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Sports leagues, USOC have been contacted

2/29/2004

The White House wants to organize a summit of representatives
from the major sports leagues and the U.S. Olympic Committee to
discuss steroid use by athletes.

Officials at major league baseball, the NFL, NBA, NHL and USOC
confirmed Sunday they were contacted by the White House about such
a meeting.

The White House had no immediate comment Sunday.

Spokesmen for the NFL, NBA and baseball said those sports would
participate but added no date had been set. NHL spokesman Frank
Brown would not say whether the league plans to take part.

NFL Players' Association executive director Gene Upshaw said he
would be interested in taking part in the meeting -- but only if
others participate.

"We're not looking to be in a position to be the only ones at a
summit," Upshaw said in a telephone interview.

The USOC said it welcomed a chance to participate.

"We look forward to working with the White House in this
important endeavor," USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said. "There is
no room for the use of banned or illegal substances in sport."

The Washington Post first reported on the proposed summit
Sunday, saying officials from the major sports leagues tentatively
agreed to attend the meeting. Citing administration officials, the
newspaper reported that there has been resistance to the meeting
from the baseball players' union, which reportedly told the administration that baseball's steroids policy is a subject for collective bargaining and is not the federal government's responsibility.

Gene Orza, associate general counsel of the union, did not
immediately return several calls Sunday.

The meeting would be an attempt by the White House to hold
discussions with the leagues and athletes and raise awareness about
steroid use in sports, Bush administration officials told The
Washington Post.

In his State of the Union address, President Bush -- a former
owner of baseball's Texas Rangers -- called on leagues to adopt
tougher drug policies.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.