The NFL is contributing $1M for a San Diego County
youth program through its "Youth Education Town" grants for
Super Bowl host cities. The grant will be awarded after a
bidding process to an agency "submitting the best" plan" to
boost youth education and participation (SAN DIEGO UNION-
TRIBUNE, 10/28)....Forty NBA coaches and 125 players will
join "more than" a thousand children for community action on
the NBA's National TeamUp Day today (USA TODAY, 10/29).
The state of NASCAR was examined by Mark Armijo of the
ARIZONA REPUBLIC under the header, "Circuit Feels Some
Growing Pains." With "success, popularity and growth come
problems," and there are "some who wonder whether the sport
is becoming too popular. Could it eventually drown in its
own pool of financial success?" Armijo: "[S]ome say yes.
Some say NASCAR is paying a dear price for its corporate
growth. ... They say it is losing its intimacy." NASCAR
President Bill France Jr: "Too popular? No, I don't think
so. There's an awful lot of potential customers out there
that still don't follow motorsports." Armijo: "But at what
price can new fans be added? If the series indeed can ill
afford to expand much beyond 35 races, will some of the
traditional racetracks on the circuit lose one of their two
yearly dates to make room for the California and Las Vegas
speedways, and other future sites?" Car Owner Felix
Sabates: "My problem with the schedule is: Why go to all
these same tracks twice that are in the same market?"
France: "We haven't even gotten to that point of whether
we'll be taking away races to add races. We're very
selective in what we're doing" (AZ REPUBLIC, 10/28).
The NBA officially added Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner
to its '97-98 officiating staff, marking the first time ever
that women will officiate an NBA regular-season game (NBA).
In Boston, Peter May writes the NBA is "enhancing its
reputation as a league on the cutting edge of social issues"
with the move (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/29). In N.Y., Mike Wise
writes the move "helped remove yet another barrier for women
in American sport" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29). In Miami, Steve
Wyche writes that the league, which has "revolutionized
itself time and time again ... has gone a step further"
(MIAMI HERALD, 10/29). Women's Sports Foundation Exec Dir
Donna Lopiano credited NBA Commissioner David Stern: "As go
the values of the leader, so goes the organization. The NBA
has done the right thing. ... I can't say enough for David
Stern. The buck stops there" (NEWSDAY, 10/29)
PROS OR CONS: A sampling of comments made by NBA
players on the move: The Pistons' Brian Williams: "No man
belongs refing games in the WNBA and no woman belongs refing
games in the NBA. And you can mail that to David Stern."
Also in Detroit, a "half-serious" Grant Hill: "A striped
shirt is a striped shirt. They're all bad. They are all the
enemy" (DETROIT NEWS, 10/29). The Suns' Tom Chambers:
"They'll be just like any other rookie official, and that's
not an easy job -- male, female or indifferent" (ARIZONA
REPUBLIC, 10/29). The Rockets' Charles Barkley: "I think
all referees suck, number one. I think they all suck. ...
I just prefer to have men officials doing NBA games. ... I
just don't like it. I got to deal with it, of course, and
I'll respect them and treat them well, but I'm not going to
sit here and tell you I like it." The Bulls' Dennis Rodman:
"I'm going to treat them just like a man. They want to be a
ref, they're going to be treated like a man, right? If I go
by and hit them on the butt, it means I'm only trying to get
friendly with them" ("Fox Sports News," 10/28). Bulls Coach
Phil Jackson: "Dennis is always patting referees on the
butt, and that's something that bothers me more than
anything else. I've already told Dennis he's going to have
to watch it with this." The Bulls' Michael Jordan: "You
have to have the utmost respect for them in the sense that
certain things you do with other referees, you can't really
say" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/29). The Wizards' Juwan Howard:
"It's going to be tough for a woman, especially if some guys
use profanity after a bad call" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/29).
The Rockets' Kevin Willis: "I think we'll have to clean up
the language a little" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/29).
OFFICIAL RESPONSE: Veteran NBA ref Joe Crawford: "I
don't think there's a problem if the women can take the
(expletive). ... I know some of these women can do the job.
... I don't think the players are going to like it. They
don't like change. But who am I to say who I referee with?"
A retired NBA official, who asked to remain anonymous: "I
can't imagine them taking in women where there are so many
good [CBA] officials" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/29).