KNOXVILLE, TENN., NOV. 9 -- NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue reiterated his position today that if Arizona does not legalize a holiday for Martin Luther King then Phoenix should not be the site to the 1993 Super Bowl.
"I have to make a recommendation and if I made it today it would be the same as Wednesday," he said. "It's an Arizona game, but we have to deal with it on both a state and national level."
That statement quieted speculation that the NFL might permit Phoenix to hold the game without joining most of the rest of the United States in honoring King. Tagliabue apparently fueled such a possibility with remarks in Richmond Thursday that left the door open despite Arizona voters' rejection Tuesday of a King holiday.
What Tagliabue did was give Arizona the opportunity to pass legislation authorizing a King holiday before the game is moved officially. Such legislation is being introduced by Art Hamilton, minority leader of the Arizona House.
"I told the people in Phoenix that we're trying to keep the door open and trying to act in a fair-minded and responsible way," Tagliabue had said in Richmond. "We're not trying to do anything punitive. I felt there was a very negative and divisive message in that vote rejecting the holiday and that it was inappropriate to play the game under those circumstances."
He said he had received Wednesday the report of the investigation of the Lisa Olson-New England Patriots incident and "I will be doing something in the next couple of weeks. I can give no hints whatsoever of what that might be."
The NFL is continuing to move toward expansion in 1993 despite the downturn in the economy, he said, adding, "The economy turning sour raises questions in some people's minds, but we are going to continue our investigations in communities with the interest and potential for supporting pro football."
He and wife Chandler are here as guests of Lamar Alexander, president of the University of Tennessee and the commissioner's roommate at New York University Law School.
Besides holding a press conference, Tagliabue spoke to a sports law class, attended a meeting of the Tennessee football team and lunched with Tennessee Coach Johnny Majors, the president of the American Football Coaches Association, and Athletic Director Doug Dickey.