NFL OK'd to try proving that union fixed salaries


The NFL has received court approval to interview agents and collect documents in an attempt to prove its claim that the players' union fixed salaries, the league said yesterday.

"We intend to vigorously pursue our claim that the NFLPA conspired with player agents to illegally exchange salary information in violation of federal antitrust law," the NFL said in a news release.

In separate litigation, players seeking unrestricted free agency have accused the league of keeping salaries artificially low. They scored a victory May 23 when U.S. District Judge David Doty threw out the NFL's labor antitrust exemption.

In a ruling last Thursday, Doty followed up on his May decision by dismissing in the NFL's lawsuit the league's claim that an ongoing collective bargaining relationship exists between owners and the National Football League Players Association. Doty's May 23 ruling recognized the players' union decertification.

TTC What's left in the NFL's lawsuit is an accusation that the players' union fixed minimum compensation for rookies and veterans. The league had been blocked from gathering information to prove the claim while it was attempting to prove that the NFLPA was a union in all respects.

The NFLPA has denied the price-fixing accusation.

* DIVORCE SETTLEMENT: When defensive star Mark Gastineau abruptly left the New York Jets in 1988, he "wasted" a marital asset and therefore owes his ex-wife, Lisa Gastineau, a chunk of those never-seen earnings, a judge is said to have ruled.

What that amounts to is one-third of the forfeited salary -- or more than $100,000, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

The couple apparently will split their two homes. The New York Daily News reported Lisa was granted the house in Huntington, on Long Island, while Gastineau gets a house in Scottsdale, Ariz., that is in danger of foreclosure.

He was ordered to pay $200 a week in child support for their 9-year-old daughter, $150 a week maintenance for three years and $20,000 in Lisa's legal fees.

* CHIEFS: Mike Webster, who retired after 17 seasons as a center in the NFL, will become a member of the Kansas City coaching staff.

"I will be helping out in a couple of different areas," said Webster, 39. He plans to accompany the team to its training camp in River Falls, Wis., on July 15.

Webster said Monday that his job would be more clearly defined when Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson and coach Marty Schottenheimer returned from vacation. Webster, who played in nine Pro Bowl games for the AFC, probably will assist with the offensive line.

When Webster retired, Peterson said that Webster had been offered a position with the club.

Webster started 23 games during the past two seasons for the Chiefs after playing 15 seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

* RAIDERS: The personal physician of Lyle Alzado said that the former defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Raiders took large doses of anabolic steroids during his days with the Raiders even though he was warned of the possible damaging side effects as early as 1982.

The physician, Dr. Robert Huizenga, who was a Raiders team doctor in the early 1980s, said he "saw signs on his exams and in his blood tests that he had side effects from anabolic steroid use."

"I encouraged Lyle to get off of them," Huizenga, an internist, said by telephone from his office in Beverly Hills. "According to Lyle now, by then, he was taking a lot of unusual medicines prescribed by doctors outside of the NFL, including a whole host of different anabolic steroids in large doses."

Today, Alzado, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife, said he is suffering from a rare form of brain cancer. After retiring from the Raiders after the 1985 season, Alzado attempted a comeback last year at age 41.

Huizenga said that during Alzado's comeback effort, Alzado began taking a human growth hormone that was available legally only to licensed pediatric endocrinologists. Huizenga said Alzado bought the drug on the black market.

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