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Volume 24 No. 117

Sports Media

     KTVT in Dallas/Ft. Worth announced it would not broadcast
Rangers replacement games.  The station, which becomes a CBS
affiliate in July, has been the team's flagship station for the
past 10 years and pays $4M a year for the rights.  The move is
seen as "the latest in an ever-deepening rift" between the team
and station.  KTVT tried to get out off its contract last winter
because of potential conflicts with CBS programming, but the
Rangers insisted on KTVT fulfilling the final year.  Rangers
President Tom Schieffer says the team "could seek another local
outlet to televise the games or bring legal action in an attempt
to enforce the contract."  The Yankees and Blue Jays' local TV
outlets are also refusing to broadcast replacement games (T.R.
Sullivan, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/14)....In New York, new MSG
President Dave Checketts met with Yankee officials about a
"requirement" that MSG Network pay its full $46M rights fee
payment for the season, even if replacement players play.
Checketts:  "I told them I want them to see this as a
partnership, and we hope they resolve this" (Richard Sandomir,
N.Y. TIMES, 3/14).

     Peter Vecsey, analyst on NBC's coverage of the NBA and a
N.Y. Post columnist, said that NBC's decision not to cover the
Reggie Lewis story during last Sunday's NBA coverage was based on
a feeling that the article in question was a "speculation piece."
Vecsey's colleague at the Post, Phil Mushnick, raised the issue
of NBC's non-treatment of last week's Wall Street Journal story,
which alleged that cocaine use may have caused Lewis' fatal heart
condition.  Vecsey, who made his comments on WFAN-radio's "Imus
in the Morning" show:  "The Wall Street Journal, which obviously
does not have enough brokers and guys downtown on Wall Street
that they can write about who are doing drugs, have to find a guy
that's dead for two years and speculate about him doing cocaine."
Asked what he thought prompted the Journal story:  "[The Celtics
are] retiring Reggie's number next week and I guess they felt it
would be timely to sell some newspapers.  To go after a
speculation piece that had nothing new than what the Boston Globe
wrote a year ago when it did a huge investigative piece ...
there's no reason to go after this.  Nothing was proved.  I've
covered this league almost 30 years -- you're telling me that two
years after this guy's death I wouldn't hear one word from one
player that he did drugs.  I didn't hear it when he was playing,
and I was around the Celtics all the time.  I haven't heard it
since.  And nowhere in that story did they come up with anybody
who said that they were with Reggie when he did it, that they
heard about Reggie doing it.  You can't keep these things a
secret in the NBA" (WFAN, 3/14).