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Selig Gives Owners Gag Order

July 20, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — As baseball players and management finally got around to talking about revenue sharing Friday, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig reversed course and told owners to stop making public statements about labor matters.

Negotiators, joined by eight players from the Boston Red Sox, had what both sides called a productive session, and agreed that they were not that far apart on the amount of money they want to divide unequally among clubs from baseball's national broadcasting and licensing contracts.

They did not discuss locally generated revenue or management's desire for a luxury tax on high-payroll teams, two bigger points of contention in the talks for a labor deal to replace the contract that expired Nov. 7.

Meanwhile, team owners received a new memorandum from Selig, who earlier this summer had lifted his so-called "gag order." In the last few weeks, many owners have spoken out in support of Selig's attempt to gain economic concessions from players.

"I appreciate all the helpful and supportive comments that have been made by owners and club officials in recent weeks," Selig said in the memo, which was read to the Associated Press. "The comments were indicative of the complete unity of the clubs on the labor front.

"Notwithstanding this fact, I have decided to reinstitute the ban on public comments on labor and economic issues in its original format.

"We are entering a critical period of the labor negotiations and I feel that further comment at this point would not be productive."

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