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Volume 24 No. 157

People and Pop Culture

Related Companies on Friday announced that Founder STEPHEN ROSS, who also owns the Dolphins, has “handed over the reins of the company while pledging to maintain control of the ‘global business strategy.’” Ross remains Board Exec Chair, but “promoted JEFF BLAU to CEO and BRUCE BEAL JR. to president.” After serving as CEO & Chair for 40 years, Ross has “decided to run the company by executive committee” (PALM BEACH POST, 9/12)….The Triple-A PCL Sacramento River Cats named Triple-A PCL Tacoma Rainiers VP/Ticket Sales CHIP MAXSON Senior VP/Business Operations (THE DAILY)….JR Motorsports, a Nationwide Series team co-owned by DALE EARNHARDT JR., is “looking for a new director of competition" after TONY EURY SR. "amicably" parted ways with the organization. Eury is Earnhardt’s uncle (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/8).

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Thousands of family and friends "turned out Tuesday for the funeral of former Browns and Ravens owner ART MODELL, including current and former players, NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL and Cowboys owner JERRY JONES." RAY LEWIS, RAY RICE, JOE FLACCO, HALOTI NGATA and TORREY SMITH were among the current Ravens players who "attended the service at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation." Goodell said of Modell, "He was a big part of NFL history. He played a big role in the NFL and the NFL is going to miss him." Modell’s sons JOHN and DAVID "also spoke during the service," and John Modell "followed his speech by performing a song he wrote on the guitar for his father in 1998." Modell’s pallbearers included Ravens GM OZZIE NEWSOME and team Senior VP/Public & Community Relations KEVIN BYRNE (AP, 9/11).

: In Phoenix, Craig Harris reports the U.S. Attorney's Office has "agreed not to seek jail time" for former Fiesta Bowl COO NATALIE WISNESKI, who "has recently aided authorities after admitting involvement in an illegal campaign-contribution scheme." The scheme, "along with other revelations of financial mismanagement" on Wisneski's watch, "tarnished the Fiesta Bowl's image and nearly cost it a place" in the BCS. Wisneski is "among six current or former Fiesta Bowl employees, including ex-CEO JOHN JUNKER, who have pleaded guilty to state or federal crimes stemming from bowl investigations" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/12).

CHARITY STRIPE: The MLB Rangers and FS Southwest last night announced that the live auction held during the Rangers-Indians game raised a total of $219,039 for the Wounded Warrior Project. The highest bids were $17,800 for the VIP Dallas Cowboys Experience, $13,700 for a VIP visit to "Fox NFL Sunday," and $12,901 for the VIP Dallas Mavericks Experience (Rangers)....Eagles WR DESEAN JACKSON yesterday "presented a $50,000 check" to the Wounded Warrior Project (, 9/12)....NFL Charities yesterday announced that it has awarded more than $1.5M in grants to support sports-related medical research at 15 organizations. Of those grants, more than $950,000 will go to studying concussion prevention and treatment (NFL)....Gold Medal-winning British distance runner MO FARAH was "among a host of sports stars" to take part in broker BGC Partners' Eight Annual Charity Day. All revenues from the event are "donated to more than 90 charities worldwide" (LONDON TIMES, 9/12).

AWARDS & HONORS: BRIAN MCINTYRE, Senior Communications Advisor to NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN, last night was named the winner of the '12 Splaver/McHugh Tribute to Excellence Award (NBA)....Capitals President DICK PATRICK and ECHL Fort Wayne Komets radio announcer BOB CHASE/WALLENSTEIN have been named recipients of the '12 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey (USA Hockey)....Swimmer RYAN LOCHTE, water polo players BRENDA VILLA and JESSICA STEFFENS, gymnast DANELL LEYVA, boxer MARLEN ESPARZA and distance runner LEONEL MANZANO will be "among the Latino U.S. Olympians to be honored at this year's ALMA Awards" (AP, 9/11).

NAMES: Prospective Browns Owner JIMMY HASLAM III has "stepped down as the CEO of his family-owned Pilot Flying J to become the company's chairman." Pilot Flying J yesterday announced that PepsiCo President JOHN COMPTON "will become the new CEO." Haslam had served as Pilot CEO since '94 (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/12)....Red Sox Chair TOM WERNER this week talked to students at Emerson College "about his successful TV career, which included such hit shows as 'BOSOM BUDDIES'" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/12)....The ECHL Bakersfield Condors yesterday offered singer JUSTIN BIEBER "an amateur tryout" for the upcoming season. Within 30 seconds of the team's announcement, Bieber fans "overloaded the Condors' website and crashed it" (Bakersfield CALIFORNIAN, 9/12)....Las Vegas real estate investor JARED WEISS earlier this week "closed on the property" that was the boyhood home of MUHAMMAD ALI. Realtor DAVE LAMBRECHTS said that Weiss paid $70,000 "for the small white house with a sagging front porch overhang in a western Louisville neighborhood of neat, modest homes" (AP, 9/11)....White Sox 3B KEVIN YOUKILIS and his wife, JULIE BRADY, this week welcomed "the birth of their first child" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/12)....Gold Medal-winning U.S. gymnast ALY RAISMAN yesterday attended the Badgley Mischka fashion show in N.Y. (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/12).