The NFL asked Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer yesterday to explain Manchester United's relationship with a Las Vegas casino, a venture that could run afoul of the league's policies concerning gambling.
The request came during the NFL's spring meetings, the owners' first gathering since Glazer's $1.47 billion takeover of the world's most valuable soccer club.
League spokesman Greg Aiello said Glazer's acquisition did not violate the NFL's cross-ownership rules and that there was no problem related to the debt Glazer is incurring.
But the league, known to be skittish about any connection to gambling, wants to know more about a proposed resort and casino that would be built near Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium as a joint venture between the club and Las Vegas Sands Corp.
''The only potential issue concerns that reported Man U joint venture with the Las Vegas casino, what that means, and does it have any implications regarding our policies," Aiello said.
A billion reasons no
New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson said he'll ignore a record $1 billion offer for his team and won't decide about moving the club in a stadium dispute until the 2005 season is over. Benson said several people have contacted him about buying the franchise, including a group in Los Angeles, which hasn't had an NFL team since 1994. Benson declined to identify the groups . . . Racial diversity within NFL coaching staffs and front offices is improving while its players' union continues to excel, according to a University of Central Florida study. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports awarded the NFL grades of B for race and a D-plus for gender, although the league has a higher percentage of woman executives at the very top than the other major men's sports leagues . . . NFL owners outlawed ``horse-collar" tackles, the type of play that left All-Pro receiver Terrell Owens with a broken leg last season. The tackle, which is made when a defender grabs the inside of a running back or receiver's shoulder pads from behind and pulls him down, will result in a 15-yard penalty . . . A passel of free agent signings: The Minnesota Vikings and kicker Paul Edinger, who had been with the Chicago Bears for five seasons, agreed to terms on a one-year contract; the Arizona Cardinals inked wide receiver Charles Lee, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, to a one-year contract; and safety Cory Hall signed with the Washington Redskins after two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons . . . Tennessee Titans tight end Ben Troupe has a foot injury but it should not affect his availability this season.