SBD/October 8, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

What If I Came "Knocking"? NFL Owners Agree To Compel Teams To Appear On HBO

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Goodell and the league initially wanted a 10-game suspension for repeat HGH offenders
NFL owners at their meeting in DC today agreed to compel teams to take part in the HBO's "Hard Knocks" series, though with conditions. Teams that made the playoffs two years in a row, have a new head coach or were on the show in the last five years are exempt. Currently teams are not obligated to be part of the series, and the new process will only occur if no team volunteers. How those teams that are in the pool of eligible franchises are chosen for the series is unclear. Each spring and early summer, what team will go on "Hard Knocks" becomes almost a media parlour game (this year it was the Bengals). Many teams are hesitant to open their camps to HBO’s cameras. The series, produced by HBO and NFL Films, began in '01 but has taken some years off. The Bengals have done the series twice, also appearing in '09. The other teams are the Ravens ('01), Cowboys ('02 and '08), Chiefs ('07), Jets ('10) and Dolphins ('12). The NFL also this morning approved $62M in league funding for the Browns' stadium renovation project, which will cost $124M. The league approved club seat waivers for the Redskins' $27M in upgrades to FedEx Field, meaning money the team otherwise would have paid to the league from club seat it can redirect to the renovation. Owners also voted to approve the Vikings' new stadium lease for their venue set to open in '16 (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer).

LATEST ON HGH TESTING: NFL.com's Albert Breer cited a sources as saying that the NFL and NFLPA "haven't discussed HGH testing in two weeks, with talks at a standstill and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's power over non-positive tests remaining the lone significant sticking point." A league source said that the NFL "initially wanted a 10-game suspension for repeat HGH offenders, and the union wanted six." The league "agreed to go down to eight games but only if the commissioner retained his appeal power" (NFL.com, 10/7). Meanwhile, in DC, Mark Maske reported it is "not clear at this point how much support" a measure to reduce the NFL preseason and expand the playoffs would have if formally proposed by the league. A source said, "That remains to be seen. I think that's something that will take a while. It's pretty far down the road." Another source said that it is "possible but unlikely that the NFL would make a move to shorten the preseason in time to take effect next year" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/7).

WHAT'S IN A NAME? In DC, Vargas & Maske report NFL officials will meet with the Oneida Indian Nation, which is campaigning against the Redskins' name and "hosted a symposium" yesterday on the issue a mile away from the NFL owners meeting. Sources said that "no formal discussion" of the Redskins’ name is expected by NFL owners today. The sources added that they "sense little or no sentiment within the league to urge" Redskins Owner Dan Snyder to make a change. A meeting between the NFL and the Native American group is "scheduled for Nov. 22 at the league’s offices." But sources said that "it could be held sooner" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/8). In N.Y., Rich Lowry writes the "epicenter of the anti-Redskins resistance is editors of liberal Web sites and magazines like Slate and Mother Jones who have decided to banish the word from their football coverage." Lowry: "Needless to say, if you get your gridiron news from Mother Jones, you probably care more about the team’s labor practices and its carbon footprint than the performance of its positional units on any given Sunday." In the "consciousness of the nation’s capital, the Redskins exist somewhere between a beloved sports team and the object of a quasi-religious veneration" (N.Y. POST, 10/8).
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