In the Bucks
In the next few weeks 298 NFL players will try to cash in on the league's new free-agency arrangement, some by signing guaranteed contracts for more generous sums with their current teams, others by extracting sweet deals from rival teams. Furthermore, hundreds of players, past and present, will soon be divvying up the $265 million that the NFL is obligated to pay to settle a dozen lawsuits that players brought against the league. The first 44 recipients of this loot have been identified; as plaintiffs in nine of the suits, they will share some $19 million.
The amount allotted to each of the 44, who were named in an appendix to a preliminary labor settlement approved last week by U.S. district court judge David Doty in Minneapolis, was determined by how big a role that player had in the lawsuits. The 44 included such well-known players as Los Angeles Raider running back Marcus Allen (who will receive $1,876,000), Green Bay Packer quarterback Don Majkowski ($1,366,000) and Cleveland Brown defensive back Frank Minnifield ($1,275,000). Another big winner, San Diego Charger guard Dave Richards, will collect $1,440,000 for his all-pro performance as a witnesss in the antitrust suit in Doty's court that struck down the NFL's Plan B free-agency scheme. The biggest sum, $3,206,000, will go to New Orleans Saint quarterback Bobby Hebert, who sat out the 1990 season in a contract dispute and twice challenged the NFL in court on the free-agency issue. Hebert didn't complete a pass in '90, but that turns out to have been a pretty good year for him all the same.
After Boston Celtic center Robert Parish admitted in court in Waltham, Mass., last week that he had been in possession of marijuana, he was placed on unsupervised probation for six months by Judge Paul Cavanaugh, who told the 39-year-old Parish that as a star athlete he had "an extra burden of great fame and notoriety." While Parish's scrape with the law was no laughing matter, his apologists noted that marijuana has not caused nearly the grief to athletes, or to society generally, that cocaine, heroin or alcohol have, and some of them showed up at the courthouse to march for the legalization of pot. One of their signs read INHALE TO THE CHIEF.
Two of a Kind
On Cincinnati's all-sports radio station, WSAI, Art Schlichter's three-hour afternoon talk show is followed by Pete Rose's two-hour show. This programming parley is known locally as the "daily double."
Even as Cal alumnus Ron Fimrite was musing on the subject (page 66), the Bears' defrocked basketball coach, Lou Campanelli, called SI last week to take issue with a SCORECARD item (Feb. 22) that excoriated Campanelli and other coaches who verbally abuse their players. Campanelli disputed our statement that after a game he had "turned over a table at a team dinner." What Campanelli says he actually did was sweep some box lunches off a table before a postgame snack.
SI has spoken with four other witnesses to the incident, which occurred in a locker room at New Jersey's Meadowlands following a Cal loss to James Madison on Dec. 29. One witness said that Campanelli turned over a table; the other three said he didn't but that he kicked various objects, including a table—and the box lunches. Estimates of the number of box lunches trashed by Campanelli ranged from "maybe four or five" ( Campanelli's figures) to more than 20. All agreed that Campanelli raged at his players. "I'm not saying I didn't get angry," Campanelli told SI. "That's what happens in locker rooms. Towels get thrown, chalk gets thrown, water bottles get knocked over, a lot of things go flying around. Saying it was a team dinner makes it sound like it happened in a hotel or restaurant. What goes on in a locker room is different. It's family. It's private."
But should it be? One university president, Wake Forest's Thomas Hearn, argued in The Washington Post last week that coaches' locker-room comments should be considered public because the coaches "are speaking to young people in an official university-sanctioned capacity." Hearn also told the newspaper, "I am having a group of students at my home tonight. If I were to abuse them verbally or if I were to humiliate them or call them names, I would be summarily fired—and I should be, because I have a responsibility to them and to the university community.... I think that coaches have that same responsibility."