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SBD/January 16, 2013/People and Pop CulturePrint All
GEORGE GUND III, who had “the vision to see the potential for hockey's success in the Silicon Valley and then made it happen as the Sharks' original owner, died of cancer” yesterday in Palm Springs, Calif., at 75, according to David Pollak of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Gund, who sold the team in ‘02, may have been “one of the last free-spirited individualists to own a hockey franchise in an increasingly corporate era.” The Sharks will “honor Gund's memory with a decal bearing his initials -- GGIII -- on player helmets during the 2012-13 season.” Those initials also will “appear on a jersey patch.” In the late ‘80s, Gund and his brother, GORDON, owned both the Cavaliers and former NHL Minnesota North Stars. When their “effort to move the North Stars elsewhere failed, the Gunds cut a deal in 1990 to sell that team in exchange for the right to place a franchise in the Bay Area, where George Gund had established a San Francisco home decades earlier.” After he “owned the team for more than a decade, Gund was told by advisers that he needed to sell the franchise.” He asked Prospective Coyotes Owner and former Sharks CEO GREG JAMISON to “round up local investors who would keep the Sharks in San Jose, which Jamison did in 2002, staying on as CEO until 2010” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/16). In Cleveland, Pat Galbincea noted the Gunds bought the Cavaliers from TED STEPIEN in ‘83 for $20M. They sold the team in ‘05 to DAN GILBERT. George Gund also “owned the Cleveland Barons hockey team, along with Gordon, which played two seasons at the old Richfield Coliseum, until merging with the Minnesota North Stars in the summer of 1978.” Former Cavs radio and TV announcer JOE TAIT said, “He wasn't big into basketball like Gordon was. George had more of a passing interest” (CLEVELAND.com, 1/15).
ONE OF A KIND: In San Jose, Mark Purdy writes, “Owners of professional sports teams are always interesting people. But I have never met one who dwelled in even the same hemisphere of unconventionality as Gund.” Gund was “beyond quirky.” However, he also was “one of the most sincere and unpretentious people I've ever met, inside or outside sports.” Gund “might have been too nice of an owner, in fact.” He could be “easily talked into giving people too many chances and paying them too much money” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/16).
With LANCE ARMSTRONG reportedly admitting that he used performance-enhancing drugs in his interview with OPRAH WINFREY which will air tomorrow and Friday nights, the late-night talk shows all skewered the seven-time Tour de France winner. NBC’s Jay Leno said, “According to the CDC, over 128 million flu vaccines have been administered this season. … That's almost as many injections as Lance Armstrong has gotten in his entire career. … Although he denied it for years, it was starting to become obvious. Like that one year he won the race on the stationary bike. … But Lance said he felt like a great weight had been lifted. A huge, oversized weight he never could have lifted naturally. He also told Oprah it gave him chills to talk about this, but that might have been because his blood had been in the refrigerator. The Postal Service may now sue Lance Armstrong for the $30 million they gave him to support his team. You know what Lance should do? Forget the money. Lance should give the Post Office some of those performance-enhancing drugs and maybe we'll get our mail a little quicker” (“The Tonight Show,” NBC, 1/15). ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel said, “Lance Armstrong is in confession mode right now. He did a two-and-a-half-hour interview with Oprah. He admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, which is big news for anyone who loves to hear people confess things everybody already knows about. But inside sources say he refused to come clean about the doping, but then he caved when Oprah promised him a panini maker. Some believe that this apology to Oprah is nothing more than a ploy to win sympathy. I don't know. I happen to think it took a lot of ball to do that” (“Jimmy Kimmel Live,” ABC, 1/15). CBS’ David Letterman said of Armstrong, “He goes on the Oprah Winfrey show and he admits to something that I suspected for a long time. I suspicioned this for a long time. He confesses that he in fact is a lesbian. He kept saying to Oprah -- and God bless Oprah, I think she might have been confused or perhaps poorly informed -- because Lance keeps saying, ‘Yes, I used performance-enhancing drugs. Yes, I did,’ and Oprah kept saying, ‘That's great, but tell us about walking on the moon’” (“Late Show,” CBS, 1/15).
THE COMEDY STORE: Comedy Central's two late-night shows also jumped on the Armstrong story. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert said, “You can feel the energy in this room tonight because there is one story rocking this nation, a bombshell dropped by my hero, Lance Armstrong, master of the two-wheeler. Rumors have been swirling for years around Lance. But unlike most Americans, when times got tough for this man, I did not get off the tandem bike of admiration. No, I saddled up, rang the bell of loyalty, put down the kickstand of support and stayed in it to Schwinn it. And I’ve run out of bike metaphors. Point is, the man is a hero. He beat cancer! Then he went on to beat something even less popular, the French. But folks, yesterday he finally broke his silence in an explosive sit-down with Oprah. Now it does not air until Thursday and security around the interview has been tighter than Lance’s pants. So we know absolutely nothing about it. So of course, all the cable news networks are reporting about it.” Colbert said Winfrey “won’t tell us what Lance said.” So he noted, “If you will not tell us what happened between you and Lance, I have a responsibility as a journalist to make something up” (“The Colbert Report,” Comedy Central, 1/15). Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart said, “I believed in you, Lance Armstrong. I shelled out a dollar for a rubber bracelet that I have somewhere in my house. I did it for you, and when I think of the fact that I spent a dollar. ... Well, I think we all owe cancer an apology. Or is that not the lesson in all this? Well, Armstrong’s a cheater but it’s good news for America’s second-favorite cyclist. … Let’s call him Bikey Joe, I guess." Stewart continued, "Lance Armstrong was doping! Of course he was doping! It’s so obvious. You can beat testicular cancer. You can win the Tour de France, but you can’t win the Tour de France seven times after beating testicular cancer. Or vice versa, which would mean you won the Tour de France and subsequently lost seven testicles. That can’t happen either.” Stewart asked how can Armstrong “find his way back into America’s good graces.” With a report he may testify against others involved in doping, Stewart added, “America doesn’t really like liars, but they love a snitch” (“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” Comedy Central, 1/15).
10) “Artificially enhanced his cycling shorts.”
9) “Still never leaves the house without several vials of clean urine.”
8) “Owns Texas estate known as ‘Rancho Decepto.’”
7) “Took steroids to work up the strength to admit taking steroids.”
6) “Once had an inappropriate relationship with an air hose.”
5) “Also has a tattoo of Rex Ryan’s wife.”
4) “Has given up on making the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
3) “United States Postal Service paid him in stamps.”
2) “Started erotic website, ‘Tour de Pants.’”
1) “Admitted to doping just to get on ‘Oprah.’”
ROY SEINFELD, who developed the sales staff for Pac-12 Enterprises and helped launch the conference's regional networks last year, is joining Learfield Sports as Exec VP/National Sales. Seinfeld will be based in Chicago and oversee Learfield's national sales efforts across its 50-plus schools, conferences and associations where it has multimedia rights. The 20-year veteran of sales at Big Ten Network, Fox Sports and Turner Sports will start with Learfield on Jan. 22. "Learfield has tremendous universities, and there's a ton of potential in bringing all of those assets together," Seinfeld said. "To bring those schools, their radio, their digital, all of that, to the sports market, it's really powerful." Seinfeld will report to Learfield COO ANDY RAWLINGS. Learfield has a national sales staff of six (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).
EXECS: Browns Senior VP/Business Development JIM ROSS, who helped broker the team's stadium naming-rights deal with FirstEnergy, is "leaving the team" (CLEVELAND.com, 1/15)....The North Texas Local Organizing Committee for the '14 NCAA men's basketball tournament named Cowboys Exec VP/Brand Management CHARLOTTE JONES ANDERSON Chair. She will help Cowboys Stadium host two semifinal games and the championship game April 5-7, 2014. Anderson said, "To be able to secure it, to play it at Cowboys Stadium, it's great. It's great for all of us" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/16).
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In Boston, O'Ryan Johnson reports a sculptor "has been selected to design and create a statue honoring" Basketball HOFer BILL RUSSELL. Sculptor ANN HIRSCH said that she "plans to depict 'the whole man' -- Russell as an athlete, coach, human rights advocate and mentor." The Celtics "did not explain why the previous design was scuttled." The statue will feature Russell as a "basketball player on the court in mid-pass, with columns inscribed with quotations that relate to different parts of Russell’s life." There will be "11 columns -- one for each of the NBA championships Russell won as a player." The statue will be placed at Government Center in downtown Boston (BOSTON HERALD, 1/16).
HOUR OF POWER: Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champ BRAD KESELOWSKI on Jan. 25 will "take over for one hour" as radio DJ from 5:00-6:00pm ET on WEND-FM in Charlotte. Keselowski said, "This is something I've wanted to do since I was a kid. I always thought that radio deejays, along with race car drivers, had one of the coolest jobs around. Why wouldn't you like fast cars and rock and roll?" Keselowski will take requests via Twitter, but "only if the requests are accompanied by a donation to his Checkered Flag Foundation, which benefits wounded military members and first responders" (USATODAY.com, 1/15).
COURT REPORT: Attorney LARRY MCGUINNESS on Monday "filed a class-action suit in Miami-Dade County, stating Spurs coach GREGG POPOVICH 'intentionally and surreptitiously' sent their best players home without the knowledge of the league, the team and the fans attending the Nov. 29 game" against the Heat. McGuinness contends that "he, as well as other fans, 'suffered economic damages' as a result of paying a premium price for a ticket that shouldn't cost more" (ESPN.com, 1/15)....S.F.-based investment banker THOMAS WEISEL has been "subpoenaed in connection with the doping scandal" surrounding LANCE ARMSTRONG. Federal investigators are "looking into allegations of fraud committed by Armstrong." Weisel's company, Tailwind Sports, which received $40M in "team sponsorship money from the U.S. Postal Service, is also the target of legal actions" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/16)....Former Syracuse Univ. Athletics Dir of Media Properties & Productions ROGER SPRINGFIELD yesterday was "charged with filming male players on the football, soccer and lacrosse teams in the locker room of the Carrier Dome following four games dating as far back as 2010" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/16).
BACK TO SCHOOL: NFL Panthers QB CAM NEWTON yesterday had his “first day back in school at Auburn as he works to complete his sociology degree.” Newton is not the “only Panthers player back at school this offseason.” LB LUKE KUECHLY is “back at Boston College to finish his marketing degree” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/16).
NAMES: Travel Channel has “greenlit” the reality show “Tailgate Takeover,” which follows host ADAM RICHMAN as he “explores the best tailgate parties around the nation.” The channel “ordered 13 half-hour episodes for summer” (VARIETY.com, 1/15)….Former NBAer JAMAL MASHBURN has acquired an undisclosed stake in privately held Spokane-based hospitality services firm FairBridge Hotels Int'l (Mashburn Enterprises)….Former MLBer BARRY BONDS has put his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., “on the market" for $25M. The house has “seven bedrooms and 14 bathrooms” and the 1.85-acre property includes a pool (WSJ.com, 1/14)….Model KATHERINE WEBB announced yesterday on her Twitter account that she has been “chosen to cover Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans” for “Inside Edition” (AL.com, 1/15)....Thunder Owner CLAY BENNETT yesterday was announced as a member of the '13 Oklahoma Sports HOF (TULSA WORLD, 1/16)....Actor JESSE WILLIAMS yesterday became the eighth owner in the PBA League, taking over the Brooklyn Styles (PBA).
IN MEMORY: Edelman PR Founder DANIEL EDELMAN yesterday died of heart failure in Chicago at 92. Burson-Marsteller Founder & Chair HAROLD BURSON said Edelman was a "real pioneer in marketing communications." Burson added that Edelman's Chicago-based firm, which is “now the largest in the PR industry, was one of the first to leverage TV and talk shows because of Edelman's creativity in promoting products” (PRWEEK.com, 1/15).