ONE HAND WASHES
The American Basketball Association asked in a $300 million antitrust suit last week that the rival NBA be prohibited from inducing its players to jump leagues. The ABA, of course, is no less guilty of contract tampering, for the revolving door which let Charlie Scott and Jim McDaniels out also let Joe Caldwell and Zelmo Beaty in.
The NBA's reaction to the suit was a masterful act of one-upmanship. The following day it said it would accept future ABA defectors only if (and after) a final court determination showed their ABA contract to be invalid. If the NBA really means this, it is quite a responsible stand to take. Even ABA Commissioner Jack Dolph praised the NBA's "very progressive attitude." He might also consider proposing a similar resolution to the owners of his own league.
Pro football has an interesting promotional game: The Super Bowl Site Award. Instead of a clunky Oscar or Grammy, the lucky winner gets a run at a full stadium, good blocking for its hotel and restaurant business and a chance to tackle some zippy legal problems.
It did not take long for the tremors to set in after Los Angeles was picked as the site for Super Bowl VII, to be played next Jan. 14 in the Memorial Coliseum. There were the usual rumblings about the National Football League's television blackout of the host city, and the usual politician made the usual threats to hold up the game unless the blackout curtain was lifted. A newspaper complained that the city needed another Super Bowl the way it needed another quiver in the San Andreas Fault.
Despite the dissent, L.A. will host Super VII, its first such opportunity since Super I back in 1967. Super I is remembered as the only Super that did not sell out. Various explanations are given for this, along with reassurances that it will never happen again. All Pete Rozelle has to decide is whether to settle for the 80,000 seats normally employed for football or eliminate the temporary bleachers at one end of the field and expand to all 93,000 seats in the huge stadium. Either way, stadium officials promise, it will be a full house.
IN WITH FLYNN
The determined efforts of Massachusetts state legislator Raymond L. Flynn seem to be bringing about something of a revolution in professional football ticket sales. Reflecting the resentment of the small-potatoes fan who is unable to afford season tickets (even if he could get them) but cannot buy tickets to individual games because they are all gone to season-ticket holders, Flynn introduced legislation requiring the New England Patriots to reserve 10,980 of their 61,000 seats for game-by-game sale. The bill passed the state senate by a 20-to-10 vote and went on to the house, but with an amendment asking the courts to rule on its constitutionality. While all this was going on, the Patriots, who had already sold about 50,000 season tickets, announced voluntarily that next fall 5,000 seats would be made available game by game. Whether or not Flynn's bill goes all the way to a score, the little guy seems at last to be getting a bit of recognition.
Kids on neighborhood basketball courts have been wearing striped shoes for several years, but a new status symbol is currently taking over the playground set: sweatbands. The unintentional architect of the new fad is Wilt Chamberlain, whose appearance with a terry-cloth band across his vast forehead apparently fascinates kids. After local youngsters persistently badgered pro and college stars for bands as souvenirs, the Inglewood Forum, where the Los Angeles Lakers play, put headbands ($1) and wristbands ($1.50 the set) on sale in January. In gold, with the Laker logo imprinted in blue, the bands were an instant smash.