NFL EXTENDS CBA DEAL; TAGLIABUE THE LEAGUE'S $5 MILLION MAN?
NFL owners ratified an extension of the CBA through the
year 2003, but after a "passionate speech" by Giants co-
Owner Wellington Mara, "things were much closer than
expected," according to Mike Freeman of the N.Y. TIMES.
Although the final vote was 28-1, with Raiders Owner Al
Davis abstaining, the situation "was much tighter -- and
dramatic -- than was publicly made known." Mara is against
a provision guaranteeing contracts for certain players in
the new deal, and Freeman writes, "After what one owner
described as an incredible speech by Mara, an unofficial
poll was taken" and the measure was stuck at 22 votes, one
short of the required 23 for passage. Freeman: "But after
some rallying by supporters of the extension, the official
vote was taken, and at that point a small number of owners
changed their vote" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/24). Eagles Owner
Jeffrey Lurie said that while "about" ten owners were
against the guarantee provision, the majority decided that
"labor peace and other aspects of the deal outweighed that
one issue" (Phil Sheridan, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/24).
GET-TOUGH POLICY: In Milwaukee, Tom Silverstein writes
that the league also took an "unprecedented measure to
punish those who can't abide by society's rules" with a
misconduct policy that gives the league power to suspend
players who plead guilty to or are convicted of violent
crimes. The policy has been in place since last August, but
was not enforced league-wide. This policy is fully enacted
July 1 and gives the commissioner oversight to determine
punishment for repeat offenders. Tagliabue: "We want to
deter the misconduct and one way to deter misconduct is to
impose discipline" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/24). The
measure effects all NFL employees (Ron Borges, BOSTON GLOBE,
3/24). Among acts specifically mentioned in the new policy:
hate crimes, domestic violence, use or threat of physical
violence and illegal possession or distribution of weapons
(Ira Miller, S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/24). USA TODAY's Larry
Weissman writes the measure takes "bold steps against
athletes convicted of violent crimes" (USA TODAY, 3/24).
FROM TAGS TO RICHES? Owners also voted unanimously to
give Tagliabue a five-year contract extension to 2005.
Tagliabue has been in office since November '89 and had two
years left on his contract that was reportedly worth about
$2.5M per year. No salary figures were released by the
league, but sources say it will double to "at least" $5M a
year (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 3/24).
NOTEBOOK: Patriots Owner Robert Kraft was named Chair
of the Finance Committee for a four-year term (BOSTON GLOBE,
3/24)....Tagliabue discussed a plan where the league and
NFLPA would pledge money towards new stadium construction.
He said the plan was in the initial stages and called it "a
complicated subject" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/24).