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SBD/March 25, 2013/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles on Saturday said Just Marketing International Founder & CEO Zak Brown is “interested in doing something" with the Izod IndyCar Series, adding Brown's "only interest would be if we put the pieces together and he was the head of racing,” according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. Brown on Friday attended the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, “talking to several team owners, Miles and board members before leaving for vacation on Saturday.” Miles said there are a few potential candidates for IndyCar CEO who he has “looked at the resumes and thought 'this might work.’” But he added that conversations with Brown “are the most serious.” Miles said of Brown, “He's got a complicated life that he's got to sort out, and we've also got to do our due diligence.” Fryer noted JMI does a “large amount of business in Formula One that has Brown in Europe quite often, and he was recently considering a full-time move to London with plans to search for a home for his family this month.” Brown in an e-mail wrote, “I have a lot of passion for IndyCar and I'm getting to know Mark. We are exploring to see if there's a way to work together.” IndyCar and NASCAR team owner Roger Penske “wants the focus to be on moving the series forward." He said that team owners have "wasted too much time starting fires over small issues instead of concentrating on growth.” Penske: “We've never had a strong enough leader as they do in NASCAR to say, 'Hey guys, here's the rules, here's how we race, and guess what, if you don't like it, park your car outside and sit in the stands.' That's what we need. We need some leadership.” IndyCar and NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi said of IndyCar, "They have incompetent people tackling the issues" (AP, 3/23).
LOOK WHO'S BACK: The AP reported IndyCar Founder Tony George on Friday "was reinstated" to the Hulman & Co. BOD, "five months after resigning after a failed attempt to reacquire the series." The decision to bring George back onto the board was "made after the family members met in St. Petersburg for their annual shareholder meeting" (AP, 3/22).
STRONG & GROWING? St. Petersburg officials estimate that “more than 100,000 people" attended the Honda Grand Prix over the three-day season-opening event. In Tampa, Mark Puente notes that figure “has grown from 65,000 in 2005.” Tampa Mayor Bill Foster said that he “noticed more people at Friday's events this year than at any other day of the three-day events in prior years” (TAMA BAY TIMES, 3/25).
ON THE RED CARPET: IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti said, “The one really positive thing I see this year is the introduction of the animated film from DreamWorks, ‘Turbo.’ That to me is going to be huge.” He added of the movie characters, “A couple of the drivers will see bits and pieces of other drivers. It’s quite funny. I’ve been involved with it as a consultant, so I’ve been sitting and laughing at different bits. I’ve seen about 80 percent of the film now, and it’s incredible. It’s like working with a race team, a bunch of engineers. The attention to detail these guys have is incredible” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).
MLB took the “unusual step Friday of filing a lawsuit in Florida state court, accusing six people connected to a South Florida anti-aging clinic of damaging the sport by providing various players with prohibited substances,” according to Eder & Schmidt of the N.Y. TIMES. The suit is “one of the more aggressive moves that Major League Baseball has taken in an attempt to combat doping in its game, and it could open the door for officials in other sports to file similar suits against those who they think provided their players with banned drugs.” The suit was “filed against the clinic, Biogenesis of America; a predecessor company called Biokem that operated out of the same office; and six people connected to the clinic.” While legal experts are giving MLB “credit for developing a new strategy through the use of a lawsuit, some are skeptical it will succeed because of the difficulties in litigating such matters” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/23). USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale noted the complaint "charges that Anthony Bosch, in his role as program director of Biogenesis and Biokem, provided performance-enhancing drugs to players, and personally administered the drugs to players at their homes or hotel rooms.” Juan Carlos Nunez, a former employee of agents Sam and Seth Levinson, is charged with having “solicited, sold, supplied, or otherwise made available” PEDs to players from Biogenesis or Biokem. MLB's attorneys believe the suit “has a legitimate claim, and that a judgment that shows interference against the contract, could be extremely beneficial for the sport in the future.” They also could “benefit if those connected to the Biogenesis and Biokem clinics are now forced to fully cooperate with its investigators, perhaps leading to widespread suspensions.” A source said that there are “at least 90 players whose names appear in the Biogenesis clinical records” (USATODAY.com, 3/22).
END GAME? In Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt wrote the suit is “being viewed as another attempt by MLB to get cooperation in its investigation of the clinic.” The league “does not have subpoena power and otherwise would need documentary evidence or witness testimony to suspend a player for using PEDs.” MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner on Friday said, "They believe it necessary to enforce their contract with us, the Joint Drug Agreement. The allegations are those individuals interfered with that contract and we'll see where the lawsuit goes.” Weiner said MLB is "disappointed" they lost the case involving Brewers LF Ryan Braun. He added, "But they're professionals. ... We've lost cases that we fought and were disappointed, and players ended up sitting out for 50 games. I expect MLB is going to be professional with respect to all of the players whose names have surfaced in connection with the Biogenesis thing. Ryan is included” (JSONLINE.com, 3/22). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Jeff Blair wrote the suit “seems to be a thinly veiled attempt to extract a pound of flesh from Ryan Braun.” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has “chosen a strange time to pick a fight that is not a legal slam-dunk, a little more than a week from the start of the regular season.” Selig also is “taking a run at the star player on the team his family used to own, the Brewers, in a city in which he still lives, Milwaukee.” Blair wrote what the league “really wants is documentation that will allow it to hammer Braun.” MLB must be “doing boffo business for Selig to be this emboldened” (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/23).