Now isn't time to press labor issue


Sometimes, according to singer Kenny Rogers, you've got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. The Major Indoor Soccer League Players Association might do well to think about that.

When the MISLPA filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, charging unfair labor practices against the Major Soccer League, commissioner Earl Foreman, Blast owner Ed Hale, Blast coach Kenny Cooper and the Cleveland Crunch, many, including the union's own members, asked why.

It is an even more pressing question now, since NLRB regional director Louis J. D'Amico found no evidence to back up the charges.

"We have evidence," MISLPA director John Kerr said yesterday. "Unfortunately, we could not arrange interviews for our players, who would back up our evidence, with the NLRB prior to the deadline we were given. We think we can work that out. I can't say we'll definitely appeal, because it is up to the player reps to decide. But we're looking into it."

The union has until March 26 to file an Given the findings, and the instability of the MSL, one has to wonder if an appeal would be foolhardy.

When the NLRB ruling came down, most players were relieved.

"I think we'd all be better off if we just stopped the fighting," said Blast defender Iain Fraser, apparently reflecting the feelings of many.Certainly, everyone would be happy to go through a summer without worrying about the league collapsing. The last time that happened? Who can remember? At this point, with the league seeking expansion, with the MSL/MISLPA bargaining agreement supposedly in place for one more season, the wise thing, in the long run, may be to just drop it.

* STAYING HOME: Blast goalkeeper Steve Powers turned down "a fantastic offer" from Tampa in the American Professional Soccer League, deciding to stay here, work Blast and other soccer camps, and plan his October wedding to Christine Pacanowski.

"You can't get engaged and then skip town," Powers said with a smile. "So, I've decided to stay here, concentrate on learning the indoor game and see if something happens with an outdoor team here next season. I think there will be a team here in 1993."

* WEEK'S BEST: Cleveland goalkeeper P.J. Johns (10-14, 6.86 GAA), who has been struggling to retain his No. 1 position with the team this season, earned MSL Defensive Player of the Week honors with a 12-save, 5-4 victory over San Diego Sunday. On the offensive side, Tacoma's Dale Mitchell, who has 40 goals and 29 assists, earned the offensive honor, producing three goals and six assists in two games.

* TATU II? Dallas Sidekicks star Tatu and his wife, Lene, saw the birth of their second son Sunday night. Evan Davi weighed in at 8 pounds, 13 ounces. When Vince Fiduccia, MSL assistant director of communications, learned the baby's new name, he was disappointed. "I voted for Tatu II," he said.

* WORLD CUP SITES: FIFA will announce the 1994 World Cup cities in New York on Monday. Washington expects to be on the list. If so, a campaign will be initiated to bring the opening game to Washington and the FIFA Congress to Baltimore. Gov. William Donald Schaefer has invited U.S. Soccer Federation president Alan Rothenberg to visit Maryland on May 29, the day before the U.S. National team game against Ireland in Washington.

* WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? San Diego Sockers owner Oscar Ancira Jr. said the news that the Blast will break even or make a little money this season is welcome, but wondered why it is such a big deal that other MSL teams lose money.

"If you look at any other professional sport, you'll find teams lose money," said Ancira. "Baseball, football, all of them, without television money would lose money."

The Sockers, he admits, "are not close to being in the black."

* HELPING THE ECONOMY: Former Blast and St. Louis general manager Dan Counce is doing all he can to help the United States with its international trade balance. Counce has started his own export business, Global Link. "We'll ship anything," Counce says. "But right now, it's mostly shoes and clothes to Mexico and Canada."

* HUMMERS OUSTED: Hummers, the Baltimore entry in last weekend's 36-team amateur indoor championships in Atlanta, won by the San Diego Sockers' developmental team, made it to the round of 16 before losing. Hummers included former Blast and Maryland Bays players Joe Barger, John Karpovich, Chris Reif, Jeff Nattans and Chris Webert, and Blast draft choices Jason Dieter (UMBC) and Joe Layfield (Towson State).

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