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Volume 24 No. 157

Leagues Governing Bodies

          Blues F Brett Hull, who "used to be a walking
     advertisement for hockey," last night "turned into the NHL's
     worst nightmare, slagging the league and the people who run
     it," according to Dave Fuller of the TORONTO SUN.  Hull, who
     has missed 13 games with a hand injury and is scheduled to
     rejoin the Blues tonight, said that he "avoided watching"
     his team's games during his absence.  Hull: "The games suck. 
     I wouldn't pay to watch them.  It's boring.  The whole style
     of the game is terrible.  There's no flow to the game at
     all."  Hull claimed that the "smaller, skilled players" are
     getting "squeezed out of the league," adding that expansion
     has "diluted the product, and now we're going to expand
     again."  Hull: "It's up to the fans to do something about
     it.  The players should stand up and be heard, too.  But the
     players don't say crap" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN, 1/29).
          WHAT ABOUT FOX? In an examination of the "tenuous"
     future of the Oilers, team GM Glen Sather tells Ed Willes of
     the N.Y. TIMES that he sees "the wave of the future" for the
     league as TV and "mass-marketing."  Sather: "We need a
     national TV contract so we can compete for players with
     Philadelphia and New York.  That's why Nagano is so
     important. ... There's going to be a lot of attention on the
     game.  NBC just got out of the football business.  Maybe
     they'll get into hockey" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/29).

          U.S. Sen Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Bob Dole joined Casey
     Martin on Capitol Hill yesterday, and the legislators, who
     were both sponsors of the '90 Americans With Disabilities
     Act (ADA), said that they "support" Martin's request to use
     a cart at PGA and Nike Tour events and that it "fits the
     intent" of their bill, according to Athelia Knight of the
     WASHINGTON POST.  Harkin said that rules which create
     barriers for people with disabilities "must be changed," and
     Dole added that he was "pleased" with this week's ruling by
     an OR Federal Magistrate that the PGA Tour is a public
     organization and not exempt under the ADA.  Dole: "The PGA
     does not mean Please Go Away. [Martin]'s here to stay." 
     Martin called the support of the two "overwhelming," saying
     that in the golf community, he is "probably not being
     received with open arms right now.  But, it's nice to know
     that I have friends in higher places" (WASH. POST, 1/29).
          HOP ABOARD, IT'S FILLING FAST: The Martin "bandwagon is
     picking up speed," according to USA TODAY's Harry Blauvelt.
     Greg Norman called Martin in support yesterday.  Norman told
     Martin that he wouldn't be deposed by the PGA "because he
     doesn't agree with them."  Court TV has "petitioned" U.S.
     Magistrate Thomas Coffin for "permission to show" Martin's
     trial, set to begin Monday, and both the CA legislature and
     the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently passed
     resolutions "in support of" Martin (USA TODAY, 1/29).  

          During the second day of Latrell Sprewell's arbitration
     hearing in Portland, OR, Sprewell and Warriors coach P.J.
     Carlesimo "did acknowledge each other casually" and shook
     hands in the first meeting since their December 1 dispute, 
     according to Craig Sager on the "NBA on TBS."  Sager noted
     that Carlesimo "is no longer the center of the focus of the
     Sprewell camp" as the "focus is strictly on whether there
     was a premeditated second attack" on the day in question.  
     Sager: "It is no longer Sprewell against Carlesimo, it is
     Sprewell against the Warriors for terminating the contract
     and Sprewell against the league for handing down the
     suspension."  Sager added that no Trail Blazers who played
     under Carlesimo will be asked to testify (TBS, 1/28).
          ONE-ON-ONE: Three Warriors players -- Felton Spencer,
     Joe Smith and Bimbo Coles -- testified yesterday before
     arbitrator John Feerick.  Assistant coaches Paul Westhead
     and Rod Higgins then followed the players, with Higgins
     "ending the 12-hour session," according to David Steele of
     the S.F. CHRONICLE.  Carlesimo was scheduled to appear after
     Higgins, but "he stayed from early morning until the very
     end, observing the testimony of his players and coaches." 
     Steele reports that Coles' appearance before Feerick was the
     "longest yet, lasting some four hours."  While his agent,
     Sean Holley, was "concerned about repercussions from the
     team or the league," Coles agreed to appear.  Holley: "I
     don't think a lot of the guys really realized what was going
     on.  I think they thought they'd just have to give some kind
     of statement.  But this is like a trial."  After his
     testimony, Spencer said, "It was kind of odd because they
     were both there. ... It was rather intense" (S.F. CHRONICLE,
     1/29).  In N.Y., Mike Wise notes that one league official,
     who spoke to a player that testified, said that what the
     "players believed what would be an informal interview turned
     into an extremely awkward situation."  NBA lawyers "read
     interviews the players" gave to the league's security office
     the day after the incident, and asked them to "elaborate on
     their previous statements."  Some accounts differed from
     Carlesimo's and "the players were apparently surprised" to
     have them read in his presence (N.Y. TIMES, 1/29).
          MORE TO COME: The hearing continues today and "possibly
     Friday," then moves to New York next week, where Carlesimo
     will testify (Thomas Heath, WASHINGTON POST, 1/29).  But in
     Chicago, Lacy Banks reports that it is not certain even if
     Sprewell or Carlesimo will testify at all.  Banks: "That has
     become uncertain because sources confirm reports that
     neither Carlesimo nor Sprewell are the primary focus of the
     arbitration any longer.  Rather, the NBA players union is
     going after the Warriors and the NBA, claiming Sprewell's
     punishments were excessive."  One "insider" said NBA
     Commissioner David Stern may be asked to testify about "how
     and why he arrived" at his decision (SUN-TIMES, 1/29).