Thursday, September 23, 1999

Dispute leaves Bengals, Reds in turf war

NFL team vetoes grass field after schedule conflict

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Reds won't get grass in Cinergy Field until they resolve a conflict that has them playing at home the same night the Bengals open Paul Brown Stadium.

        The NFL team fears a “parking nightmare” the night of Aug. 20, when the Bengals are scheduled to play the Chicago Bears in an exhibition game and the Reds are to play the Pittsburgh Pirates.

        Bengals President Mike Brown said Wednesday his team has had a written request to the Reds on the table since February, asking the baseball team to clear the last two weekends in August.

        Since the Reds didn't accommodate the Bengals, Brown said the Bengals won't accommodate the Reds' request and won't amend their lease to install grass for the 2000 season.

        Brown said the Bengals schedule their exhibition games before the Reds schedule regular-season games, and the Reds schedule their games before the NFL regular-season schedule is released.

        “You have to block out weekends so that we have our share and they have their share,” Brown said. “That's immenently doable. But (the Reds) took the position that they can't do anything, that it has to be approved by Major League Baseball.

        “Of course,” Brown said, “it's the same with us. We can't do anything to change our lease without a vote of 31 NFL owners. I guess that puts us at an impasse.”

        Brown said it would take several months to get such a change approved after it went through committee and a vote of the full ownership. The Bengals' lease at Cinergy, which gives them veto power, is good until the club occupies the new stadium next summer.

        The Bengals said they have scheduled around the Reds for 30 years and this was their first scheduling request since Cinergy was built.

        John Allen, the Reds managing executive, couldn't be reached for comment.


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