The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Vanessa O’Connell reports former cyclist LANCE ARMSTRONG will appear on OPRAH WINFREY’s “Next Chapter” on Jan. 17, when sources said that he is “considering a confession of his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/9). In London, Doug Gratton notes it is “not yet known what questions will be asked.” A release promised a “no-holds-barred” interview although it also referred to “accusations of cheating” and “charges of lying. ” This is despite the USADA investigation, which decided Armstrong was “guilty of systematic doping” (LONDON TIMES, 1/9).
SCREEN PLAYS: A new Starz series titled “Off Season” is based on the lives of former NFLers KEYSHAWN JOHNSON and BRIAN KELLY, who will “serve as executive producers on the small-screen project” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 1/7)….Former NHLer BATES BATTAGLIA will be a contestant on the next edition of CBS’ “The Amazing Race” with his brother (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 1/8).
AWARDS & HONORS: Hurricanes VP/Hockey Operations RON FRANCIS was one of 11 people selected to the North Carolina Sports HOF’s 50th Anniversary class. Francis will become the first hockey rep in the museum. Former Univ. of North Carolina men's basketball coach BILL GUTHRIDGE will also be inducted (Hurricanes)….The N.Y. Daily News' DICK WEISS was named the 40th winner of the Bert McGrane Award, given annually to a member of the Football Writers Association of America (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/8)….Darlington Raceway Emergency Services Dir ROBERT GARLAND received NASCAR’s Track Services Innovation Award for his management of the track’s SAFER barrier inventory (AP, 1/8).
CHARITY STRIPE: Pacers G GEORGE HILL will recognize “10 young Hoosier community leaders in the making and be a part of a partnership that will give a $5,000 scholarship to one of them” at an upcoming Pacers game. Hill is “partnering with Herff Jones, the Indiana High School Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations to create the scholarship, which will be announced” at the March 22 Bucks-Pacers game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (INDYSTAR.com, 1/7)….T’Wolves G RICKY RUBIO made fan CODY METZ and his family “guests of the team” yesterday through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They “watched warm-ups from the bench and the game against Atlanta -- with some of Cody’s friends -- from a suite.” They also flew with the team for today’s game against the Thunder, where Cody will “have lunch with the team, then watch the game” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9)….Vikings RB ADRIAN PETERSON on Monday called 17-year-old BLAKE COGNATA, who is “battling a rare form of cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma” (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 1/8).
NAMES: Tennis HOFer JOHN MCENROE and NFL Giants DE JUSTIN TUCK are among the presenters for the Garden of Laughs benefit, including performances by comedians DARRELL HAMMOND, RAY ROMANO and WANDA SYKES Jan. 26 at MSG. NBC’s BOB COSTAS will host the event (N.Y. POST, 1/8)....Chicago Police Superintendent GARRY MCCARTHY yesterday said that he is “actively recruiting local celebrities” like Bulls G DERRICK ROSE to “star in a public service campaign aimed at reversing the code of silence that has shielded known criminals and made it difficult for police to solve gang crimes” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/9)….Hockey HOFer BOBBY ORR’s memoir, “Orr: My Story” will be released in October by publisher G.P Putnam’s Sons. Orr will “reflect on his remarkable career and on his angry break from his former agent and close friend ALAN EAGLESON” (AP, 1/8)….The NBA made no official comment yesterday, but a league spokesperson confirmed that Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN “was fined $50,000 for sending a tweet following Saturday’s loss to New Orleans that was critical of NBA officiating” (DALLASNEWS.com, 1/8)….Sports Car Club of America will induct SKIP BARBER, BILL NOBLE, BOBBY RAHAL, CARROLL SHELBY and ANDY PORTERFIELD into its HOF (SCCA).
IN MEMORY: Sports reporter and author RICHARD BEN CRAMER died Monday at the age of 62 from complications of lung cancer. He penned “What It Takes” and his ’86 profile of TED WILLIAMS in Esquire magazine “traced the arc of the hitter’s career -- including his personal relationships and feelings on fame -- from early days to post-baseball life in the Florida Keys.” Cramer's ‘00 biography of JOE DIMAGGIO made best-seller lists and “offered a complex, multi-faceted portrayal of his life and career, revealing a sour and often unlikeable man behind the facade of grace and elegance.” In recent years, he “had been working on a biography” of Yankees 3B ALEX RODRIGUEZ, but the project “was abandoned last year” (AP, 1/8).