THE MORE THINGS CHANGE...
Last September, Diane Shah, a thrice-weekly sports columnist for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, was on her way into the Rams' locker room after their home game against Green Bay when she was politely stopped at the door by a guard. A few minutes later a team official explained that it was the Rams' policy that women are not allowed in the locker room.
"I'm so naive, I really thought I'd get in," Shah said last week. After unsuccessful private negotiations with the club, and a futile attempt to meet personally with the Rams' Georgia Frontiere, who is also the only woman owner in the NFL, Shah went public with her complaint in a "Dear Georgia" column on Oct. 1. Invoking Frontiere's own words, Shah wrote that she too was "just a girl trying to make an honest living."
Two weeks ago, the newspaper took the Rams to court and a hearing date was tentatively set for Dec. 22, two days after L.A.'s last regular-season game. Meanwhile, at the team's suggestion, the U.S. District Court judge assigned to the case issued a restraining order requiring that the Rams offer equal access to all members of the press. In time for the Nov. 22 game against San Francisco, which the Rams lost 33-31, a small, dingy room adjacent to the locker room was quickly transformed into a formal interview area, complete with fully stocked bar and female tender. It took more than an hour for the requested players to make their appearances, and most of the writers eventually opted to go to the 49ers' locker room, which, as a result of a recent similar court action brought by The Sacramento Bee, was open to everyone.
Ironically, discrimination is the one subject that Shah and Frontiere have actually discussed.
"Back in June, when I first came to L.A., I spent a couple of weeks trying to familiarize myself with the area, the teams and the people I'd be covering," Shah recalls. "One day I dropped in to the Oakland Raiders' antitrust trial and was introduced to Georgia Frontiere. I told her that I wanted to write my first column about her. She advised me, wisely I think, against it. Too much like girls writing about girls, she cautioned. Then she gave me a concerned warning about the press. The media, she said, had treated her unfairly just because she was a woman. She wanted me to be aware that there were people out there who might discriminate against me for the same reason."
REVVIN' UP FOR KEVIN
Under new NBA rules governing free agents, the Washington Bullets were able to hold on to Guard Kevin Grevey for the 1981-82 season by agreeing to match a bid for him by the Indiana Pacers. But exercise of this "right of first refusal" isn't as simple as it seems. That the Bullets must match the Pacers' base salary offer of $1.4 million over four years is clear-cut. However, Indiana's promise to give Grevey, an auto-racing buff, four coveted penthouse seats for each of the next four Indy 500s is another matter. How will Washington match that one?
Easy, says Bullet General Manager Bob Ferry, we'll give Grevey the face value of the tickets—$65 each. Not so fast, Bob. Because penthouse seats are hard to come by at any price—tickets in specific locations are handed down as family heirlooms in the wills of longtime Indygoers—Grevey would understandably prefer the tickets themselves. But the Bullets don't have the same pull at Indy as the hometown Pacers do, and Grevey's lawyer, Scott Lang, says wistfully, "Whether or not the Bullets can get them remains to be seen."
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