SBD/June 13, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

Bernie Fine's defamation lawsuit will continue with ESPN as sole defendant
Former Syracuse Univ. men's basketball assistant coach BERNIE FINE's defamation lawsuit against ESPN "has been transferred" to U.S. District Court in Syracuse. Fine also has filed "additional notices discontinuing legal action against co-defendants named in the original summons," including Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., reporter MARK SCHWARZ and producer ARTHUR BERKO. ESPN will be the "sole defendant as the case progresses in federal court" (SYRACUSE.com, 6/11).

SPANISH INQUISITION: La Liga club FC Barcelona F LIONEL MESSI yesterday was accused of "defrauding the Spanish government" of US$5.53M in "unpaid taxes on income from companies that used his image to promote themselves." The suit alleged Messi "later received the money through British and Swiss channels and failed to declare it as income." Under Spanish law, an investigative judge "must now decide whether to bring formal charges against the player" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/13).

YOU GOTTA FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT: TNT analyst and former NBAer SHAQUILLE O'NEAL said that he is "calling lawmakers in Albany to support passage" of legalizing MMA in New York. He said that he has been "making calls" from Orlando, but added he "isn't working for anybody." O'Neal said that he has called Assembly members CRYSTAL PEOPLES-STOKES, KEITH WRIGHT and CARL HEASTIE "so far, all of whom support the bill" (TIMESUNION.com, 6/11).

ENTER SANDMAN: Yankees P MARIANO RIVERA "surprised a longtime A's employee before Wednesday's game, posing as a pizza delivery trainee to give JULIE VASCONCELLOS the shock of her life." The two spent "approximately 30 minutes talking." The visit was part of Rivera's "farewell tour, which has seen him meet with people during his final stop at each ballpark this season -- groups ranging from season-ticket holders to veteran team employees." Vasconcellos has worked for the A's since '89 (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/13).

NAMES: Former MLB Commissioner FAY VINCENT spoke at Tuesday night's installment of the Stamford, Conn., Civility in America lecture series. Sacred Heart Univ. AD BOBBY VALENTINE and former MLBer RALPH BRANCA attended the event (STAMFORD ADVOCATE, 6/12)....The NBA D-League named Texas Legends President BILL BOYCE its '13 Team Exec of the Year (NBA D-League)....The Patriots Charitable Foundation yesterday "presented $200,000 in grants to 26 different organizations from all six New England states" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 6/13)....Eagles S PATRICK CHUNG this week presented a "$25,000 gift to the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center to launch the Summer Music Academy for Real Teens" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/13)....The Montoursville, Penn., school board on Tuesday “approved the hiring” of former MLBer MIKE MUSSINA as the new head varsity boys basketball coach at Montoursville Area High School. Mussina will be paid a stipend of $4,170. Since his retirement in ’08 he has “coached Little League Baseball and junior varsity basketball” (SUNGAZETTE.com, 6/11)....Rays 3B EVAN LONGORIA yesterday visited Pinellas Park Library in Tampa to kick off “Reading with the Rays: Read Your Way to the Ballpark” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 6/13)....Teen Lifeline will present NFL Cardinals WR LARRY FITZGERALD with the Alfredo J. Molina Community Lifeline Award at its Connections of Hope event on Nov. 1 (Teen Lifeline)....U.K. boxer SCOTT QUIGG yesterday “signed with Matchroom Sport promoter EDDIE HEARN” (ESPN.com, 6/12).
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