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Volume 24 No. 159

Leagues Governing Bodies

     Charlotte Motor Speedway will put up a track-record
$3,563,794 in purses for its seven days of racing in May,
culminating with the NASCAR Winston Cup Coca-Cola 600.  Speedway
founder Bruton Smith is on a tour of 20 cities in 13 states and
Europe to promote a second issue of stock in Speedway
Motorsports.  This issue is for 3,100,000 shares (CHARLOTTE
OBSERVER, 3/13)....As reported yesterday, MLB licensing money was
distributed at $14,000 a player, well under previous years.
Baseball economist Andrew Zimbalist notes the drop is due to the
fact the MLBPA is reserving a large sum for their work stoppage
fund and that licensing revenue was down around 40% last year due
to the strike.  Zimbalist expects the cut to be back at $100,000
this year (THE DAILY)....Promoter Jose Venzor has filed suit
against Don King and Julio Cesar Chavez, alleging the two
conspired to fix a fight last October (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/13).

     In the current issue of SI, 18-year LPGA Tour veteran Muffin
Spencer-Devlin speaks openly about her lesbian lifestyle.  In the
wake of last year's Ben Wright controversy, the responses from
tour officials "sounded like spin."  SI's Garrity & Nutt note,
"That's because the issue of lesbians in golf has usually been
framed in terms of their perceived impact on the LPGA."  LPGA
President Vicki Fergon:  "I applaud Muffin.  I'm not saying every
player will be thrilled about it, but we're a family and we
respect each other."  LPGA Tour Commissioner Jim Ritts:  "I don't
think I'm naive, but I don't have any concerns about this."
Spencer-Devlin said rumors that small network TV audiences and
open dates have something to do with perceived lesbianism on tour
had nothing to do with her decision.  Spencer-Devlin:  "I'm not
anybody's mouthpiece and I don't want to be perceived as such."
Spencer-Devlin, who plans to exchange vows in May with composer
Lynda Roth, says lesbians are a "minority" on the tour.  Spencer-
Devlin is sponsored by MET-RX, USA Inc. (a food supplement
manufacturer), and Callaway Golf.  Callaway President Don Dye:
"If it doesn't interfere with her ability to hit a golf ball and
she continues to show the kind of integrity that she clearly
does, she's our kind of spokesperson."  The piece adds, "To the
LPGA any unpleasantness surrounding the coming out is outweighed
by the benefits of having a face to put on its lesbian
community."  Ritts:  "When you label someone with a single word,
a stereotype gets attached, and the individual's real qualities
get clouded" (SI, 3/18 issue).

     Nuggets Guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was suspended by the NBA
without pay for refusing to stand during the playing of the
national anthem.  Abdul-Rauf:  "My beliefs are more important
than anything.  If I have to give up basketball, I will."  Abdul-
Rauf said due to his Muslim religion, he does not believe in
recognizing nationalistic ideology.  Calling the U.S. flag a
"symbol of oppression, of tyranny," Abdul-Rauf added, "It's clear
in the Koran, Islam is the only way.  I don't criticize those who
stand, so don't criticize me for sitting.  I won't waver from my
decision."  Abdul-Rauf meets with NBA Commissioner David Stern in
New York today to discuss the issue (John Mossman, WASHINGTON
POST, 3/13).
     REAX:  Charles Lyons, President of Nuggets' parent company,
Ascent Entertainment, supports the league.  Lyons:  "The NBA's
rule on this point is very clear."  But Shaquille O'Neal, a
college teammate of the former Chris Jackson at LSU, backs his
friend:  "It isn't dishonorable.  Mahmoud is Muslim, and you have
to respect that.  Chris is a good person.  He's not a butthole"
(Colorado Springs GAZETTE-TELEGRAPH, 3/13).  Nuggets teammate
Dikembe Motumbo:  "They should have known that Mahmoud never
participated in that.  It's like the man be coming in your house
and be sleeping with your wife and you don't know"
("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/12).  TNT's Ernie Johnson:  "I don't
think the NBA wants a political or religious -- or any kind of
situation on its hands -- that might divide it" ("NBA on TNT,"
3/12).
     LEGAL ANALYSIS:  ABC Legal Editor Arthur Miller, from this
morning's "Good Morning America":  "This is not completely
irrelevant to the business of basketball.  The business of
basketball is pleasing fans, and if it a characteristic of fans
that they are patriotic, that they want respect shown to the
flag, it is quite reasonable for the employer to say, `We want
you to show that type of respect.' ... The question is if there
is a legitimate business purpose to be insistent by the league
that the rules be obeyed.  That's a very delicate question.   I
can see a judge or a jury saying, `Look you can't have absolute
obedience to religion when it offends the customer.'  A waiter
who refuses to bathe or shave on grounds of religion need not
continue in employment" (ABC, 3/13).

     The NBA filed an unfair labor practice charge against the
NBPA yesterday and charged the union's new legal team with
rejecting some terms of the six-year CBA recently negotiated with
the players.  According to USA TODAY, the league is also suing
agents Frank Catapano, David Falk, Marc Fleisher, Ron Grinker,
Steve Kauffman and Arn Tellem, "charging them with attempting to
upset the agreement."  Other agents are expected to be added.
Lawyers for the union and league have been working on details of
the CBA,  which has not been ratified.  NBPA attorneys Jeffrey
Kessler and Jim Quinn, who found some terms unacceptable,
represented the group of players who tried to decertify the union
last summer.  NBPA officials claim the league "is attempting to
impose new terms involving salary cap mechanics, measures to
prevent circumvention of the salary cap and group licensing"
(Roscoe Nance, USA TODAY, 3/13).

     NFL owners are expected to vote today on a proposal to bring
back instant replay.  If approved by 23 of the league's 30
owners, replay would be used on a test basis in '96 -- "not
affecting play outcomes," according to NEWSDAY's Bob Glauber --
and implemented in '97.  Redskins GM Charley Casserly, who is
leading the pro-replay lobbing effort, believes a USFL-style
"challenge system" with a sideline monitor could pass (NEWSDAY,
3/13).  Mike Holmgren, acting Competition Committee Co-Chair:
"There is a way to do this that doesn't disrupt the game, the
timing of the game, it corrects a potentially poor call, and it
is not used as much as it was in the past" ("SportsCenter," ESPN,
3/12).
     NASHVILLE:  In yet another day of discussion of franchise
movement, Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen made a presentation on
the positives of his city and the league's entry into the "mid-
South" region.  Raiders Owner Al Davis:  "All I can say is that
it was an outstanding presentation" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
3/13).  While the Oilers are pushing for a vote today, the
Finance and Stadium Committees "still have many questions."  NFL
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue hinted the matter will be dealt with
before the end of April (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/13).  ESPN's
Keith Olbermann, on Houston Mayor Bob Lanier's presence Monday:
"Bredesen looked like the clear winner" ("SportsCenter," 3/12).
     CLEVELAND:  Steelers President Dan Rooney said he would be
surprised -- "and more than a little upset" -- if Cleveland gets
an expansion team in '99.  Rooney:  "We can't be expanding
everywhere in the country that loses a team."  While current
prospects for Cleveland include the Bengals, Bucs and Patriots,
league officials said the field could widen.  One owner:  "Some
of the candidates might surprise you" (Bart Hubbuch, Akron BEACON
JOURNAL, 3/13).
     SUPER BOWL SITES:  The Rose Bowl joins Miami as one of the
possible replacements as a site for the Super Bowl in '99, with
San Francisco expected to ask for a delay of several years.  If
Miami gets '99, Pasadena would be the leading candidate for 2000
-- and vice versa.  The league could ask Southern CA to submit a
bid for '99 as early as next month (Bill Plaschke, L.A. TIMES,
3/13).
     FREE AGENCY:  CNN's Mark Morgan examined the state of NFL
free agency.  Broncos President Pat Bowlen:  "Right now I think
the mood of the ownership in the league is that the labor deal
isn't working in the way we thought it would and we as owners
aren't really all that enthusiastic about the labor agreement"
("Sports Tonight," CNN. 3/12).