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Volume 24 No. 158

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The NHL has "made a new proposal to the NHL Players' Association with time ticking toward a canceled season," according to an unidentified player cited by Pierre LeBrun of The player said that the league "made a new offer to the NHLPA on Thursday, one which moved on the term limit for player contracts, salary variance and buyouts." LeBrun notes the league's "insistence on a five-year limit has been a major sticking point with players," but the new offer is believed to include moving the term limit on player contracts "to six years." It would go to seven years "if you're resigning your own player." Year-to-year salary variance would "move from 5 percent to 10 percent." Also in the proposal, the "Make Whole" provision "stays at $300 million" and each team "will be allowed one compliance buyout before the 2013-14 season that will not count against the salary cap but will count against the players' share." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly did not confirm the player's report. Meanwhile, the NHLPA's executive board "has until Jan. 2 to decide whether or not to file a notice of disclaimer of interest -- dissolving the union -- after players last week voted overwhelmingly to give the board the right to do so." Players have said that their "preference would be to quickly negotiate a new deal rather than file the disclaimer but if there's no traction in talks, there would be no other choice but to file" (, 12/28). TSN's Darren Dreger wrote on his Twitter feed, "Hard to imagine the NHL's latest proposal doesn't result in potentially season-saving meetings. Players wanted flexibility and they got it." The National Post's Bruce Arthur wrote, "Before anybody gets too excited, let's see if the NHLPA agrees with the numbers the NHL is leaking right now. But hey, it's something."

Seahawks CB Richard Sherman won his appeal of a four-game suspension from the NFL for testing positive for a banned substance because former league exec Bob Wallace said that there were "irregularities in the testing procedure," according to Danny O'Neil of the SEATTLE TIMES. The appeal hearing "took place last Friday, Sherman appearing along with his attorney, Maurice Suh of Los Angeles." Sherman's argument was "based on the fact a second cup was used in the collection of his urine after the initial cup began leaking." The tester "confirmed both the leaking cup and the use of an additional cup." Sherman's argument was that the test "was tainted by the violations in procedure, the league arguing that those deviations from the standard procedure were immaterial to the result." Wallace, the hearing officer, "upheld Sherman's appeal, pointing out specifically that the tester did not note the use of a second cup in the collection process until asked by a supervisor in October." Lost in the "discussions of leakage, second cups and protocol was a bigger issue for Sherman." He said that "mistakes were made in the whole procedure, with the bottom line being he never took banned substances" (SEATTLE TIMES, 12/28). Sherman said, "It was a weird day, a weird testing procedure. A lot of things went wrong on that day and that's why the result came out the way it did because he made mistakes and he did things wrong" (AP, 12/27). USA TODAY's Jeffrey Martin notes despite "maintaining his innocence, Sherman seemed resigned to losing his appeal as recently as Sunday." Suh on Thursday said, "It's the NFL's job to overcome the presumption that everything was done properly. They were unable to do that" (USA TODAY, 12/28).

WIN, LOSE OR DRAW CONCLUSIONS? In Seattle, Steve Kelley writes athletes "hardly ever win these appeals," and when they "do, there is the presumption of guilt, as if they somehow scammed the system and got off on a technicality." Sherman, asked if he cared about the perception of some that he is guilty, said, "The truth has been told today, and people can say what they want. There's always naysayers. There were a lot of mistakes made, on top of me never taking anything" (SEATTLE TIMES, 12/28). However, USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell writes winning in this case "does not mean Sherman is squeaky clean." Sherman won "on a technicality." Bell: "Nowhere in arbitrator Bob Wallace's decision was it stated that Sherman's sample wasn't legit." Sherman "played by the rules of the NFL's drug policy and shifted the burden to the process and the collector, Mark Cook." Sherman won, but to a "larger degree, the league lost on one bad positive test" (USA TODAY, 12/28).

Organizers of a “revolutionary series that will race cars powered only by electricity have approached Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, to make the capital the venue for the first ‘green’ grand prix," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. The series is sanctioned by the FIA and organizers are calling the project “Formula E.” Spanish investor and former EPL club Queens Park Rangers Chair Alejandro Agag is “behind the series.” He has “already signed up Rome and Rio de Janeiro and is negotiating with cities from Beijing to Los Angeles for races.” Africa also is “on the list, with Marrakesh, in Morocco, and Cape Town both showing interest.” But Agag wants London to be the "first host of Formula E.” Agag said, “This is the future and proof that you can have motor racing and still be environmentally aware.” He added, “We have approached the authorities in London and they are very excited by the idea. There is [a] long way to go, but we hope that they join our schedule like so many cities that are signing with us. I would really like to start the series in London. It would mean so much.” Eason notes there is a “bonus for Boris -- no fee.” Unlike F1, which “charges up to [US$48.4M] for the rights to stage a grand prix, Agag will provide the race for free, with the city co-operating in traffic management and set-up.” From a base in Central London, Agag is “directing operations for an initial schedule of ten races in 2014” (LONDON TIMES, 12/28).