Names In The News
The police officer who accused Raptors President MASAI UJIRI of "assaulting him in the moments after" the Raptors won their first NBA championship at Oracle Arena in Oakland now is "suing Ujiri for damages." Sheriff's deputy ALAN STRICKLAND said that Ujiri "hit him in the face and chest with both fists during an altercation near the court" on June 13, 2019. The suit claims Strickland was "thrown back 'several feet' by the force of Ujiri's blows, and that he suffered serious injuries to his body and nervous system that have resulted in a 'permanent disability.'" Additionally, the suit "claims Ujiri's actions were 'foreseeable' based on what it cites as Ujiri's 'previous altercations involving similar circumstances.'" The suit "seeks medical expenses, lost wages and other damages" (TORONTO STAR, 2/11).
ANOTHER LEGAL MATTER: Saints & Pelicans Owner GAYLE BENSON yesterday released a statement to "bring clarity to questions about my relationship" with New Orleans' Roman Catholic Church Archdiocese amid the church's sexual abuse scandal. In the statement, Benson detailed that she and her husband, late Saints & Pelicans Owner TOM BENSON, "have supported the Catholic Church and this Archdiocese both financially and spiritually for decades, proudly." But she insisted that neither she, her husband or any of their organizations "have ever contributed nor will ever make payments to the Catholic Church to pay settlements or legal awards of any kind, let alone this issue" (ESPN.com, 2/10).
THE GOOD STUFF: NBA All-Star Game captain LEBRON JAMES has chosen Chicago Scholars, a program that "helps low-income students get to and through college," as the charitable selection for his team as part of the game's new format. Meanwhile, other All-Star captain GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO "picked After School Matters," which helps to keep children "busy after school and during summers" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/11)....The BEN ROETHLISBERGER Foundation yesterday announced that it will "distribute eight grants to police and fire dog programs in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio" (TRIBLIVE.com, 2/10)....76ers F TOBIAS HARRIS was the "marquee attraction at the 76ers' Kids Can! Innovation & Entrepreneurship Workshop" held yesterday (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/11).
HONORS & AWARDS: Chiefs G LAURENT DUVERNAY-TARDIF, now a Super Bowl champion, is the "first Quebec-born player and only the ninth Canadian with that distinction." Duvernay-Tardif, for an hour on Sunday afternoon, "sat on a stage at the aquatic complex" in Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau "answering questions, in French and English." He "received a hero's welcome, honoured by approximately 2,000 fans who braved the sunny, but cold, conditions." Even Montreal Mayor VALERIE PLANTE "joined in the festivities" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 2/10)....Pelicans VP/Basketball Operations & Team Development SWIN CASH, WNBA Indiana Fever VP/Basketball Operations & GM TAMIKA CATCHINGS, ESPN VP/Women's Sports Programming CAROL STIFF and USA Women's Basketball National Team Dir CAROL CALLAN will headline the '20 class of inductees into the Women's Basketball HOF (NOLA.com, 2/10).
NAMES: Antetokounmpo is "officially a dad," after his son, LIAM, was born (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/11)....Longtime Illinois Supreme Court Justice and former NFLer ROBERT THOMAS will retire from his role "later this month and return to practicing law" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/11).