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Volume 24 No. 155

People and Pop Culture

BERT SUGAR, an “iconic boxing writer and sports historian who was known for his trademark fedora and ever-present cigar, died Sunday of cardiac arrest,” according to the AP. Sugar had been “battling lung cancer.” He was inducted into the International Boxing HOF in ‘05. The HOF noted that Sugar "wrote more than 80 books,” including "The 100 Greatest Boxers Of All Time." He also “appeared in a handful of films,” including "The Great White Hype" starring SAMUEL L. JACKSON. Boxing Writers Association of America President JACK HIRSCH said that arrangements for a memorial service “are still pending and anyone wishing to honor Sugar should make a donation to the boxing hall” (AP, 3/25). Sugar was also a columnist for SportsBusiness Journal from '98-02 (THE DAILY).

FOND FAREWELL: USA TODAY’s Bob Velin wrote with his “fedora and ever-present cigar, Sugar was an instantly recognizable figure who loved to talk, and he could talk and write about boxing like few others.” There “weren't many better ambassadors of the sport than Sugar” (, 3/25). Former HBO Sports President ROSS GREENBURG said, “When you lose a Bert Sugar you lose a piece of boxing history.” He added, “His passing will leave a large void in the sport. He was everybody’s go-to guy” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/26). ESPN N.Y.’s Wallace Matthews wrote Sugar’s cigar “was as much a part of his persona as the hat that was always on his head, and the joke that was always on his lips.” He may “well have been the last of a breed, that typically New York wiseguy who possessed one priceless and seemingly vanishing skill: The ability to tell a story at a bar” (, 3/25).’s Dan Rafael wrote Bert was “a brilliant guy and a law school graduate, but he never seemed to take things too seriously” (, 3/25).’s David Greisman wrote, “We will remember Sugar fondly. As with his signature cigars, he lit up boxing” (, 3/25).

The WTA named the following execs to its Global Advisory Council: GroupM China CEO BESSIE LEE, Int’l Rescue Committee Chair Emeritus and former U.S. Ambassador to China WINSTON LORD, Li & Fung Limited President & CEO BRUCE ROCKOWITZ and Dragongate Entertainment CEO & Founder WILLIAM PFEIFFER (WTA)….WWE named NBA Senior VP/Marketing BRIAN FLINN to the same position. Flinn will report to WWE CMO MICHELLE WILSON and will be responsible for providing strategic direction for branding and promotions, database marketing, PPV events, affiliate marketing and consumer insights (WWE)….The Raiders named Colorado State Univ. Dir of Athletic Media Relations ZAK GILBERT Dir of Media Relations. Gilbert previously worked in the Packers PR office from '01-07. The club also promoted PR Dir MIKE TAYLOR to Dir of Public Affairs (Raiders)….The Browns promoted Dir of Community Relations RENEE HARVEY to VP/Community Outreach (Browns)….The Chiefs promoted Dir of HR KIRSTEN KRUG to VP/HR & Administration (Chiefs)….After exploring opportunities with a group that participated in bidding for the Dodgers, JOE TORRE has rejoined MLB as Exec VP/Baseball Operations (MLB).

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In Jacksonville, Garry Smits reports ARNOLD PALMER was "taken to a hospital Sunday about 15 minutes before" TIGER WOODS won the PGA Tour event at Bay Hill. Palmer's blood pressure readings "had fluctuated for most of the day, possibly because of a change in medication," before "a spike in the readings late in the afternoon" sent him to the hospital. Doctors said that Palmer's blood pressure "stabilized after he was admitted" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 3/26).

SHOW ME THE MONEY: In DC, Mike Jones wrote at 29 years old, Miami-based Goal Line Football's DREW SMITH ranks among "the youngest agents with 10 or more active clients." Smith has prospered by "letting other agents chase stars and training his sights on under-the-radar players" such as Redskins FB DARREL YOUNG, Giants FB HENRY HYNOSKI and Bears LB DOM DECICCO. Smith said, "I wish I could walk up to ANDREW LUCK and say: 'Hi, I'm Drew Smith. Let me represent you.' But you have to have a realistic sense of who you are and what you do." Generally, Smith earns "up to three percent of a client's pay once he signs with a team." However, Smith often "has to invest up to $15,000 into a player to cover training, living and travel arrangements to help him before he is drafted or signs a contract" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/24).

SYMBOLIC GESTURE: In Charlotte, Franco Ordonez noted Earnhardt Ganassi Racing co-Owner and Bobcats investor FELIX SABATES "wishes POPE BENEDICT XVI would change his mind about visiting" Cuba today. Sabates fled Cuba 53 years ago and has become one of the U.S.' "most successful sports entrepreneurs." Sabates said that he is "rethinking his philanthropy work on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church." Sabates: "If the leader is doing that, I'm not so sure I need to support the church like I used to support it. And I'm serious about that" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/25).

NAMES: Former Univision Chair JERRY PERENCHIO is "among the top contributors to the super PAC" that supports Republican presidential candidate MITT ROMNEY, who will be "tapping into deep-pocketed donors with high-dollar fundraisers" this week at the home of Chargers Owner ALEX SPANOS (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/25)....SEC filings indicate that SMI Chair & CEO BRUTON SMITH received $1.97M in total compensation in '11. Smith was paid a salary of $600,000 and received nonequity incentives of $1.37M last year (, 3/23)....Senators Owner EUGENE MELNYK wore a hat emblazoned with the word "Relax" Saturday morning at Scotiabank Place. Melnyk "remains bullish" on his club's chances of making the playoffs, saying, "I don't think there is any reason to panic" (OTTAWA SUN, 3/25)....CBS' "LATE SHOW" host DAVID LETTERMAN attended Sunday's Izod IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as the co-Owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/26)....NFL Draft prospect QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III attended Baylor's men's basketball tournament loss to Kentucky in the Atlanta regional final yesterday afternoon (, 3/25)....Dodgers RF ANDRE ETHIER is paying for new uniforms for Phoenix' Camelback High School baseball team. New Balance, which recently signed a sponsorship deal with Ethier, will provide the team with shoes (L.A. TIMES, 3/25).

IN MEMORY: Former Triple-A Pacific Coast League President WILLIAM CUTLER died Saturday at the age of 92. Cutler headed the PCL from '79-97, and had a career of 50 years in baseball (PCL)....Longtime Hollywood Park Chair MARJE EVERETT, 90, passed away Friday in L.A. Everett was on the track's BOD from '72-91 and served as President, CEO & Chair from '85-91 (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 3/25).