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  • CELTICS SET TO HONOR LEWIS AMID STORIES OF COCAINE USE

         The Celtics will go ahead with their planned ceremony to
    honor Reggie Lewis by retiring his No. 35, despite more stories
    in recent days alleging cocaine use by the late Celtics captain.
    Celtics GM M.L. Carr, who said the team never considered delaying
    the ceremony, "chose to focus his thoughts on the work Lewis did
    in the community and the leadership he gave the team as captain
    in 1992-93."  During the halftime ceremony, Carr, Larry Bird,
    Celtics President Red Auerbach, NBA Commissioner David Stern and
    Dee Brown will speak along with Lewis' widow, Donna Harris-Lewis
    (Michael Holley, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/22).  Attending a telethon for
    the Reggie Lewis Foundation last night, Bird said of his former
    teammate:  "He played very hard, and he worked very hard.  This
    other stuff I've heard about him, I just don't believe" (Michael
    Holley, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/22).
         AND NOW, THE BAD NEWS:  Yesterday, the GLOBE and the BOSTON
    HERALD both had front-page stories on Lewis' alleged cocaine use.
    The GLOBE piece cited friend and former college teammate Derrick
    Lewis (no relation), who confirmed what he had previously told
    the WALL STREET JOURNAL about Lewis' "social use" of cocaine.
    Derrick Lewis added that he, Reggie Lewis, Len Bias and an
    unidentified fourth person used cocaine together during
    basketball camp in 1985.  Derrick Lewis also said that he and
    Lewis did cocaine in 1993, less than a week before Reggie Lewis
    collapsed in a playoff game (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE,
    3/21).  The HERALD cited a "self-professed former drug dealer"
    who said he sold cocaine to Lewis on two occassions in the summer
    of 1988 (Flynn & Buckley, BOSTON HERALD, 3/21).
         TODAY'S HEADLINES:  Today's HERALD has two more front-page
    stories.  One cites a "medical source close to his case" who said
    that Lewis "was a regular, heavy user of cocaine -- and continued
    to use it even after collapsing during his final NBA game.  Lewis
    admitted to at least one of his doctors that he used cocaine
    prior to every home game as a 'performance enhancer.'"  According
    to the source, Lewis "would not -- or could not --stop, even
    after he was warned following the collapse that continued use
    would kill him."  Celtics Exec VP Jan Volk:  "This is an
    incredibly bold statement to be made under the claok of an
    unnamed source and an obvious violation of medical ethics.  I
    have absolutely no knowledge of the conduct suggested" (Michael
    Lasalandra, BOSTON HERALD, 3/22).  The other piece alleges that
    cocaine use "was common" among the Celtics during the 1980s.  The
    article cites "Laura," a Boston woman who regularly partied with
    the teame, and includes confirmation from Robert Long, a former
    member of the State Police Narcotics Unit.  Long said alleged use
    among the Celtics and other Boston-area athletes was "common
    knowledge," but never probed because the violations never went
    beyond recreational use (Ralph Ranalli, BOSTON HERALD, 3/22).
         BACKING OFF HIS STORY:  Last night, ESPN's Keith Olbermann
    said that Derrick Lewis had called ESPN Tuesday night and "said
    he never saw Reggie Lewis or Len Bias use cocaine"
    ("SportsCenter," 3/21).  The GLOBE stands by its story, and
    reports that Derrick Lewis called MacMullan and told her:  "I'm
    sorry, I'm sorry, but I just can't take the heat.  Everybody down
    here is saying that I'm the guy that sold out my buddy, so I'm
    taking it all back"  MacMullan says she has the original 2 1/2
    hour interview with Derrick Lewis is on tape (BOSTON GLOBE,
    3/22).  Donna Harris-Lewis responded to Derrick Lewis' original
    statement:  "Consider the source.  What is Derrick Lewis doing?
    Where is he in his life?  He's desperate! ... I hold firm:  My
    husband was not a user, and he did not do cocaine" (WCVB-TV,
    3/20).
         DRUG POLICY UNDER FIRE:  In his column this morning, Will
    McDonough writes, "The drug policies in pro sports are a farce,
    but the NBA's is the most hypocritical.  A player is tested only
    when he comes into the league.  So players are told by their
    agents to be clean for the test, then get a free ticket for their
    whole career. ... When it comes to drugs, the Celtics don't want
    to see a thing.  Isn't it now hard to believe that the front
    office people, his coaches and his teammates could be around
    Reggie for all those years and not know he was using?" (BOSTON
    GLOBE, 3/22).
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Celtics, ESPN, Franchises, NBA, Walt Disney
  • CHARLOTTE PUTS A CHECK ON MOVE TO THE AHL

         The ECHL Charlotte Checkers are refusing an offer to move to
    the AHL.  Team President Carl Scheer said yesterday the team has
    removed its AHL application and will remain in the ECHL.  Scheer
    said the team had "made remarkable progress in the ECHL" and felt
    that "with our current business plan we can help the ECHL grow
    into a first-class minor league."  ECHL Commissioner Pat Kelley
    announced that the Richmond team will also stay in the league,
    with Hampton Roads and South Carolina also "a very good
    possibility to stay" (Cliff Mehrtens, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/22).
    

    Print | Tags: AHL, ECHL, Franchises
  • GLAZERS HOPE FOR FAN SUPPORT AND NEW UNIFORMS FOR THEIR BUCS

         In a one-on-one interview with the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, new
    Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer's oldest son, Bryan spoke on the
    family's plan for the team.  On the lowering of ticket prices,
    Glazer said their "intention was do things that was different
    from other teams in the league. ... Some teams will be left
    behind in the era of the salary cap and the labor agreement, some
    of the old-style teams that have not adapted to this change.  And
    I think you already are starting to see that."  Glazer added that
    they would have liked to change their uniforms for '95, but were
    not allowed by NFL Properties.  Glazer: "We were disappointed
    that we must wait a year, because you could come in there with a
    whole new image" (Don Banks, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/22).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • LEIWEKE RESIGNS FROM NUGGETS OPERATION, CITES BURNOUT

         In an "emotional address at McNichols Arena," Rocky Mountain
    Entertainment President Tim Leiweke resigned after two months as
    head of the Nuggets' "off-court operation."  Leiweke had been
    with the Nuggets for four years, "turning around" the team's
    "flagging business and marketing operation."  Leiweke cited the
    stress of 12-hour days and the building of a new arena and
    "courtship" of the NHL as the main reasons for his departure.
    Leiweke: "I don't want to die before I turn 40. ... The stress
    and tension, especially the last few weeks, I quite frankly have
    not handled as well as I would like to. ... I really was not
    happy with what I was turning into."  But the "timing of his
    announcement, coming one month after an organizational shakeup
    that stripped him of his title as President of the Nuggets, was
    hard to overlook."  During the restructuring, the perception in
    Denver was that Leiweke "was being kicked aside" to make room for
    new President Bernie Bickerstaff's "ever increasing profile."
    Charlie Lyons, President of Comsat, the owner of the Nuggets,
    said such talk didn't make Leiweke "feel any better about his
    job. ... You could see it in his eyes."  Leiweke will work as a
    consultant to Comsat, but his role remains undefined.  Gary
    Hunter, Nuggets VP of Business Operations, will take over
    Leiweke's job, but the position of President of Rocky Mountain
    Entertainment will remain vacant (Dave Krieger, ROCKY MOUNTAIN
    NEWS, 3/22).
    

    Print | Tags: Denver Nuggets, Franchises, NHL
  • PADRES PICK NEW AD AGENCY FOR '95 SEASON

         The Padres have selected Di Zinno Thompson Integrated
    Marketing Solutions to handle their advertising for the '95
    season.  Di Zinno Thompson plans on a multi-tiered campaign that
    will feature two phases: one for the current situation and one
    for when the strike is settled.  New Padres CEO Larry Lucchino:
    "This is a challenging assignment. ... To be sure, our Padres
    fans have endured a period of frustration and disappointment.
    Our hope is that Di Zinno Thompson will communicate our basic
    message, 'We are committed to these fans, and we want them
    back.'"  Di Zinno Thompson's strategy will include print, TV,
    radio, outdoor billboards, direct mail and database marketing
    (Padres/Di Zinno Thompson)
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, San Diego Padres
  • TARGET CENTER MANAGER TO MEET WITH BETTMAN

         Dana Warg, who runs the Target Center for Ogden Corp., will
    meet NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to inform the NHL that the
    deal between the arena and the city of Minneapolis is complete
    and to "give parameters on what would take place if an NHL team
    came here," according to this morning's ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS.
    There has been increased speculation the Jets will move to
    Minneapolis if their arena deal is not complete by May 1.  Ward
    said that T-Wolves Owner Glen Taylor has first rights to purchase
    the team and "bring it here," but that he had two other
    interested investors.  The "consensus seems to be that, if the
    Jets do move, it will be to Minnesota," writes Tom Powers.  If
    the Jets move, the NHL would like to see them go to MN, rather
    than taking away profitable expansion fees.  Powers adds that
    "the league owes Minnesota" after the Stars left for Dallas (ST.
    PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 3/22).  PIONEER-PRESS Columnist Charley
    Walters, noting reports that Jets owner Barry Shenkarow figures
    he can sell the team for $75M to MN interests, writes that Taylor
    would be interested, "but not at anything near that price."
    Wolves President Rob Moor, said $75M is "not a number we'd be
    leaping at" -- after "he finished laughing."  Taylor will pay all
    property taxes on the Target Center and any other party
    interested in putting an NHL team there would have to negotiate
    with him.  But Walters writes "that wouldn't preclude anyone else
    from buying and operating a NHL club in Minneapolis" (ST. PAUL
    PIONEER-PRESS, 3/21).  The Manitoba Entertainment Complex is
    attempting to buy 64% of Shenkarow's stake in the Jets for C$32M,
    but their ability to come up with the money is uncertain.
    Taylor "would have no trouble raising" the $32M, which is
    "preferable to bidding" for a team on the open market (Lance
    Hornsby, TORONTO SUN, 3/22).
    

    Print | Tags: Dallas Stars, Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Jets, NHL, Southwest Sports Group
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