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Archive for Thursday, December 1, 2005

Commentary: Sports reforms don’t go far enough

December 1, 2005

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The House Committee on Government Reform, chaired by Congressmen Tom Davis and Henry Waxman and championed by Senators John McCain and Jim Bunning, threatened to pass legislation to toughen baseball's steroid policy if commissioner Bud Selig and union president Donald Fehr didn't do it themselves.

The pressure from Washington convinced Fehr to agree to harsher penalties than he would've accepted otherwise, which makes you wonder.

Why stop there?

A House Committee on Sports Reform could look at a host of issues. They could cap all stadium and arena beer prices at $5, audit anybody who blathers on endlessly about their golf game and eliminate the BCS.

Politicians constantly use sports analogies. But if they want to get the vote out, why not run on a platform of pro-choice and anti-designated hitter? If the goal is to get more young people involved in the political process, instead of running as a reform candidate someone could run as a sports reform candidate. Here are some issues to consider:

There should be a law forcing an owner to sell his team if he does nothing but bring undue humiliation and ridicule to fans and the community the team represents for 10 straight years.

Donald Sterling, Bill Bidwill, Chris Cohan and Tom Benson would be gone.

An addendum to the first amendment could prohibit Terrell Owens and his agent Drew "I love this man!" Rosenhaus from ever speaking publicly again.

Congress should introduce legislation eliminating the NFL's outdated blackout policy, which doesn't allow home games to be broadcast in the local market if the team fails to sell out its stadium.

There should be a law against athletes celebrating or drawing attention to themselves when their team is trailing by 10 or more points.

If a corporation is willing to pay millions for a stadium's naming rights, hey, that's America. But there should be a law against naming a stadium more than once.

The San Francisco Giants' new home has everything - except a name. First, it was Pacific Bell Park, which was imperfect, to be sure, but was accepted as a reality of modern-day life. Before next season, it will get its third name change in three years, which means it has gone from Pac Bell Park to SBC Park to AT&T Park without the naming rights so much as changing hands.

As a result, the quaint ballpark on the corner of King and Third is an orphan. Giants fans don't know what to call the place. "Hey, I've got some tickets to the game. I'll meet you at um ... er, well, you know . . ."

Everybody knew that Candlestick Park was the home of the Giants and 49ers, but then it became 3Com Park and later Monster Park (actually, Monstrosity Park is more accurate). Just when A's and Giants fans were getting used to meeting at the "Net," the name was changed from Network Associates Coliseum to McAfee.

It's insanity. These stadiums are being turned into rotating billboards.

Timeouts used by coaches at the end of college and NBA games should be strictly reduced. College players are learning the game. Calling three timeouts to tell them exactly what to do is like giving students answers to a test. Everybody admits the NBA is a players' game. So let them play!

If control-freak coaches who think they're who everyone comes to see don't like it, too bad. It's the law.

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