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Volume 24 No. 132

People and Pop Culture

DAVID "DOC" O’CONNOR yesterday stepped down as MSG Co. President & CEO "without warning or public explanation," and MSG Exec Chair JAMES DOLAN is "stepping in" as interim CEO, according to Shaw & Smith of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The move is the "latest twist in the running saga of the Dolan family" that has "overseen years of basketball ineptitude and an ever-changing cast" of Knicks coaches. BTIG analyst BRANDON ROSS said, "I’m shocked. Doc has done a very good job. He was brought in to be an operator, and operationally everything is going great. That makes me wonder: does Jim want to be CEO himself?" O’Connor’s Hollywood background "was supposed to help" MSG "boost revenue from its venues." O'Connor "established residencies with entertainers" such as BILLY JOEL and JERRY SEINFELD, an "approach the company called 'artist-first.'" O’Connor left CAA in July '15 to join MSG. According to the company’s most recent proxy statement, O’Connor could get $47.6M, "based on Friday’s market close, if he wasn’t terminated for cause or if he left" MSG for a "good reason" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 11/13). In N.Y., Richard Morgan notes O'Connor was MSG's "third CEO in less than eight years" (N.Y. POST, 11/14). VARIETY's Cynthia Littleton noted O’Connor was "among the core group of leaders who took over CAA" in '95 after the departures of co-Founders MICHAEL OVITZ and RON MEYER. He was also a "key player" in the '06 launch of CAA Sports (, 11/13). O'Connor's departure also comes as MSG is looking to unload the WNBA Liberty (THE DAILY).

The Hockey HOF inducted its class of '17 last night, which included Bruins Owner JEREMY JACOBS, former NHLers PAUL KARIYA, TEEMU SELANNE, MARK RECCHI, DAVE ANDREYCHUK, former coach CLARE DRAKE and Canadian women's hockey player DANIELLE GOYETTE (, 11/13). In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont notes Jacobs was introduced by NHL Commissioner GARY BETTMAN and "opened his brief acceptance speech by recognizing PEGGY, his wife of nearly 60 years." He noted behind "every successful man is a very surprised mother-in-law." Not "known for his humor, the stoic Jacobs succeeded in drawing the unexpected chuckle from a crowd dotted with many older Hall members" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/14). In Buffalo, Mike Harrington notes Jacobs "saved his highest praise for his late father, LOUIS JACOBS." He said, "To say I'm blown away by the size and strength of today's franchises is an understatement. I cannot even imagine what my dad would have thought" (BUFFALO NEWS, 11/14). Bettman said Jacobs has been "committed to and at the forefront of every step our league has taken." Bettman: "His insights and counsel are rock solid, consistent and invaluable to me." In Boston, David Alter notes Jacobs, who has served as NHL BOG Chair the last 10 years, is "known around the league as the voice of the owners." Although he was "recognized for his past accomplishments yesterday, Jacobs likely will play another critical role in a standoff between players and owners" (BOSTON HERALD, 11/14).

WELL-DESERVED: In Toronto, Lance Hornby writes Selanne and Kariya were the "highlight of the seven-person class." One of the NHL's "friendliest players, Selanne missed no one in his speech" (TORONTO SUN, 11/14). In California, Eric Stephens writes Selanne and Kariya were the "headliners," as the two "made the Ducks relevant in their nascent period" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/14). Meanwhile, Hornby notes former National Post and Edmonton Journal sportswriter CAM COLE was the "recipient of the Elmer Ferguson Award for hockey writing excellence." Late broadcaster DAVE STRADER was named the Foster Hewitt Award winner (TORONTO SUN, 11/14).

GQ named COLIN KAEPERNICK its "Citizen of the Year" for his protest against police brutality, a "determined stand that puts him in rare company in sports history," according to a cover story by GQ. Kaepernick said that the "reason he wanted" to appear on the magazine's cover is that he "wants to reclaim the narrative of his protest, which has been hijacked by a president eager to make this moment about himself." But he also "made it clear" that he "intended to remain silent" moving forward. As his public identity has "begun to shift" from football player to "embattled activist, he has grown wise to the power of his silence." 49ers S ERIC REID, who played with Kaepernick and has protested before every NFL game this season, said, "We started having communications with the NFL, and they said they're going to help us make progress on these issues. But the next step is to get Colin back in the NFL." He added, "These issues are real, and people know they're real. But some will do anything to distract from that, to change the narrative, and it's gotten Colin blackballed from the NFL" (GQ, Dec. '17 issue)'s Ray Ratto wrote GQ "recalibrated a lot of things we have taken for granted" when it named Kaepernick its "Citizen of the Year." Kaepernick had a "conscience" and "exercised it at considerable personal cost and became a national touchstone on the real beginning of the new century" (, 11/13).

: In San Jose, Jon Becker noted Kaepernick "shares the spotlight" on the cover of the latest GQ with Warriors F KEVIN DURANT, who the magazine named its "Champion of the Year" after the Warriors captured the '17 NBA title (, 11/13). Durant said that he was "honored to share the magazine with Kaepernick." Durant: "He started a conversation that was needed in this country. He knew he would take a lot of heat for what he did. He stood up for people who can’t stand up for themselves. As athletes, we’re taught to kind of shut up and play our sport. He put everything on the line. You’ve got to respect it. We all stand behind him as athletes. He makes us proud to be part of the athletic community" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/14).

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: FS1’s Jason Whitlock said it is an "embarrassment" that GQ named Kaepernick “Citizen of the Year.” Whitlock: "This is a joke. He posed for a bunch of pictures but wouldn't talk for the interview. He won't explain whatever his movement is other than the promotion of Colin Kaepernick. GQ should be embarrassed." FS1's Colin Cowherd added, "This was a political award. ... This is why the magazine industry is out of business" (“Speak for Yourself,” FS1, 11/13). But ESPN’s Louis Riddick said, "It is good he's being recognized as someone who really drew attention to something that many people wanted to sweep under the rug." ESPN’s Ryan Clark added, “I don't know if his silence has furthered his cause, but many people have picked up the mantle and it's now grown far beyond what it was initially for”  ("NFL Live," ESPN, 11/13). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said it is a "good look" for Kaepernick's protest ("PTI," ESPN, 11/13).

CSM Sports & Entertainment North America CEO JEFF SHIFRIN has left the agency 15 months after he joined the firm. Sources said his position will not be immediately replaced. Shifrin said he left the Connecticut-based agency on good terms, and noted he was, and will continue to be, a shareholder. Shifrin joined CSM in July '16 after an 18-year stint with Octagon, where he rose to become President & COO (Terry Lefton, Editor-at-Large). Meanwhile, CSM parent company Chime CEO CHRIS SATTERTHWAITE will step down after 15 years. ADRIAN COLEMAN and MATTHEW VANDRAU "will take over" as Chime co-CEOs. Coleman "will retain his role" as creative agency VCCP CEO, while Vandrau will also remain Chime Sports Marketing CEO (, 11/12).

EXECS: The Red Sox Foundation named REBEKAH SPLAINE SALWASSER its new Exec Dir. Salwasser, who had a previous stint as Celtics Dir of Community Relations, succeeds GENA BORSON, who last month said she would step aside at year’s end. Salwasser will begin in January (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer)....Legends Hospitality named Camber Corp. Exec VP & CFO JOSEPH CORMIER CFO (Legends)....A-B InBev promoted MICHEL DOUKERIS to Zone President & CEO of North America, effective Jan. 1. He replaces JOAO CASTRO NEVES, who left the company to "pursue other opportunities" (, 11/13)....The D-backs promoted CALEB JAY to General Counsel (THE DAILY)....F1 team McLaren named Microsoft Marketing Manager BEN PAYNE Dir of Esports. Payne "becomes the first" person to hold such a role for an F1 team (, 11/13).

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The trial for three former South American FIFA officials began yesterday in N.Y., with each facing "charges of racketeering conspiracy as well as wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy." The trial comes six years after the FBI "began investigating international soccer officials for corruption, and two years after dozens of them were indicted." The prosecution’s opening statement "echoed" other organized crime cases with references to "cash drops, 'bag men,' and efforts to obstruct justice" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/14).

GIVING BACK: Roxbury, Ill.-based urban youth mentoring nonprofit The BASE will "expand to Chicago with the help of a $150,000 grant" from Cubs President of Baseball Operations THEO EPSTEIN and his brother PAUL's Foundation To Be Named Later (, 11/10)....Cubs manager JOE MADDON's Respect 90 Foundation last night brought its "Thanksmas" program back to Tampa for the first time since '14. Maddon served spaghetti dinners to "help feed the 90 or so people staying at the Salvation Army of Tampa's emergency shelter" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/14)....Thunder F PAUL GEORGE yesterday "announced the launch of his foundation's outdoor initiative in cooperation with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation." The Paul George Foundation is "sponsoring the OK Fishing In The Schools District schools" (OKLAHOMAN, 11/14).

NAMES: The DAVE MATTHEWS BAND has "been booked" to play the "Night Before" concert at Xcel Energy Center on Feb. 3 ahead of Super Bowl LII, which is co-presented by CBS Radio and the NFL hospitality partner On Location Experiences. Club Nomadic "will also host DirecTV's Super Saturday concert" on the same night (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/14)....TIM TEBOW was a "surprise guest speaker" at Delta Air Lines' employee awards gala last week in Atlanta (, 11/13)....Celtics F GUERSCHON YABUSELE yesterday “surprised folks by jumping behind the counter” at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Boston to “pour coffee and dole out scrumptious sweets" ( 11/14)....Basketball HOFer SHAQUILLE O'NEAL spent nearly $1M on his daughter AMIRAH’s 16th birthday on Saturday. He “gifted her with a brand-new Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV" (, 11/13)....The Athletic’s MARCUS THOMPSON II has a new “book deal” that will be about Warriors F KEVIN DURANT. The book will be an “unauthorized biography” (, 11/13).

IN MEMORY: Former Coyotes co-Owner & Alternate Governor GEORGE GOSBEE died Sunday at 48. In July ’13, a group of Calgary businessman, led by Gosbee, purchased the Coyotes in a “deal that kept them in Arizona.” Former Coyotes President & CEO ANTHONY LEBLANC said, “You couldn’t be in a room with George Gosbee and not laugh. He was kind of the centre of attention, not that he wanted to be. He just was.” He added that Gosbee was an “avid sports enthusiast who attended the World Series, Super Bowls and the Stanley Cup finals” (CALGARY SUN, 11/14).

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