new NFL CBA, appeared together on PBS’ “Charlie Rose” last night, with host Charlie Rose saying, “Most people will tell you that without these two people, there would have been no agreement.” Jones called the agreement “historic,” and said, “The thing that you can do is read the terms of the deal, but what you won't see is the kind of leadership that was involved from the owners' perspective.” Jones: “Everybody was certainly unified, and we all had one goal in mind and that was rather than before it goes over the cliff -- like we wish we had had done in this country 10 years ago -- make the changes now in the business model that will grow the pie, because it's too great a game. It's too great for our fans and it's a wonderful opportunity for everybody involved. And this deal accomplished that. To everyone's credit, it was a tough negotiated deal but … it also is structured in a way that causes the teams to do their part in growing the pie." More Jones, “It took a lot of effort. But to the players' credit and to their leadership's credit, everybody saw that if we would do certain things economically, it would mean the players get more money in the long run, which will be great for our fans.” Richardson said the negotiation among the owners “was a classic collaborative effort, unlike maybe any I’ve ever known in business.” He said, “We had 22 owners that entrusted their teams to a committee of 10 to represent them, and throughout the entire process -- it started in May of 2008 -- we were prepared financially, legally. … We were united and we were resolute. And some of us on the committee have gotten really more credit than we deserve. I haven't really heard much conversation about those 22 owners that had confidence to turn over us representing them.”

    RE-INVESTING INTO THE GAME: Jones said what was “important is that you have a plan in place that takes a big part” of the league’s revenue and “re-invests it back into the game -- new stadiums, specifically.” The deal “encourages and incentivizes teams” to invest in new stadiums. The players, by having a “bigger pie, will see that the role that clubs play, see that they have the incentive, they're making the investment, they're building the stadiums, they're putting together the sales teams that go out and generate revenue. That means more money for the players, and that's a healthier model” (“Charlie Rose,” PBS, 8/23).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL
  • League Notes

    NBA TV's Matt Winer reported while there are "no formal negotiating sessions planned" between the NBA and the NBPA, players are "meeting to discuss their issues amongst themselves." There are two more regional NBPA meetings “expected to happen in Chicago and New York this week" ("NBA Game Time," NBA TV, 8/23). SPORTING NEWS' Sean Deveney reports as the NBA lockout nears its third month, "there won't be meetings again this month." Since the lockout began in July, "there's been no progress," and there is a "sense that this is how the owners want it." Deveney adds, "Consecutive days? These guys can't even meet in consecutive months. ... So the summer drags on with no meetings and the key Labor Day date around the corner. The sides are no closer than when the lockout began -- and that's how the owners want it" (SPORTING NEWS TODAY, 8/24).

    THIS, BUD, IS FOR YOU: In Milwaukee, Michael Hunt wrote MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is "going to skate right through the next collective-bargaining agreement without the problems that gave the NFL a temporary PR shiner and threaten to radically change the NBA as we know it." MLB and the MLBPA are working toward a new CBA with the current deal expiring after this season, and "almost two entire decades of labor peace would put Selig on the Nobel shortlist if baseball weren't, you know, just a game." Hunt added, "The commish wants to limit the coin drafted players can earn, but I can't fault Selig for not going to the mat with the union on a salary cap. With the concessions baseball has gained, it's OK to let that one go, like a cap has really helped the Bucks. Baseball needs to get a handle on HGH and figure out a way to expand the playoffs with dignity and without tedium" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/21).

    USING YOUR HEAD: SI.com's Stu Hackel reported hockey player agent Kent Hughes believes that the recent class-action suit by former NFLers regarding head injuries could "have an impact" on the NHL. Hughes said the lawsuit "opens up a can of worms” for the NHL." He added, “I feel that the NHL will closely monitor what happens in the NFL." Hackel noted "should the NFL players lawsuit ultimately be successful, the NHL could also be the target of a similar lawsuit" (SI.com, 8/23).

    WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING: The Solheim Cup team members were announced Sunday night at 10:30pm ET on Golf Channel, and the net's Gary Williams said the timing was "awful" and a "blunder of the highest proportions." Williams: "The reality is at 10:30 on a Sunday night it not only gets caught in the wash of everything else in the world of golf, it gets caught up in everything in every sport’s headline on Monday morning. I can’t believe what a blunder that was on their part.” Golf Channel's Erik Kuselias said the LPGA is “fighting so hard for publicity, to give their athletes as much credibility and exposure as possible, 10:30 on a Sunday night to make a big announcement to me was a tough way to go” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 8/22).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
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