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Scorecard
Edited by Richard O'Brien
August 01, 1994
The Keenan Affair
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August 01, 1994

Scorecard

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Though contracts replete with selfish clauses favoring an athlete are nothing new, the one Denver Nugget center Dikembe Mutombo recently tried to palm off on his fianc�e was a real jaw-dropper. The prenuptial agreement that Mutombo reportedly sprang on Michelle Roberts 10 days before their scheduled June 25 wedding stipulated that she bear him a child within two years—and then return to work four months after the birth. Roberts, a Stanford medical student, would also have been required to relinquish claims to spousal or child support if the couple divorced or Mutombo died.

Predictably, the 26-year-old Roberts refused to sign. And just as predictably, Mutombo's agent refused to comment. At any rate, the deal's off and, word is, Roberts is an unrestricted free agent. It's doubtful that Mutombo retains right of first refusal.

Tipping the Cap

After being dumped by the New York Giants six weeks ago, quarterback Phil Simms said, "I'd still be a Giant if the salary cap didn't exist." Who could argue? NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, for one. Last week he said, "It wasn't only the effect of the cap on the Giants that produced the Phil Simms retirement."

It's true that New York couldn't be sure that the 38-year-old Simms would make it through another 16-game season. But it's just as certain he would still be calling signals for the Giants if the owners and players' union had not agreed on a cap, which this season mandates that each team spend no more than $34.6 million on its player payroll. Last year Simms threw for 3,000 yards and led New York to 12 wins. Now two unproven quarterbacks have taken his place, and he's an ESPN commentator.

Having heard Tagliabue repeatedly say that, even with the cap, teams will be able to keep the players they want, Simms finally vented his feelings. "He should be tested for drugs," he told The New York Times last week. "I was not let go because of the salary cap? That's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard."

It's time for Tagliabue and the players' union to admit that the cap can cripple teams—the Giants, for example, have lost seven starters since last season in large part because of caponomics—and to say it will take a couple of years for everyone to adjust to the new NFL. To deny the cap's impact in the waiving of players like Simms and AFC reception leader Reggie Langhorne (by the Indianapolis Colts) is, to quote Simms again, "absurd."

Yucky

Many visitors bring bottled water to Russia. But last weekend, as the Goodwill Games opened in St. Petersburg, members of the U.S. swim team filled jugs with pool water to take home as souvenirs. The Red Army Pool's filtration system had turned the water Gatorade-green.

Problems began a week before the games, when a pool attendant forgot to bag the charcoal before putting it in the filter. With the water as black as India ink, scuba divers swept silt from the pool bottom while workers dumped in chemicals. Though by Saturday the water had taken on a more palatable avocado tint, the squeamish Swedish swimmers withdrew and flew back to Stockholm.

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