Schmoke tussles on 'Nightline' for loose ball of NFL franchise

November 30, 1993|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

Whether the goal of an NFL franchise is worth the price to state and city governments was debated before a national television audience early today, with a football-hungry Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke among the participants and a local naysayer bumped from the lineup.

Speaking on the ABC show "Nightline," Mr. Schmoke said ... ... TC football team is part of the "glue" holding a community together. "You have to have a balance. You have to have many things to make a livable community," he said, particularly for a city that had its team "snatched away."

Another panelist, Charles C. Euchner, a Holy Cross College political science professor and author of the book, "Playing the Field: Why Sports Teams Move and Cities Fight to Keep Them," said that "quality of life is a terrific idea" but "involves a whole lot more than getting a football team." He said cities are wooing football teams at a time when their infrastructure is crumbling, when such priorities as schools, housing and libraries are being neglected.

But Mr. Schmoke said it was not such an "either-or situation" in Baltimore, that pursuing an NFL franchise was appropriate "as long as we are pursuing other things, too."

State Sen. Julian L. Lapides, a Baltimore Democrat who opposes government spending on stadiums, had been invited to appear on the show yesterday but was replaced by Mr. Euchner -- a lineup change that "Nightline" officials said was intended to give a more national appearance.

Mr. Lapides, reached at home, said: "I think I was going to say on national television that I wish the cities and states would have the guts to just say, 'Stuff it.' "

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