Owners bad guys in lockout

It’s not only players versus owners in the ongoing NFL labor dispute.

Now many front office employees, according to The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, are pulling against owners after at least 12 teams have imposed pay cuts.

They hope owners lose next month at the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis so the lockout will be lifted and salaries restored to the previous levels.

The Post reported the Miami Dolphins cut the pay of “non-football employees” by 10 percent to 20 percent for as long as the lockout lasts, citing a decline in season-ticket sales as the reason. The Dolphins also will cut the pay of their general manager, coach, assistants and support staff.

Elsewhere, the New York Jets introduced furloughs, and the Arizona Cardinals reduced all salaries by 35 percent.

Leave it to the Oakland Raiders to be unique. They have told all employees to sell season tickets. Yes, even coaches and executives.

“Hello, this is coach Hue Jackson. We have some great seats on the 40-yard line you might be interested in.”

The lockout affects more than just those who work for the teams. If games are missed, vendors and ticket sellers will be hurt, and bars and restaurants near stadiums will see a decline in customers.

So the owners can play hardball with the players, but this issue isn’t just about those two parties. And, remember, the owners opted out of the collective bargaining agreement and pushed for a lockout even with a $9 billion revenue stream.

■ HOME AWAY FROM HOME – When Hawaii visits, Sam Boyd Stadium feels more like a neutral site than a UNLV home football game.

That probably won’t change when the Warriors take the field here Sept. 17. The school plans to ask for 3,500 to 4,000 tickets, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Even that might not be enough considering the many Hawaiians who live in the valley who will attend the game and those flying in from the islands.

Tickets not sold through a UNLV season package or Hawaii’s allotment will be available in August. If UNLV fans don’t want to be outnumbered by spectators wearing green, they shouldn’t wait too long.

■ NO HARD FEELINGS – Diana Taurasi was talking to someone following a USA Basketball practice last week at Cox Pavilion when UNLV women’s coach Kathy Olivier walked over to say hello.

In 2000, when Olivier was UCLA’s coach, she thought she had a commitment from Taurasi, who is from Chino, Calif. Then Taurasi took a recruiting trip to Connecticut and was blown away by the 10,000 fans who showed up for an exhibition. Taurasi also was concerned other top recruits wouldn’t follow her to UCLA, but Olivier tried to sell her that she would be a magnet.

Had Taurasi signed with UCLA, the Bruins would have become a national power and changed the national landscape. Meaning Olivier most likely still would be in Westwood rather than trying to resurrect her alma mater.

But there was no bitterness between Olivier and Taurasi, one of the greatest female players ever. “That says a lot about her,” Taurasi said.


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