A CBS executive acknowledged yesterday that the NFL's tactics in negotiating television contracts left his network with the choice of meeting the league's demands for more than $700 million or losing the NFL games.
Neal Pilson, executive vice president of the CBS Broadcast Group and the former head of CBS Sports, testified at the USFL's $1.5 billion antitrust suit against the NFL that he and his network were unwilling to meet the league's opening demand for $780 million. That fee would have covered the 1982-86 regular seasons, two Super Bowls and five NFC championship games.
The issue of NFL pressure on the networks is central in the trial. A major USFL contention is that the NFL pressured the networks not to give the USFL a contract for fall play. One of its demands has been to have the NFL ordered off one of the three major networks. Pilson's testimony did not involve the USFL directly but it did demonstrate how the NFL used pressure in contract negotiations.
Pilson said that as the 1982 negotiations continued, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle told him that he had agreements with ABC to take over a schedule of Sunday games and with NBC to take over CBS' schedule.
"Mr. Rozelle said that if he was unable to make a deal with CBS, we could run the risk of losing our franchise," said Pilson, who said the network eventually agreed to pay $736 million for the NFL rights.
The 1982 negotiations with CBS have come up before in the five weeks of the trial. Rozelle acknowledged some of the facts and described them as typical of financial negotiations. The same description was applied by Roone Arledge, the former head of ABC Sports, who acknowledged that he had agreed with Rozelle to take Sunday afternoon games if CBS or NBC failed to reach an agreement with the NFL . . .
Former Miami Dolphins running back Eugene (Mercury) Morris, a three-time Super Bowl participant, pleaded no contest to a cocaine conspiracy charge in exchange for freedom from prison.
Morris, 39, had served three years in the Dade Correctional Institution after being sentenced to 20 years following his 1982 conviction on four drug-related charges. He was awaiting a new trial, which the state Supreme Court granted in March, when he entered the no-contest plea to one count of conspiracy to traffic in cocaine. As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors dropped three charges.
Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Morphonios sentenced Morris to 4 1/2 years on the conspiracy charge, giving him credit for the time he served before the new trial was ordered. She also awarded him 1 1/2 years credit for good behavior since he entered prison in 1983 . . .
In New Orleans, former Tulane forward Jon Johnson testified he was recruited for a point-shaving scheme during halftime warmups and admonished by star center John Williams during the game to "play lazy defense."
Williams is being tried on three counts of conspiring to fix college basketball games and two counts of carrying out the scheme.
Johnson, testifying under a grant of immunity, said he arrived late for the Memphis State game, still not committed to the plot allegedly cooked up by three Tulane fraternity brothers to fix the game.
He said that while the team was shooting layups at halftime, Williams told him he would give him $500 of his own money to join the scheme and little-used point guard Bobby Thompson said he would triple that amount.
"John Williams, he explained it to me: 'It's got to go down. Quit crashing the boards and playing the way you are playing,' " Johnson testified. "He was all for it -- really serious about it."
John McEnroe confirmed to Wimbledon officials that he would not participate in this year's All-England Championships.
McEnroe became a father last month when his girlfriend, actress Tatum O'Neal, gave birth to a boy.
McEnroe, a three-time Wimbledon champion between 1981 and 1984, gained direct entry into the championships because of his international ranking. However, he has not played competitive tennis since a first-round loss in the Masters at New York in January, and his decision not to compete at Wimbledon was expected . . .
Top-seeded Jimmy Connors and defending champion Boris Becker registered easy third-round victories in the Stella Artois Grass Court Championships at London's Queens Club.
Connors, playing in his first tournament since serving a 10-week suspension, beat 16th-seeded Guy Forget, 6-1, 6-3. Becker, the 1985 Wimbledon champion, beat Simon Youl, 6-3, 6-1.
Stefan Edberg, the No. 3 seed, also moved into the quarterfinals, stopping No. 14 Paul McNamee, 7-5, 6-3. No. 12 Tim Wilkison needed 3 1/2 hours to outlast Todd Nelson, 6-7, 7-6, 13-11. No. 7 Paul Annacone beat Andrew Castle, 6-4, 6-1 . . .
In Edgbaston, England, Larisa Savchenko upset third-seeded Wendy Turnbull, 7-5, 6-2, in the $125,000 Dow Chemicals Classic.
Defending champion and top-seeded Pam Shriver beat Betsy Nagelsen, 7-6, 6-3; No. 2 Manuela Maleeva beat Neige Dias, 6-0, 6-0; fourth-seeded Kathy Jordan beat Elizabeth Smylie, 7-5, 6-3, and No. 10 Alycia Moulton beat Elena Reinach, 6-0, 6-4.
The New England Patriots rewarded Coach Raymond Berry for his success in the 1985 season with a five-year contract.
Berry, 53, led the Patriots to the American Football Conference championship and the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Chicago Bears, 46-10. The Patriots were 11-5 and then won three playoff games on the road to reach the Super Bowl, a first in the NFL . . .
Joe Montana, the quarterback who has led the San Francisco 49ers to two Super Bowl titles, underwent shoulder surgery two weeks ago, it was learned yesterday.
According to Dr. Michael Dillingham, who performed the surgery, a piece of cartilage was removed from Montana's throwing shoulder. "We think he will be ready for the season but there's no way of knowing for certain," Dillingham said.
The Indiana Pacers have rejected the Boston Celtics' offer of center Robert Parish and his new, four-year, $6-million NBA contract for their No. 4 pick in next Tuesday's college draft and a player to be named later, according to yesterday's New York Daily News. The Pacers declined because of Parish's age, the report said. He will be 33 in August . . .
CBS-TV's coverage of the six-game NBA championship series between Boston and Houston drew an average national Nielsen rating of 14.1, the highest rated series in the history of the league, the NBA announced.
It was a 4 percent boost over last year's 13.5 average and surpassed the previous high of 13.7 for the 1974 Boston-Milwaukee title series. Boston's clinching victory in last Sunday's Game 6 drew a 14.2 rating, beating the 12.9 recorded in last year's sixth game between the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.
St. Louis Blues Coach Jacques Demers will leave the National Hockey League club to become the Detroit Red Wings' fourth coach in the last year, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported.
Demers, a finalist for 1985-86 NHL coach of the year, will leave the Blues after three seasons because he was dissatisfied with contract offers from the team, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources. Demers, 41, was one of the lowest paid coaches in the NHL last year, earning $70,000 to $80,000.
Brad Parks was dismissed as the Red Wings' coach June 3.
Sue Tyler, Maryland women's lacrosse coach, has been named the NCAA coach of the year by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches' Association for the second time in three years.
Tyler led the Terrapins to the NCAA Division I title. . . .
Five Virginia players were named to the All-ACC men's lacrosse team, including attackman Roddy Marino, who was named for the fourth consecutive year. The others were goalie Peter Sheehan, defenseman Scott Lind, midfielder Rich Reda and attackman Jeff Nicklas.