In Chicago, Philip Hersh reported PETER VIDMAR "stepped down Friday as chef de mission of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in the wake of a controversy over whether his public opposition to same-sex marriage made him the right person to be symbolic head of the team that will compete at the London Summer Games." The USOC "does not have a timetable for replacing Vidmar, whom it named as chef de mission" at the end of April (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 5/6). In Utah, Kaitlin Prettyman noted Vidmar, a former U.S. gymnast, resigned "after receiving negative attention from the media due to his actions opposing gay marriage in 2008" (DESERET NEWS, 5/7).
TAKING A STAND: In N.Y., John Branch noted NHL Rangers LW SEAN AVERY "recently recorded a video" in support of same-sex marriage in New York. In the video, part of the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign, Avery says, "I'm Sean Avery, and I'm a New Yorker for marriage equality. I treat everyone the way I expect to be treated, and that applies to marriage." Avery said of the decision to appear in the video, "I certainly have been surrounded by the gay community. And living in New York and when you live in L.A., you certainly have a lot of gay friends." Avery noted that some of those friends "had wanted to marry." Avery: "I'm certainly open to it. Maybe I can help, and I jumped at this opportunity." Brach noted Avery is "believed to be the first" N.Y. athlete to "publicly advocate for same-sex marriage." He also is "one of only a few active athletes in American team sports to voice support for gay rights," along with Ravens LB BRENDON AYANBADEJO, who "recorded a video statement for Equality Maryland earlier this year" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/8).
SHIFT AND DRIVE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced on Friday that former IndyCar driver A.J. FOYT will drive the pace car for the May 29 Indianapolis 500, filling a spot left vacant after DONALD TRUMP withdrew. Foyt said that he "will do everything Speedway officials ask of him, and he'll practice as much as necessary" (INDYSTAR.com, 5/7).
LEGAL MATTERS: In Miami, Jay Weaver reported the IRS is "again" saying that IndyCar driver HELIO CASTRONEVES "owes millions more in back taxes." In a civil case against Castroneves, the IRS asserts that he "still owes more than $6 million in additional taxes and fraud penalties on the very same licensing income he earned from Penske Racing team" from '00-04 (MIAMI HERALD, 5/7)....Kansas State Univ. "has reached a settlement in its lawsuit against" former football coach RON PRINCE that will pay Prince $1.65M. The settlement "ends a two-year process in which K-State attempted to keep Prince from receiving deferred payments of $3.2 million from a 'secret agreement'" between Prince and former KSU AD BOB KRAUSE in '08, "months before Prince was fired." Prince also received $1.2M "in buyout money from his regular contract" (K.C. STAR, 5/7)....MLS Galaxy MF DAVID BECKHAM "was behind the wheel of a car that rear-ended another vehicle on a Southern California freeway." Beckham "was not hurt in Friday morning's crash, but the other car's driver was hospitalized after complaining of neck pain" (AP, 5/7).
NAMES: Titans RB CHRIS JOHNSON is among the NFL players MTV plans to feature "in an upcoming series." MICHAEL LAWSON, Johnson's marketing manager, said that "several NFL players will be part of a series expected to run later this month in 10- to 15-minute spots" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/7)....Former NHLer KEITH PRIMEAU "helped roll out a website (stopconcussions.com) to raise awareness about the detection and care of head injuries" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/8)....The MLB Rangers and actor MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY "are joining forces to help kids be healthy." McConaughey Friday announced his "Just Keep Livin" after-school programs "will start this fall at Pinkston High in Dallas, Sam Houston High in Arlington and Diamond Hill-Jarvis High in Fort Worth" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/7)....The Mariners Friday presented a check to the American Red Cross totaling $210,000 for Japan relief efforts. The amount includes $110,000 that was raised through fan and front office employee donations, as well as the Mariners' match of $100,000 (Mariners)....The Trail Blazers "contributed $51,000 worth of free TV and Rose Garden advertising to help encourage Portland Public Schools voters to approve a proposed $548 million school construction bond" (OREGONLIVE.com, 5/6)....Former boxers LAILA ALI and LENNOX LEWIS, Baseball HOFer CAL RIPKEN JR., musicians CHARICE, LL COOL J, JAMIE FOXX and TYRESE GIBSON and comedian GEORGE LOPEZ all attended Saturday's MANNY PACQUIAO-SHANE MOSLEY bout at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/9).
IN MEMORY: Former CFL Commissioner J. DONALD CRUMP "has died at age 78." Crump served in the role from January '90-December '91, and also worked for the CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Maple Leaf Gardens (TORONTO STAR, 5/7).