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Reggie Lewis' widow, DONNA HARRIS-LEWIS was interviewed on "CBS This Morning." Harris-Lewis: "He never was never asked to take a drug test. And I think if one paid attention to the Sports Illustrated article, Dr. Munn also refute the Wall Street Journal article that he did not ask Reggie to take a drug test" ("CBS This Morning," 3/17).... During the long strike layoff, Red Sox infielder TIM NAEHRING has started a charitable corporation called "Athletes Reach Out." Naehring is seeking a corporate sponsor for his program, which aims to reach 50,000 kids in schools in Boston and Cincinnati (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/16).... Whalers Owner PETER KARMANOS figures prominently in a DETROIT FREE PRESS piece on the future of the sports industry. Karmanos: "The golden age of sports is over. The golden age of sports business has just begun" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/14)....O.J. SIMPSON "Dream Team" attorney ROBERT SHAPIRO was seen at last night's L.A. Kings game (ESPN, 3/16).... GRANT HILL appeared on NBC's "Tonight Show" last night. Hill said after meeting JULIUS ERVING recently, Dr. J gave him his phone number. Hill: "I'm like a little kid, calling up and hanging up when the answering machine is done. I would call and listen to it and hang up. I would call and listen to it and hang up. So Doc, if you're out there and you have some crank calls, that's me calling, so don't be too upset." Hill also played one-on-one with CHEVY CHASE (NBC, 3/16)....LAWRENCE TAYLOR, on not being with TNT anymore: "They do WCW wrestling and I'm in WWF wrestling, and that doesn't make good copy" ("Up Close," ESPN, 3/16). ....JODY SHAPIRO has been promoted to VP & GM at Home Team Sports, the MD-based regional sports network. Shapiro was VP/Programming and Network Development. BILL ABER has left to become GM of WBZ-TV in Boston (HTS).
During the halftime of last night's TBS NBA game, Craig Sager reported, "I met with Scottie Pippen privately this morning before practice and he was all smiles, indicating Jordan's return is inevitable. His representative said that Pippen's contract has not been altered, nor can it be until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, however teammate Larry Krystowiak says that Pippen's change is obvious" (TBS, 3/16)....Bulls Coach Phil Jackson said yesterday an announcement could come "within the next three or four days" and the delay has been because "it's not a done deal." Jordan avoided the throng outside of the Bulls' suburban Chicago practice facility and did not practice with the team (Melissa Isaacson, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/17).
The consecutive game streak of Cal Ripken has been the focus of a great deal of media attention as the regular season is poised to begin with replacement players that could possibly end Ripken's quest. Yesterday, THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY spoke with Ripken's agent, Ron Shapiro, about the effect the work stoppage has had on his client and The Streak's place as an issue in the ongoing work stoppage. THE DAILY: What are you advising your client? SHAPIRO: When you have a client like Cal Ripken, you really don't have to give him a lot of advice -- for two reasons. First, Cal doesn't put his individual accomplishments on a level with his responsibilities to his fellow teammates and his fellow baseball players. And secondly, he is a man who doesn't -- and maybe this is what makes it possible for him to accomplish things like the so-called streak -- he is a man who doesn't deal with the hypothetical. He deals with issues by confronting them straight on. At the present time, the issue of how things are going to impact on his streak is still somewhat hypothetical. I should emphasize that there were times this past year when Cal suffered injuries and assessed, not whether or not he should extend his streak by appearing in the next game, but whether or not the injury would stand in the way of his producing what he had to produce for the team. People who knew him well were somewhat shocked not to think that he wasn't thinking what they were thinking -- and that is, what is going to happen to his streak. THE DAILY: Is this a looming PR disaster for the owners with the all the emotion the fans feel for Cal's streak? SHAPIRO: What is going to come back and bite the owners, and in fact everyone affiliated with the game, is that the fans are getting increasingly disgusted and increasingly disinterested with the whole concept of the game of baseball. The streak symbolizes something for the fans. Baseball was something that was there throughout the summer on an everyday basis, and Cal Ripken was someone who was there on an everyday basis. It was a reliable part of their lives, and the fact that the work stoppage could undo the streak goes to the heart of what the fans feel they are being deprived in terms of baseball from day to day. So, it certainly symbolizes something in the minds of fans and those who follow the game. THE DAILY: Is there any pressure from the union on Cal to use the streak as a bargaining chip? SHAPIRO: The union has offered on several occasions to relax rules, or to get Cal out there if he wanted them to consider it, so that he could keep playing and he said 'By no means do I get treated specially.' There has been no pressure by the union for Cal to use the streak, however Cal has been viewed by his fellow players as a man making perhaps even a greater sacrifice than other players and it allowed him to be a catalyst for solidarity because he has chosen to make it a catalyst. For example, in the most recent meeting of high profile players, Cal didn't speak for a long time, but when one of the players called on him to speak, Cal was a very significant force in solidifying opinion about the importance of solidarity and their support of the union. And that is not hard for Cal to do, he doesn't need the union to tell him that. THE DAILY: What does Cal have to lose or gain in terms of endorsements from ther streak? SHAPIRO: There is no question that Cal is the modern Iron Man of baseball and, in many ways, the all-time Iron Man because of the hundreds and hundreds or perhaps thousands of more innings that he has played than Lou Gehrig. That has already given him a special spot in the constellation of endorsement opportunities out there. Nevertheless, hitting and surpassing a historic record that people said was unobtainable by anyone in the modern age of baseball, particularly someone that plays the position of shortstop, would open even new doors of opportunities for him. He would be the ultimate in strength, dependability, durability, all the things potential endorsement sponsors would love to have in a spokesperson, and so there are going to be some lost opportunities. ... But in the end if he is denied the opportunity to break Lou Gehrig's streak, he will be denied some endorsement opportunities.