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Volume 24 No. 156
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          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).