A committee to investigate racial discrimination in National Football League managements is being formed by the NFL Players Association and is expected to present its conclusions at the union's convention in February.
Ed Garvey, executive director of the NFLPA, raised the issue several months ago in a letter to player representatives of the 28 teams that soon became public and caused heated denials from NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.
After Garvey announced formation of the committee today, during the NFLPA's annual Super Bowl press conference, he was asked its purpose, what it could uncover that he did not know before writing the letter.
"Rozelle personalized it (the issue) so much," Garvey said. "We thought a player's committee would establish it, rightly, as a player issue. They want to talk with him about it.
"When they do, it'll be harder for him to face them than me."
Garvey also said today the union has joined the AFL-CIO, but hedged about whether it would support a strike by, say ticket takers at a stadium while expecting them not to cross an NFLPA picket line.
He continued to urge the NFL to eliminate artificial playing surfaces and to expand, both its team roster of players as well as the number of teams. He thought two teams could be added immediately and two more in a few years.
"We made a mistake by agreeing to the present squad size (45 players) when they added two additional games (two years ago)," Garvey said.
The NFLPA is hopeful that Chicago arbitor Bert Luskin will agree with its contention that the owners have failed to operate in good faith with the collective bargaining agreement with regards to free agency.
Few players who have played out their options have been signed by other teams, or even been tendered attractive bids. Instead of being totally free after going through the process again the next season, as the union says they should be, the players have been bound to their teams, with a 10 percent raise.
Luskin's ruling is expected in March.
Garvey also said that 70 percent of the players who responded to an NFLPA poll are "willing to consider" his idea for a wage scale, based on a union split of total gross revenue with the owner. He said 50-50 would be fair.