TEAM SPREWELL LOOKS TO GET ITS ARMS AROUND LEGAL CASE
Latrell Sprewell's arbitration hearing, which will
begin next week in Portland, OR, is examined by Mike Wise of
the N.Y. TIMES. Sprewell has been in New York since Tuesday
to "go over the legal brief" the NBPA has prepared and
yesterday Wise spoke to him and members of his defense team.
The matter will be heard by Fordham Law School Dean John
Feerick, and NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter referred to Feerick
and said, "To what extent is he affected by public pressure?
I think the N.B.A. reaped a media bonanza on this thing,
and that's one of the reasons we haven't been able to
settle. It's been such a windfall for them that any step
back would be interpreted as a retreat" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/23).
Sprewell told Peter Vecsey, "I realize what a big mistake I
made." But Sprewell added, "It's as if I'm another O.J.
Simpson. Yes, I was wrong, but I didn't kill anybody. I'm
not a double murderer" (N.Y. POST, 1/23).
REF TROUBLE: SI's Jackie MacMullan reports that the
Federal Government is "poised to indict as many as seven
referees next month," with 15 still under investigation for
allegedly downgrading NBA airline tickets, pocketing the
money and failing to declare it. MacMullan adds that a
sampling of NBA coaches and GM's showed that most "agreed
that the removal of seven refs would be disastrous" to the
quality of officiating (SI, 1/26 issue).