In Richmond, Wesley Hester noted Republican Presidential Candidate MITT ROMNEY on Saturday met with NASCAR President MIKE HELTON. Romney also "spent more than an hour" greeting fans beneath an infield tent at Richmond Int'l Raceway with Republican U.S. Senate candidate GEORGE ALLEN. As he "stepped into his SUV, a member of the press asked Romney, 'Who's your driver?'" Romney replied, "I've got a lot of drivers I like. Thanks" (TIMESDISPATCH.com, 9/8). In Charlotte, Jim Utter noted Romney arrived for the Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 "shortly before the scheduled start Saturday night and was to give the starting command, but the start was delayed by rain and Romney left for another engagement" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 9/9).
SPEAKING OUT: In Baltimore, Matt Vensel noted Ravens LB BRENDON AYANBADEJO on Friday said that he was "surprised" that Maryland state Rep. EMMETT C. BURNS JR. sent a letter to Ravens Owner STEVE BISCIOTTI "urging him to silence his outspoken player, who has long been a vocal proponent of same-sex marriage." Ayanbadejo said, "Just what our country was founded on, for someone to try to take that away from me, I was pretty surprised that something like that would come up, especially from a politician." He added that Ravens President DICK CASS "stopped him in the hall at the Ravens' practice facility Friday afternoon to let him know the team supports his right to free speech." Ayanbadejo: "He (said), 'We're in support of you, and it's good that you're able to voice your opinion and say how you feel.' Dick personally told me that we're not an organization that discriminates" (Baltimore SUN, 9/8). Vikings P CHRIS KLUWE also penned a scathing letter to Burns on Deadspin.com in defense of Ayanbadejo and marriage equality, and ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert noted Kluwe's "most recent missive has resonated nationally." Kluwe "has spoken out about gay rights before, but on this go-around celebrities from ELLEN DEGENERES to SARAH SILVERMAN have tweeted their thanks to him" (ESPN.com, 9/8).
NAMES: DEADLINE's Mike Fleming reported talent agency ICM next week will "be taking a package for a movie about" late Penn State football coach JOE PATERNO with AL PACINO "attached to play" the role of Paterno. The package will "be built around" JOE POSNANSKI's biography "Paterno" (DEADLINE.com, 9/8)....MLB Commissioner BUD SELIG, Exec VP FRANK ROBINSON and various club owners on Friday participated in the third biennial Stand Up To Cancer primetime telethon (MLB.com, 9/8)....Actor MATTHEW PERRY has reached out to MLS Galaxy F DAVID BECKHAM to book a role on his new NBC comedy "Go On." Other athletes including Heat F CHRIS BOSH, NFL free agent TERRELL OWENS and former NHLer JEREMY ROENICK are slated to make an appearance (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 9/7)....During tennis player ANDY MURRAY's U.S. Open press conference following his semifinal victory, actor SEAN CONNERY "apologetically interrupted the proceedings and marched in" with EPL club Manchester United manager ALEX FERGUSON and Murray's mother JUDY. Murray said to his mother, "You smell like wine." She replied jokingly, "You forced me to drink wine" (N.Y. POST, 9/9)....Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and girlfriend RICKI NOEL LANDER attended the U.S. Open over the weekend (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/10)....Entertainer BILL COSBY took part in the coin toss at UMass's first FBS home game against Indiana on Saturday at Gillette Stadium. Meanwhile, singer JON BON JOVI attended the Patriots-Titans game at LP Field and was seen with Kraft (BOSTON HERALD, 9/10).
IN MEMORY: The AAU announced that President LOUIS STOUT died yesterday at the age of 73 (AAU). The AP wrote Stout “sought to foster a ‘culture of safety’ with the implementation of several reforms.” He took over the AAU “after the group's former president, BOBBY DODD, was accused by two former basketball players of molesting them as children in Memphis and other locations in the 1980s” (AP, 9/9)….In Chicago, Dawn Rhodes reported former AP reporter JOE MOOSHIL, who covered college and pro sports for four decades, died Friday. He was 85. Chicago Tribune reporter PAUL SULLIVAN said, "He was basically an encyclopedia of Chicago sports" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/9)….Former New Orleans Times-Picayune sports writer LARRY MCMILLEN died yesterday “from complications due to a stroke he suffered late last week.” He was 69. McMillen worked for the paper from '68-93, during which he was "beat writer for LSU, the Saints and Tulane” (NOLA.com, 9/9).