?Last month a federal court jury in Washington. D.C,. awarded a total of $30 million to 235 players because teams had illegally fixed wages of taxi-squad members in 1989.
?Also last month the National Labor Relations Board upheld a 1991 decision that the NFL had violated labor laws by refusing to let players return to work immediately after their 1987 strike. The ruling will oblige the league to pay $30 million to 1,100 players.
?The verdict in Minneapolis resulted in a relatively meager award of $1.63 million to four players, but litigation covering 1,075 other players whose rights were also restricted by Plan B will likely cost the league at least $200 million more.
?A pending antitrust suit by Philadelphia Eagle defensive end Reggie White and three others seeking free agency for 600 players in 1993 could cost the NFL more than $300 million in treble damages.
Throw in another $10 million or so that the NFL has to pay for the NFLPA's legal fees and perhaps $40 million for its own, and the league's tab could easily exceed $700 million. And, oh, yes, the NFLPA is plotting a challenge to the NFL college draft that could lead to open bidding for rookies, potentially a further drain on team coffers.
You can't help wondering if maybe the NFL owners enjoy getting slammed around by their players.
Hands Across the Ice
In a profile by B.M. Swift in the Oct. 12 SI, Pittsburgh Penguin forward Jaromir Jagr recounted that as a lad in Czechoslovakia, he had kept a photo of his hero, Ronald Reagan, pressed in one of his schoolbooks. Last week Jagr received a phone call from Reagan, who said he had read the story and wanted to say hello. Jagr said that the conversation was disjointed, partly because his own English is not perfect but also because Reagan had alluded to the Gipper, a reference Jagr did not fully understand.
"He must be old," Jagr said of Reagan. "He started talking about something and then forgot what he was saying." But, added Jagr, "it was my best day. I never talked to a guy like him before."
Tale of Two Capitals