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Volume 24 No. 112

People and Pop Culture

In Miami, Manny Navarro noted Marlins President DAVID SAMSON "completed his 52.4-mile, charity-driven run from Pompano Beach to Marlins Park on Friday in one piece." Samson, who raised more than $550,000 for various charities and also ran to honor the workers who built the Marlins’ new stadium, made a "triumphant entrance to the park through center field," about 30 minutes before the Marlins' game against the D'Backs. At one point, an "exhausted Samson bent over and was dry heaving." Samson received "plenty of support along his journey, running with cops, media members and team representatives" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/28). In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis noted Samson was "weary but smiling" after his run. He was "accompanied along the way in five-mile segments by 17 runners," and entered the ballpark with daughter HANNAH along with Marlins Special Assistant to the President JEFF CONINE. Donations for Samson's charities "will continue to be accepted at" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 4/28).'s Anthony Chiang noted Samson "received an IV at the 45th mile to help push him through the final stretch" (, 4/27).

BO KNOWS BIKES: In Birmingham, Ben Flanagan noted former NFLer and MLBer BO JACKSON raised "more than $400,000 for the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund with his 'Bo Bikes Bama' tour across the state." Jackson, former MLBers KEN GRIFFEY JR. and LANCE CORMIER, former U.S. skier PICABO STREET, Ala. Gov. ROBERT BENTLEY and Tuscaloosa Mayor WALT MADDOX "appeared at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater on Saturday, the site of the tour's finish line." Basketball HOFer SCOTTIE PIPPEN and cyclist LANCE ARMSTRONG joined Jackson for "stretches in the state." Jackson spoke after his arrival at the venue and "challenged Bentley to partner with him to hold 'Bo Bikes Bama' annually to continue raising awareness and money for the state of Alabama as it continues its recovery" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 4/29).

AUCTION BLOCK: Late Baseball HOFer TED WILLIAMS' '49 MVP plaque was sold at auction Saturday "for nearly $300,000." Nearly 800 items were sold at Fenway Park in an auction that will "benefit The Jimmy Fund, a charity affiliated with Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute." Williams helped raised money for the facility during his lifetime (AP, 4/28). In Boston, Erin Smith noted Williams' MVP plaque fetched the "highest bid of the day," but fans seemed to "bid on nearly every facet of Williams' life." A Social Security card "went for $4,887, and a baseball BABE RUTH autographed for Williams sold for $195,500" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/29).

CHARITY STRIPE: Bengals QB ANDY DALTON last Thursday announced the start of the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation, with the primary focus to "provide seriously ill and physically challenged children throughout Greater Cincinnati with daily support and life-changing experiences" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/29)....N.C.-based Builders of Hope, a nonprofit affordable-housing builder, has said that it will "rehab at least 500 vacant Baltimore homes -- in a partnership that includes the Ravens' RAY LEWIS -- and intends to start soon." Lewis and the United Athletes Foundation are involved in the effort, called "Bring It Home" (Baltimore SUN, 4/27)....Patriots Owners the KRAFT family was honored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation with 25th Anniversary Wish Hero Award (BOSTON HERALD, 4/30)....Mets radio announcer HOWIE ROSE was inducted into the National Jewish Sports HOF and Museum yesterday afternoon (, 4/30)....Chevron will donate $205,000 to its Eagles for Education program after participants recorded 40 eagles, including a hole-in-one, during the PGA Tour Zurich Classic of New Orleans (, 4/30)....ESPN’s STUART SCOTT was in Charlotte Saturday night for a silent and live auction benefiting the opening of The Behailu Academy, a performing arts after-school program that was founded by former NFL Panthers Media Services Manager DEEDEE MILLS and is set to open in August (THE DAILY). 

The SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Michael Smith reports former Speed President HUNTER NICKELL is “joining the collection of high-ranking executives who used to work in NASCAR at IMG College.” Nickell will become Senior VP/Partnership Management & Business Development, reporting directly to IMG College President BEN SUTTON. He will be “on a peer level” with COO TONY CRISPINO, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer ROGER VANDERSNICK and Chief Innovation Officer MARK DYER. Nickell’s job "largely will be to integrate all of IMG College’s offerings, from multimedia rights to ticketing, licensing, stadium seating, digital programming and sponsorship sales.” Nickell will work out of the IMG College HQs in Winston Salem, N.C., and joins the company this week (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/30 issue).

SPREADING HIS WINGS: In this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports longtime Skechers Fitness Group President & CMO LEONARD ARMATO is now “going to try his hand at running a marketing services agency.” Armato has joined the Leverage Agency, N.Y., as Chair & Managing Dir. The agency “has opened a West Coast office in Los Angeles to accommodate Armato, who will bring Skechers’ sports and entertainment needs to Leverage as his first business development contribution to the group” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/30 issue).

NAMES: 24 Hour Fitness CMO TONY WELLS is leaving the company to take over as ADT North America Chief Marketing & Customer Officer. The company has more than 6 million customers in the U.S. and Canada and employs 16,000 (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal)….Mobivity (formerly Txtstation) promoted MICHAEL FALATO to Senior VP/Sales & Development (THE DAILY)….The USOC named Integris VP/Diversity & Community Health Improvement JASON THOMPSON its first Dir of Diversity & Inclusion, reporting to USOC Chief Administration Officer KRISTEN VOLPI. Thompson will be based at USOC HQs in Colorado Springs (USOC)….The Falcons named former Colts VP & GM CHRIS POLIAN to the team’s scouting department. Polian will “help the Falcons in a scouting capacity and have some assignments around the league” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/30).

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In N.Y., Noam Cohen reports Simon & Schuster Publisher JONATHAN KARP has “decided to move up” the publication date of a biography on former Penn State Univ. football coach JOE PATERNO to late summer, “in time for the start of football season, from Father’s Day 2013.” Simon & Schuster paid former SI columnist JOE POSNANSKI a reported $750,000 "advance to produce the biography.” Posnanski was “faced with one of the more remarkable late-project twists to reckon with.” He had to decide between whether to "halt the project, or recalibrating its timetable to allow him to trace the fuller meaning, if there was fuller meaning, to the revelations and accusations” concerning the child sex abuse allegations against former PSU assistant coach JERRY SANDUSKY (N.Y. TIMES, 4/30).

OFF THE COURT: in a Q&A with tennis player SERENA WILLIAMS noted she is promoting Sleep Sheets, a “dissolvable tongue strip that helps people fall asleep.” Williams: “I’ve started several new companies. With Sleep Sheets I’ve been part of the whole company from the beginning, and before that Energy Sheets, and I have another company -- Mission -- and my clothing company, which I relaunched and I’m the full designer on it now because I didn’t like the designs.” Williams, who is also a Dolphins investor, said that she “is going to keep calling” team Owner STEPHEN ROSS with her ideas. Williams: “I'll tell him, ‘We should get this guy. What do you think?’ He says, ‘Yeah, that’d be a good idea.’ But we haven’t gotten anybody that I’ve suggested yet. But they’re winning and doing so well at the end of last year” (, 4/28).

LET'S BE FRANK: Baseball HOFer FRANK ROBINSON Saturday “became the first player to have his likeness replicated in a life-size bronze statue” located in Garden of the Greats picnic area behind center field at Camden Yards. Those attending the event included HOFers HANK AARON, JIM PALMER, EARL WEAVER and EDDIE MURRAY; D'Backs Special Assistant to the President & CEO ROLAND HEMOND; MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations JOE TORRE; RACHEL ROBINSON, the widow of JACKIE ROBINSON; Orioles Exec VP/Baseball Operations DAN DUQUETTE; Orioles VP/Planning & Development JANET MARIE SMITH, and LOUIS ANGELOS, son of team Owner PETER ANGELOS (BALTIMORE SUN, 4/28).

COMING BACK: In Phoenix, Craig Harris profiled Fiesta Bowl Exec Dir ROBERT SHELTON under the headline, “New Fiesta Bowl Chief Wows BCS Executives.” BCS Exec Dir BILL HANCOCK said that Shelton is “exactly” what the bowl game needs as it “continues to rebound from the damaging independent investigative report released last spring." In working to restore the Fiesta Bowl’s image, Shelton has “met with numerous university presidents.” Pac-12 Commissioner LARRY SCOTT said, “He always elevates the conversation in a good way” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/28).

A UNITED FRONT: Ravens LB RAY LEWIS appeared on CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report” Friday afternoon to “raise awareness for the non-profit organization United Athletes Foundation.” Lewis said the organization has “partnered with some great people to really bring financial literacy back to the athletics and to really get them to understand ... how important education really is.” The “numbers are so staggering” that 78% of players “are broke, divorced or just bottom line confused after two years out of the league.” CNBC’s Scott Wapner added, “It’s one thing as an athlete to have a lot of money, it’s another thing to understand the power of that money” (“Fast Money Halftime Report,” CNBC, 4/27).

NAMES: IndyCar fined Panther Racing Owner JOHN BARNES $25,000 and placed him on probation until Dec. 31 after posting on his Twitter account Thursday, “Today is the day to resolve TURBOGATE! I hope @indycar gets their act together. It has to be embarrassing.” Barnes was referring to a hearing “to decide whether Honda would be allowed to make changes to its turbochargers, which eventually happened” (AP, 4/28)....Former Magic GM JOHN GABRIEL recently revealed publicly for the first time that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in December ’10 (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/29)….In K.C., Blair Kerkhoff reported “several names have been floated” to fill the Big 12 Conference commissioner position, including West Virginia AD OLIVER LUCK. Luck “knocked down his candidacy in an interview Thursday” (K.C. STAR, 4/28)….Broncos QB PEYTON MANNING, who played at the Univ. of Tennessee with Rockies 1B TODD HELTON, attended the Mets-Rockies game. Manning also “visited both the Mets and Rockies clubhouses before the game” (N.Y. POST, 4/30)….Yankees Senior VP & GM BRIAN CASHMAN and his son, TEDDY, yesterday sat in the outfield stands and took part in the Yankee Stadium tradition of the roll call in the top of the first inning. Cashman “wore a disguise” consisting of a spiked wig, blue visor and sunglasses to make his way to the bleachers. He walked through the crowd unnoticed (, 4/29)….Cowboys QB TONY ROMO and his wife, CANDICE, Saturday attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in DC (, 4/29).