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Volume 24 No. 158

People and Pop Culture

In Buffalo, Tim Graham noted Bills Owner RALPH WILSON "returned to the Hall of Fame on Friday morning to dedicate the Ralph Wilson Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center, a 10,000-square-foot facility he funded with a $2.5 million donation.” Wilson looked “frail, but for seven minutes in his gold Pro Football Hall of Fame blazer, he was in command.” Wilson “sometimes labored to get through his prepared speech, but he delivered a couple of sharp jokes that made the audience laugh” (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/4).

EYE ON THE PRIZE: In N.Y., Tom Pedulla noted CURTIS MARTIN, who was inducted into the Pro Football HOF this past weekend, in ’95 “began setting aside 12 to 15 percent of every paycheck to establish the Job Foundation.” The organization is “named after the man Martin views as one of the Bible’s most significant figures because of his unwavering faith.” Martin now “commits 20 to 25 percent of his income to the foundation, which initially worked to aid single mothers.” It has been “expanded to include education and housing needs, and includes an initiative to send surgeons to third-world countries to perform needed operations.” Martin during his playing career “steadily developed business contacts and interests with the ultimate goal of becoming an NFL owner.” Martin said that there were “two ownership opportunities that he was financially qualified for, but he backed away from them because he did not feel either was quite right.” Martin said, “I think I’d be one of the owners who hopefully one day can see the game from a whole new perspective. I am really interested in bringing that player’s perspective” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/4).

THE CHANGE UP: ESPN DALLAS’ Calvin Watkins cited sources as saying that Cowboys WR DEZ BRYANT has “changed agents from DREW ROSENHAUS to EUGENE PARKER.” Bryant originally hired Parker “when he came out of Oklahoma State for the 2010 NFL draft, and he negotiated a five-year $11.8 million deal.” But toward the end of the ‘11 season, Bryant “let Parker go and hired Rosenhaus” (, 8/3).

SIGHTING: Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and his girlfriend RICKI NOEL LANDER “were seen cooing on Nantucket near the Boat Basin, and hanging out at Club Car and the Cliffside Beach Club over the weekend.” The couple earlier in the week “rubbed elbows with Hollywood types at the premiere” of “The Bourne Legacy” in N.Y. (BOSTON HERALD, 8/6).

SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Michael Smith reports NASCAR "is beefing up its brand and consumer marketing division in its efforts to reach a younger and more diverse audience." The series has hired former Coca-Cola marketing exec GREG DOWNEY as Senior Dir of Brand & Consumer Marketing. He will report to Managing Dir KIM BRINK. In addition, former ESPN exec DAVID ZANE will direct the brand marketing team and report to Downey, while former brand consultant JOSEPH "PEPE" MACHIN will start later this month as Dir of Multicultural Marketing. The positions for Downey and Machin are new, while Zane was hired to fill an existing position (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/6 issue).

SWAPPING COASTS: The NFL Media Group named CBS Interactive VP/Communications & Media Relations ALEX RIETHMILLER VP/Communications. Riethmiller will focus on publicity for NFL Network and NFL Digital Media. He will move from Florida to L.A. and will start Aug. 20. Riethmiller has worked at CBS since '99 (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

PAPER BOYS: The newly formed NOLA Media Group, launching this fall, announced that Dir of Content JAMES O'BYRNE will direct state news and sports coverage. Also, New Orleans Times-Picayune Sports Editor DOUG TATUM will manage coverage of professional and collegiate sports (, 8/5)....San Diego Union-Tribune Sports Editor JAY POSNER announced that after more than 23 years he will leave the sports department and become the paper's editor for three Arts & Entertainment sections. The Union-Tribune named LARRY GRAHAM Exec Sports Editor and TODD ADAMS Sports Editor (THE DAILY).

EXECS: EPL club Arsenal CEO IVAN GAZIDIS has been appointed to the English FA's Professional Game Board and the FA Council (REUTERS, 8/5)....The Rockets have hired gaming industry marketing exec SCOTT ANDREWS as the team’s new Chief Strategy Officer. Andrews worked for 10 months as CMO at the M Resort in Las Vegas and previously worked in various marketing positions for Harrah’s Entertainment for nearly a decade (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/6 issue)....Ohio-based Icon Sports Management hired VICKY PALMER to lead the firm's events and hospitality programs. Palmer was previously IMG VP/Golf (Icon Sports Management)....In Louisville, Jennie Rees noted Churchill Downs "didn't stray far from home in naming its first new track superintendent in 30 years, appointing DAVID LEHR to replace his brother BUTCH." David Lehr has "worked in operations at Churchill Downs Inc. since 1972 and had filled in as interim track superintendent after his brother retired July 1" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/4)....The Univ. of Maryland named MATT TAYLOR Assistant Dir of Media Relations (THE DAILY).

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WNBA President LAUREL RICHIE was featured in Sunday's N.Y. TIMES "Corner Office" feature and said of her management style, “I want people coming in every day thinking this is a place where they can bring their very best, and I believe that if they feel that way, they will actually do it. I just don’t believe in terrorizing, intimidating, testing, catching people off guard. I don’t play games. Life’s too short, and we’ve got too much to do. I want people focusing on the work, not on how to navigate politics.” She added, “The other thing I’ve learned the hard way is that every organization has politics. I used to come in as a purist, saying ‘I don’t do politics,’ and I’ve realized that that’s actually quite naïve” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/5). Richie also talked about her management style recently in the SBJ/SBD feature, "The Sit Down" (THE DAILY).

STANDING HER GROUND: Former Florida State Univ. softball coach JOANNE GRAF in a letter to the Knoxville NEWS SENTINEL said Univ. of Tennessee AD DAVE HART, who held the same position at FSU, was a “bully (to) women both directly and indirectly.” Graf: “Dave is really good at appearing to do the right thing, but when you look behind the scenes that's when you really begin to find out that he's not an advocate.” Several other coaches and administrators “from both Tennessee and athletic departments Hart previously led, however, spoke in his defense” and “lauded him as a committed leader in women's athletics.” Hart "declined an invitation to respond" to Graf's allegations (Knoxville NEWS SENTINEL, 8/5).

GOOD DEEDS:’s Adrian Dater noted the Kings were the “first NHL team to reach deep into their wallets" by donating $10,000 to the recently established Jessica Redfield Sports Journalism Scholarship Fund, set up by the family of late hockey blogger JESSICA GHAWI. The fund, which "set an initial goal of raising $20,000 in 120 days but passed the $40,000 mark in only 11.” The Avalanche will be “heavily involved in various ways of honoring JESSICA’s memory, and the Philadelphia Flyers have also expressed intentions of doing the same” (, 8/3)....Emmanuel Episcopal Center in Memphis “received a $10,000 donation” from Alabama football coach NICK SABAN (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/5)....Actor CHARLIE SHEEN, a “lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, has pledged to donate $50,000 to the team’s Community Fund, matching the amount broadcaster MARTY BRENNAMAN raised for charity in return for having his head shaved on the field” (AP, 8/5).

SAYING THANKS: MLB Rangers P RYAN DEMPSTER took out a full-page ad in Friday's edition of the Chicago Tribune titled "Thank You, Chicagoland." Dempster played more than eight seasons with the Cubs before being traded prior to the trade deadline, and the Dempster Family Foundation in two-and-a-half years "has awarded more than $390,000 to 18 organizations in need in the Chicago area" (, 8/3)....NHL Rangers LW RICK NASH, who was recently traded from the Blue Jackets, on Friday "took out a full-page newspaper ad in The Columbus Dispatch to thank the fans" of his former team (, 8/3).

CHANGE FOR THE BETTER: PRESIDENT OBAMA on Friday signed the National Baseball HOF Commemorative Coin Act into law, in honor of the upcoming 75th anniversary of the HOF in ’14. The act directs the Secretary of Treasury to mint not more that 50,000 $5.00 gold coins, 400,000 $1.00 silver coins and 750,000 half dollar coins in recognition of the HOF and Museum during a one-year period beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Surcharges from the sale of the coins will be paid to the National Baseball HOF and Museum to assist in financing its operations (Baseball HOF).

SETTLED IN COURT: Hockey HOFer MARK MESSIER has been awarded a $6M settlement by an arbitrator "over a grievance" with the Canucks. The dispute is “centered around the deferred money Messier felt the team owed him.” Reports indicate that Messier “had a clause in his contract that would compensate him if the value of the Vancouver franchise increased over the life of the deal," which ended in '02 (, 8/4).

NAMES: UConn men’s basketball coach JIM CALHOUN was resting in the hospital yesterday morning “after undergoing surgery on his fractured left hip.” Calhoun broke his hip “in a bicycle accident Saturday, hours before he was supposed to coach a group of his former players in a charity game.” Calhoun is “expected to be released from the hospital within the next few days” (, 8/5)....NASCAR driver JEFF GORDON has been named the recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award, which is given to those in sports who “give significantly of themselves to serve their communities and to improve the lives of others.” Gordon will receive the award during the 78th annual Heisman Trophy Dinner on Dec. 10 at the N.Y. Marriott Marquis (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/4)....Stars public address announcer BILL OELLERMANN “announced his retirement” Friday after “18 years behind the PA mic.” Oellermann was known for his “booming voice” and was heard at “more than 800 games” for the Stars (, 8/3)....USA TODAY’s Elysa Gardner reviewed “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” the Broadway show starring boxing HOFer MIKE TYSON. Gardner writes the “rambling, roughly two-hour spectacle is equal parts stand-up routine, sentimental journey and self-pity party; and those ingredients are not always mixed smoothly.” Director SPIKE LEE “enhances Tyson’s recollections with vivid, sometimes wry visual images, accompanied on occasion by savvy musical clips” (USA TODAY, 8/6).