NFL NEWS & NOTES: DODGERS' O'MALLEY PITCHES FOR L.A. TEAM
Dodgers Owner Peter O'Malley said Friday that "he is willing
to be the driving force behind the return of professional
football to Los Angeles by building a new stadium on Dodger
Stadium property and 'possibly' owning an expansion team,"
according to the L.A. TIMES. A proposal endorsed by O'Malley
"received rave reviews during a meeting [last] week by owners on
the NFL Stadium Committee, who believe that a team could be
playing in an O'Malley-built facility by 1998." The TIMES notes
that the NFL has already made an exception to its cross-ownership
rules for Wayne Huizenga, and "it is believed they would make
another exception to accommodate O'Malley, whose history as a
stable, 'fan-friendly' sports owner is unmatched." One NFL
source predicted the league would endorse a Dodger Stadium plan,
but O'Malley is yet to meet with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
-- so no agreement is expected soon. The Committee makes its
recommendations to general ownership on September 19 in Atlanta.
The TIMES also reports that NFL sources say the Coliseum is not
an option, that Hollywood Park has fallen out of favor because of
the planned facility's "proximity" to gambling, and that Disney
Chair Michael Eisner "has yet to convice influential owners that
he is serious about bringing a team to Orange County." One
representative of Football LA, a mayorally-appointed task force:
"L.A. needs a hero, and Peter O'Malley can be that person"
(Plaschke & Simer, L.A. TIMES, 9/10). Officials in Anaheim were
"caught off-guard," according to the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. But
Tony Tavares, President of Disney Sports Enterprises, said of
their interest: "We are still interested in owning an NFL team.
We are going through the process in a businesslike way, through
the right channels" (Janis Carr, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/10).
CLOCK'S TICKING: MD Gov. Parris Glendening has sent a
letter to the NFL formally warning league officials "that if they
do not promise by December to move a team to Baltimore,
Maryland's offer to build a publicly financed stadium in Camden
Yards will probably disappear," according to the Baltimore SUN.
Maryland Stadium Authority Chair John Moag, to NFL owners: "You
need to be aware that the opportunity in Baltimore -- which is
currently the only turnkey opportunity for any NFL team in the
country -- is not going to be available a lot longer."
Glendening and Moag did not set a specific deadline (John Frece,
Baltimore SUN, 9/9).
APPAREL POLICE: ABC's Armen Keteyian reported on the NFL's
crackdown on dress code violations. NFL Dir of Player Devlopment
Gene Washington: "We have companies pay licensing fees to be on
the field and on our sideline. It's important to us that they
get full value." Cowboys QB Troy Aikman: "This has gone purely
beyond corporate advertising. It's ridiculous" ("World News
Sunday," ABC, 9/10).