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Mascaro says the most common insults are directed at opponent's sisters, who apparently aren't held in the same esteem as mothers, and the hated Hawkeyes of archrival Iowa. The sometimes creaky barbs wouldn't make anybody forget that legendary heavyweight from Dublin, Oscar Wilde, or the current champeen, Don Rickles, who fights out of Vegas. Sample groaner: "Your sister swims out to meet troop ships." Another: "Who designed your face, Black & Decker?" The fact that all of this is taking place in Iowa may or may not lend substance to a putdown heard in neighboring Minnesota, where "Iowa jokes" have been all the rage lately among disc jockeys. Question: "What's the best thing ever to come out of Iowa?" Answer: "An empty bus."
AND WHO'S THIS LYNN IN CENTERFOLD?
SIX WEEKS AND COUNTING
Notes on the six-week-old NFL strike, which took a new turn last week when mediator Sam Kagel recessed contract talks shortly before SI went to press:
•A U.S. Court of Appeals ruling earlier in the week that NFL owners can sue striking players in state courts to try to prevent them from participating in the "all-star games" sponsored by the NFL Players Association was a defeat for the union, which decided, at least for now, to cancel such games after only two of the scheduled 18 had been played. The ruling was also a setback for the rather strange alliance between the union and Ted Turner, whose Turner Broadcasting System televised the games. "With the other three networks lined up with the owners, it didn't seem like a fair fight," said Turner. That contrasted sharply with what Turner, who also owns the Atlanta Braves, said about players during last year's baseball strike: "Let's get rid of these guys and get new ones. That's what the Lord did. He drowned them all and started over again with two of each kind."
•Although owners hailed the Court of Appeals ruling, that decision could have the unwanted long-range effect of strengthening the idea that NFL teams are 28 competing individual entities and thus should be subject to antitrust laws. In its so-far-unsuccessful legal battle to stop Al Davis from moving the Oakland Raiders to Los Angeles, the NFL has argued that, insofar as questions of franchise location are concerned, the league is a single entity and thus should be exempt from antitrust laws. It has invoked the same argument in pushing for a limited antitrust exemption from Congress.
•The NFL Management Council has regularly distributed compilations of media comments on the strike that it considers favorable to its position. Among the "pro-owners" quotes sent out by the council was this observation by Ron Martz in The Atlanta Constitution: "The players claim the owners are making obscene profits and [they] deserve the right to tell their bosses how to distribute those profits. The owners are making obscene profits. But, hey, that's the American way."
•The fact that the NFLPA reversed its bargaining position since the last contract negotiations in 1977 has been well documented. The union, which at that time favored individual salary negotiations, subsequently decided that the only way players can get their fair share of NFL riches is by means of a wage scale tied to a central fund. Less publicized was the fact that the NFL had similarly flip-flopped since 1975, when it made noises about wanting a wage scale in lieu of individual negotiations. The league can explain its subsequent turnaround by saying it could still accept a wage scale but not one in the particular form demanded by the NFLPA. But a well-informed strike watcher suggested that the virtual swap of positions by the two sides could also be explained by mutual enmity. "The negotiators genuinely don't like each other," he said. "Management figures out what the union doesn't like and then endorses it." As the strike dragged on, one sensed that the union was guilty of exactly the same thing.
FUN(?) AND GAMES