The NFL won't comment on Long's appeal, but the length of time the league is taking to review it suggests that Long has a good argument and might beat the rap.
The Duke Factor
In light of how the NFL stripped Phoenix of the 1993 Super Bowl after Arizonans voted last November not to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a paid state holiday, it doesn't figure that the league will put another Super Bowl in New Orleans any time in this century if former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard David Duke is elected to a four-year term as Louisiana governor on Nov. 16.
And how difficult do you think it will be for the Saints to sign top-quality black free agents with Duke in the governor's mansion? One prominent New Orleans player has already said he won't attend the Saints' kickoff luncheon next year if Duke wins and is scheduled to make an appearance at the annual affair.
At this time, the NFL will not address the volatile issue of New Orleans as a Super Bowl site—the city has hosted the game seven times—should Duke get elected. "Our concern in Arizona was to play a football game free of controversy," says Tagliabue. "It was not to get into politics. That's still my concern."
New Orleans is not scheduled to host a Super Bowl through 1996—the duration of Duke's term, if he is elected—but sites for future games will be determined during the time Duke would be in office.
When the Cardinals' Marcus Turner, racing downfield on punt coverage, was popped on the left side of his helmet by the Redskins' Danny Copeland on Sept. 15, it was just one of hundreds of hard hits delivered in the NFL that day. "I saw it on tape and it really didn't look that bad," Turner says. "All it did was spin me around. But I guess he hit the right spot." The blow from Copeland's helmet resulted in two tiny compression punctures to Turner's left inner ear, which have cost him 60% of the hearing in that ear, and in nerve damage to Turner's jaw, which has caused him to lose his sense of taste.
What's more, Turner has suffered blurred vision, his balance has been affected, and he has a headache that won't go away. "The scariest thing is I feel like I'm spinning in my sleep," he says. "I feel myself going around, so I have to wake up and balance myself." Doctors have told Turner that his vision, balance and sense of taste should return to normal, but they don't know when. On the other hand, the hearing loss might be permanent. Still, Turner hopes to play again next season.