SBD/February 2, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

Appeals court rules that France's divorce trial should play out in open court
The N.C. Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that NASCAR Chair & CEO BRIAN FRANCE's "messy divorce and legal dispute with his ex-wife should play out in open court." France and his estranged wife, MEGAN, "had sought to keep their court proceedings secret, but the appeals court upheld a Charlotte judge's order refusing to close their court hearings." The appeals court ruled that France "had failed to show that his interest in keeping the litigation secret outweighed the public's right to open court proceedings." The court did allow "previously filed documents in the case to remain sealed." The appeals court's ruling "can be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/2).

FIGHTING WORDS: Redskins Owner DANIEL SNYDER "has objected" to a November article in the Washington City Paper that "detailed some of his controversial actions as team owner and other reports about him in the weekly publication, and has threatened legal action against the newspaper." The article, "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide To Dan Snyder," detailed "dozens of Snyder's actions as team owner and businessman." Snyder also is "seeking the dismissal of the article's author," staff writer DAVE MCKENNA. In a letter sent to the City Paper's owners after the article's publication, Redskins General Counsel & COO DAVID DONOVAN alleged that Snyder "had been defamed by the publication and that legal action was an option." However, "no lawsuit has been filed" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/2).

NEXT IN LINE? In London, Oliver Owen profiled Just Marketing Int'l Founder & CEO ZAK BROWN, who "might be the man to step into BERNIE ECCLESTONE's shoes" after the F1 Management Chair steps down. Just Marketing "has made Brown not just a very rich man, but a key figure in Formula One." Ecclestone was "happy to offer a rare endorsement," saying, "I know first-hand the determination and drive Zak Brown delivers to the commercial side of Formula One." Brown: "We've done a lot of business with Bernie. You'll see us in Singapore, China, Daytona. Sponsorship is the world we live in and we do more of it than anyone else." But Brown added, "It will be impossible to replace Bernie. You'd certainly have to approach it with a bit of a team. You'd need a chief executive, but Bernie's got such a unique skill set that I look around the world and I don't know if you could pop in and be Bernie overnight" (London OBSERVER, 1/30).

NAMES: Former MLBer MIKE PIAZZA "has been working on his memoir, to be published in early 2012 by Simon & Schuster." Simon & Schuster Dir of Publicity TRACEY GUEST said that Piazza is working with author LONNIE WHEELER. Guest added Piazza would write about "his entire baseball career, including his years with the Dodgers and the Mets, and will address the subject of steroids" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/2)....MMA fighter ANDERSON SILVA "has signed with 9ine, the upstart sports marketing firm of soccer great RONALDO." The company "officially launches in March." Silva "will still be managed" by ED SOARES and JORGE GUIMARAES, while 9ine will "look to secure sponsorships and opportunities to develop the brand" of Silva (, 2/1)....The Tennessee Sports HOF named country music singer KENNY CHESNEY its Tennessean of the Year for his ESPN documentary "The Boys of Fall." The film "examines the positive effects of playing football." Chesney "donated 10,000 DVD copies of the film to high schools and coaches of high school football teams" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 2/2)....Packers college scout ALONZO HIGHSMITH was named the NFL Scout of the Year (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 2/2).
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