SBD/April 25, 2013/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman yesterday announced that "new efforts are in place with the NFL to make sure that players currently in the league and those about to enter the NFL in this week's draft are protected from discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation," according to Bob Glauber of NEWSDAY. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he "met with Schneiderman to discuss the situation last week, and that the attorney general had agreed with him that the NFL's policies are sending the right message to both players and teams" (NEWSDAY, 4/25). In N.Y., Judy Battista noted Schneiderman's office "asked for a meeting with league officials to discuss the matter and after those meetings, the NFL decided" it would send out an information sheet reinforcing the policy "in the next few weeks." Goodell in the information sheet makes "perhaps his strongest public statement on inclusion regardless of sexual orientation: 'Discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation is not consistent with our values and is unacceptable in the National Football League'" (NYTIMES.com, 4/24). Schneiderman said that the NFL will "display posters in locker rooms that communicate the league's anti-discrimination rules, and all 32 teams in the league will undergo training, including the people involved in hiring and recruitment." REUTERS' Atossa Araxia Abrahamian noted the NFL also will "improve methods for reporting harassment and will check in periodically with the attorney general's office to track its progress" (REUTERS, 4/24).
INTERNATIONAL APPEAL: In Atlanta, Michael Cunningham notes after a "record five international prospects were selected" in last year's NFL Draft, "as many as five could be selected in the first two rounds" this year. The league's efforts to "market the game around the world could get a boost from this recent group of foreign-born players." The "top international prospects" are DE Ezekiel Ansah (Ghana), DE Margus Hunt (Estonia), DT Jesse Williams (Australia), DE Bjoern Werner (Germany) and OT Menelik Watson (U.K.). The group is "unique among international players because all are highly rated prospects, and none are kickers." The "common thread among all except Werner is their rapid rise from football novices to legitimate professional prospects." Still, it is "not clear if the recent influx of international players in the draft is the start of a long-term trend." Most of the "top foreign-born prospects in this NFL draft stumbled into football from other sports" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/25).
MIXED MESSAGES: FOXSPORTS.com's Alex Marvez noted former players from "all 32 franchises will announce second- and third-round picks" tomorrow night at the NFL Draft, and nine of them are "among more than 4,100 former players suing the NFL for head injuries allegedly suffered during their playing days." By participating in draft proceedings, they are "welcoming college players into a league they claim was negligent in diagnosing concussions and head trauma during their own playing days" (FOXSPORTS.com, 4/24).
MLS Commissioner Don Garber last night said the league will likely have an announcement on an expansion franchise in the next 4-6 weeks. Garber tipped his hand that it could be the long-expected announcement of a franchise that will play in Queens. Speaking to reporters at halftime of a Toronto FC-Impact match, Garber said, "We continue to negotiate with the city of N.Y., meet with local and political folks and community leaders to get support for the stadium we hope to build in Flushing Meadow Park. We are deeply engaged with potential ownership groups" (Christopher Botta, Staff Writer). SOCCER AMERICA's Paul Kennedy notes N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also hinted at a decision while speaking at the MLB All-Star Game press conference. Bloomberg said, "Hopefully, we're getting close to announcing a new soccer stadium here in Flushing Meadow Park." Kennedy notes the comments from both Garber and Bloomberg come two days after a "forum of New York mayoral candidates to succeed Bloomberg at which none of the nine candidates would say they were 'solidly' for or against the stadium" (SOCCERAMERICA.com, 4/25).
IN THE CITY? In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald reported EPL club Manchester City is the "leading candidate to operate MLS' 20th franchise," and would pay a $100M expansion fee to "take that team to a new stadium in Queens." Exactly when the team would "begin playing in MLS isn't clear yet." Manchester City will be in N.Y. at the end of May to "play a friendly against fellow Premier League power Chelsea at Yankee Stadium," and there will be "a lot of ears perked up to see if an announcement gets made at that time" (PHILLY.com, 4/24).
All England Club Chair Philip Brook has "given the clearest indication that the four grand-slam tournaments have 'done their bit' by agreeing to extravagant increases in prize money" and that the ATP and WTA "need to make a greater contribution to the future welfare of their players," according to Neil Harman of the LONDON TIMES. Brook said, "The grand slams now account for almost half of all the prize money in professional tennis and the hope is that the rest of the sport will step up now and follow the lead set by Wimbledon and the other three slams." Harman writes after "a year of munificence" with prize money increases at the Australian Open, the French Open and the U.S. Open, it is "time for someone else to pick up the slack." ATP BOD rep Justin Gimelstob has been a "leading advocate for a greater spread of the wealth from the grand slams and recognizes that his own organisation must respond in turn." Gimelstob yesterday said, "I am probably as proud of what we have achieved with our partners at the grand slams as anything in my career. But I agree 100 per cent that we now have to look to our own backyard" (LONDON TIMES, 4/25).