SBD/April 3, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

Benson stepped down to concentrate on other business interests
Saints and Hornets Owner TOM BENSON "stepped down" as NFL Finance Committee Chair during last month's owners' meeting after serving on the committee for "more than two decades." Benson also "exited his positions on the NFL's Audit and Compensation committees." He said that he "decided to leave the committees because he wants to concentrate on his other local business interests" (NOLA.com, 4/1).

HERE'S TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON: First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA "welcomed 80 high school and college students to the White House" for a screening of the upcoming JACKIE ROBINSON biopic, "42." The screening was followed by a Q&A session with actors HARRISON FORD, CHADWICK BOSEMAN and director/screenwriter BRIAN HELGELAND (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 4/2). Mrs. Obama jokingly said she was "tripped out" by having the movie's cast at her place of residence (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/3). Capitals RW JOEL WARD will host and introduce an advanced screening of the film tonight in DC (Warner Bros.)

CALLED IN FOR THE SAVE: In Baltimore, Childs Walker reported Towson Univ.'s baseball team could "live to fight another year after Gov. MARTIN O'MALLEY included an additional $300,000 in his 2014 budget to help the university sort through difficulties with its athletic funding." The baseball and men's soccer programs had been "slated for elimination after this season" until O'Malley became "interested" in the decision. However, the soccer program "will not be saved by O'Malley's budget supplement." School President MARAVENE LOESCHKE said that even with the additional funds, the school would "have to raise its student fee 1 percent, or about $8 a year, and raise $100,000 a year in donations to keep the baseball program operating" (Baltimore SUN, 4/2).

AWARDS & HONORS: Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and his family came in at No. 9 in Boston Magazine's power list of the 25 most influential people in the city's philanthropic efforts. Meanwhile, Celtics Managing Partner & CEO WYC GROUSBECK and his wife, CORINNE, made the list of ten people/groups ranked just outside of the Top 25 (BOSTON MAGAZINE, 4/'13 issue)....The SportsOneSource Group announced candidates for the sixth annual Sporting Goods Business 40 Under 40 awards, and among the honorees were Reebok Int'l Head of Classics SCOTT DALEY, Dick's Sporting Goods Chief Strategy Officer & General Counsel DAVID MOSSE, NHL Consumer Products Licensing Dir DANIEL NEAR and Mizuno Business Unit Manager for Running Footwear DOUG SMILEY (SportsOneSource)....Texas Motor Speedway officials announced that NASCAR team Owner JACK ROUSH will "become the 15th member to be inducted" into the Texas Motorsports HOF on April 11 (MYSANANTONIO.com, 3/31)....Longtime college basketball coaches GENE KEADY, ROLLIE MASSIMINO and former U.S. Congress member TOM MCMILLEN are among the '13 College Basketball HOF class to be inducted Nov. 23 in K.C. (AP, 4/1)....Former LPGAer ANNIKA SORENSTAM's ANNIKA Foundation announced that it has created the ANNIKA Award in conjunction with the Haskins Commission as a yearly honor given to the most outstanding NCAA D-I women's golfer (ANNIKA Foundation).

NAMES: Former MLBer MIKE PIAZZA will “make his ballet debut” on May 3 playing the role of the gangster in the Miami City Ballet’s production of “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/2)....Virginia Tech football coach FRANK BEAMER will drive the pace car to start Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/2)....The Canadian women’s hockey team will “proudly wear black and yellow Livestrong jerseys in its first game of the world championships.” Coach DAN CHURCH said, “There are going to be comments and people who are going to associate it with LANCE ARMSTRONG. I asked those same questions. I wanted to know about where the money was going. I wanted to know about that relationship” (AP, 4/1)....TD Five Boro Bike Tour organizers on Monday filed a lawsuit against N.Y. “after being told to reimburse police for more than $900,000 in traffic-control costs that will be incurred along the 40-mile route” (WSJ.com, 4/1)....Several Bruins players on Monday participated in “Cuts for a Cause,” the annual fundraiser for the Shawn Thornton Foundation, the Boston Bruins Foundation and the Floating Hospital For Children at Tufts Medical Center (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/2)....Steelers WR PLAXICO BURRESS is having his Virginia Beach home auctioned “by order of a circuit court, to satisfy liens against the property due from a judgment stemming from a 2008 traffic incident.” The property is valued at $460,000 (NYPOST.com, 4/2).

IN MEMORY: Former Patriots coach and GM CHUCK FAIRBANKS died yesterday in Scottsdale at the age of 79 after a battle with brain cancer. Fairbanks was credited as “helping to bring legitimacy to a woebegone franchise when he took over” the Patriots in ’73 (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/3). Fairbanks drafted some “historic talent” (BOSTON HERALD, 4/3)....Former WGN-TV anchor and WGN-AM co-host MARTY MCNEELEY died March 10 at the age of 86 from “complications from Alzheimer’s disease" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/3).
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