NFLCA COACHES HOLD "QUIET" PROTEST; OWNERS GAIN AFL ENTRY
At the NFL owners meetings in FL, "most members" of the
NFL Coaches Association (NFLCA) "quietly took part in a
protest" before a coaching symposium was set to begin,
according to Mike Freeman of the N.Y. TIMES. The group of
"about" 50 to 60 coaches, "upset with issues they say
include race and age discrimination, as well as pension plan
issues, staged a non-confrontational protest that could
signal future labor unrest." The members entered the
symposium 15 minutes late on Wednesday morning "to show the
league that coaches, particularly assistants, are unified
and prepared to take on the league." Among the coaches were
Eagles head coach Ray Rhodes and former Raiders head coach
Art Shell. Also present was NFLCA Founder William Wallen,
who said that 94% of the NFL's assistants are association
members. But NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the
protest "bordered on silliness because we're well aware of
their issues." Tagliabue: "We've been talking to them; more
than talking to them, we've changed a number of policies."
He cited changes in the league's health insurance plan (N.Y.
TIMES, 5/21). In DC, Leonard Shapiro writes that the NFLCA
members now face "a more important question: What next?"
Sources say the NFLCA "will not register as a union, but
that a class-action lawsuit charging the NFL with age and
race discrimination is being considered." While coaches
acknowledged the health insurance changes, they said other
issues "have not been addressed" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/21).
OTHER LEAGUE NOTES: NFL owners adopted a resolution to
allow NFL teams to own AFL teams within their own markets.
...Kansas City's proposal to be considered to host the 40th
Super Bowl in 2006 was rejected (USA TODAY, 5/21)....NFLPA
Exec Dir Gene Upshaw said the league should make the new
Browns franchise competitive as quickly as it can: "We are
not going to punish an expansion team for being an expansion
team. It's not fair to the players, it's not fair to the
city, it's not fair to the new owners, and it's not fair to
the league" (BEACON JOURNAL, 5/21). Panthers Owner Jerry
Richardson: "We'll resolve it in a way that will give them a
fair chance to compete. Ours worked well" (SUN-SENTINEL,
5/21)....Of the 52,000 PSLs sold for the new Browns
franchise, about 10,000 are left, most of which cost $250 or
$500 (BEACON JOURNAL, 5/21)....In San Jose, Sam Farmer
writes that during the meetings, NFL owners "tiptoed oh so
close to the issues troubling the 49ers, yet never treading
on that delicate ground." Tagliabue, on the fate of the
team's $525M stadium/mall complex: "I really haven't spent
enough time on it recently to feel comfortable that what I
would say would even be accurate" (MERCURY NEWS, 5/21).