Rooneys to meet about Steelers' sale at request of Goodell

Updated: August 4, 2008, 8:53 PM ET
Associated Press

LATROBE, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and his four brothers will meet soon at the request of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to help resolve the team's unsettled ownership situation.

A date for the meeting has not been announced.

At least three Rooney brothers want to share their shares -- each owns 16 percent -- to avoid costly future inheritance taxes for their children and grandchildren. The NFL also wants one owner to control a majority stake, although Dan Rooney -- who has run the team since the early 1970s -- owns only 16 percent himself.

Dan Rooney and son Art Rooney II, the team president, are attempting to buy enough shares to be the primary owners, but their two previous offers were for much less money than the Rooney brothers could sell for the open market. Those brothers apparently want to sell to Stanley Druckenmiller, a billionaire investor and Steelers fan who wants to buy into the team only if he has the majority stake.

If Druckenmiller becomes the primary owner, the Steelers will not be owned by the Rooney family for the first time since founder Art Rooney Sr. briefly sold the team in 1941 before repurchasing it a few months later.

Goodell asked for the meeting last weekend after being briefed on negotiations by former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who is working as a consultant on the sale at Goodell's request.

Several Rooney brothers have decided to sell partly because they own shares of racetracks that now offer casino gaming not permitted by the NFL. Brothers Tim and Pat Rooney, who are involved in the family's racing business, have resigned from the Steelers board of directors and brother Art Rooney Jr., a former Steelers scouting director, has sold off most of his race track shares. The other brother, John, is believed to want to sell his shares.

The other 20 percent stake in the Steelers is owned by the family of the late Barney McGinley, who helped Art Rooney Sr. reacquire the Steelers in 1941.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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