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Police provocation to blame: White

Green Bay Packers defensive star Reggie White told high school students that police provoke young black men to put them behind bars.

White also said he believes in a conspiracy to prevent a cure for AIDS and to promote practices that lead to abortions and fetal-tissue research, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported Saturday.

"There's a lot of focus on you all and a lot of that focus is on (putting) you in jail. That's why police harass a bunch of you guys, because they want you to snap," White, a former University of Tennessee standout, said Friday.

"Why do you think they're talking about building more prisons instead of creating opportunities for you? Because they want you in jail. They want you to be ignorant. As much as they say they want you to study, study, study, they don't want you to study. They're just saying that so they can stay in office."

To blacks who kill blacks in drive-by shootings, White said, "You are just as bad as a Klansman."

White, who is an ordained minister, urged students to avoid violence, gain knowledge and get involved in their community and government.

White spoke to students at Austin-East and West high schools on behalf of LeRoy Thompson's Team Dream Foundation.

Thompson, an Austin-East alumnus and NFL running back, is involved in community service among Knoxville's inner-city poor.

"Reggie's opinions are his own opinions," Thompson said.

TV MONEY PLAN: Even though the league has $4.4-billion in television money and stands to increase that take, the league is making plans in case bad times hit.

So, in very preliminary talks, commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Gene Upshaw, the leader of the union, have discussed setting aside a so-far unspecified chunk of future TV money.

"With enough money, we might want to negotiate with the union," Tagliabue said. "I've broached it with the union. We have a healthy economy. Six straight years of growth. And we have prospects for substantial revenue increases from television. In a rainy-day fund, you'd maybe defer some TV money the first year, and then if you need it, you have it, and if not, it would be redistributed to the players," as an increase to the pension fund, or in lump-sum payments to players. "Right now, it's just a concept."

As the largest source of money that flows into the NFL, television revenues have the greatest impact on the income that flows out to players, and on setting the salary cap. The amount of money that would be diverted into any possible fund could slow salary growth.

Tagliabue did not specify which woes would trigger the need to dip into such an account.

49ERS: As Kansas City put the finishing touches on its deal with Elvis Grbac, San Francisco has resumed its scramble to find a backup quarterback.

A strong candidate is Heath Shuler, a restricted free agent who spent his first three seasons with Washington and recently worked out for the 49ers.

"We liked Shuler at his workout," 49ers director of football operations Dwight Clark said. "It's hard to tell what Washington would want in regards to compensation. We know it's not a first- and a third-round draft pick, but we have to see. We'll get a little more serious on Monday. I'm also going to give (agent) Tom Condon a call to see what kind of financial compensation they're looking for."

Among other available veterans is Kansas City's Steve Bono, who played for the 49ers from 1989 to '93, backing up Joe Montana, then Steve Young. Bono, still under contract with the Chiefs, lost his starting job to Rich Gannon last season and is waiting to be traded or waived.

Meanwhile, Grbac is expected to sign with the Chiefs on Monday. Terms of the deal have not been released, but it reportedly will pay Grbac more than $20-million over five years.