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Arena News....Bruce Smith


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Did you know Bruce was half owner of the Norfolk Nighthawks, an af2 team? Check this out... (from Sports Business Journal)

The NFL is at it again the Austin and now the af2. From this weeks Sports Business Journal


The NFL plans to investigate Washington Redskins defensive end Bruce Smith's ownership of an Arena Football 2 team and has advised another group of active players that the league constitution prohibits them from buying into a proposed AFL expansion team.

Smith has owned the AF2 Norfolk (Va.) Nighthawks for three years and has made no secret of it, but NFL officials said they just learned last week of his interest in the team. The NFL constitution states that no employee or player may own a professional football team, said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.

"We are going to investigate the matter, and we will leave it at that," he said of Smith's ownership of the team.

Smith was unavailable for comment at press time.

A possible review comes at the same time fellow NFL players Mark Brunell, Leonard Davis and Mike Williams are part of an ownership group the AFL recently approved to own an expansion team in Austin, Texas. "We have advised the group that it does violate the constitution and bylaws," McCarthy said of that situation.

NFL Players Association general counsel Richard Berthelsen noted that several NFL team owners own AFL franchises and said he plans to discuss the league's concerns about players owning AFL teams with NFL officials.

Agent Leigh Steinberg, who represents Smith, Davis and Brunell, also is part of the planned Austin ownership group. Berthelsen said Steinberg may be able to own a small piece of the franchise if the NFLPA's agent disciplinary committee approves it. NFLPA regulations ban agents from owning professional football teams when the ownership creates a conflict of interest with the agent's representation of NFL players.

Steinberg said he would not buy a piece of the franchise unless the NFLPA approves it. The players he represents, he said, "will wait for a definitive ruling by the NFL and abide by it." Brunell, Davis and Williams were not available for comment.

The Austin group is led by financial adviser Greg Feste. The AFL originally gave the group until Sept. 15 to reach a deal to play in Austin's Frank Erwin Center but has since extended the deadline. As of last Thursday, no deal had been signed.

Group spokeswoman Suzanne Erickson could not immediately be reached for comment on the NFL's position on player involvement. She previously has said that there would not be a problem replacing the players with other investors.

AFL spokesman Chris McCloskey said the indoor league does not prohibit players in other leagues from owning AFL teams.

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