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The New Orleans Hornets have a new proprietor: Tom Benson of the New Orleans Saints
NBA Commissioner David Stern has stated over and above once again in recent months (and most recently, about two weeks ago) that the league was “close” to finding a long-term proprietor for the Hornets. Right after entertaining multiple potential local owners last fall, it appears that the league has found its man ?a Tom Benson, the owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. Benson reportedly reached a tentative agreement to buy the team on Friday morning and might be officially announced because the Hornets’ new proprietor on Friday afternoon following his approval by the NBA’s Board of Governors, now in its second day of meetings with the St. Regis Hotel in New York City.
UPDATE: The Saints just confirmed on Twitter that Benson is officially the Hornets’ new owner.
Moreover to Benson’s bid for the group, based on Jimmy Smith in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the board was also taking into consideration an offer from a prospective ownership group “headed by California swimwear manufacturer Raj Bhathal and former [Hornets] minority proprietor Gary Chouest.” That group also included Larry Benson, Tom Benson’s brother, as outlined by WVUE-TV, which Tom Benson also owns.
“All signs are pointing to Benson becoming the proprietor, and he will own 100 percent from the group,” Smith wrote. “He won’t be component of an ownership group.”
David Aldridge of NBA.com reported Friday that Benson will pay $338 million for the Hornets. That’s in the ballpark in the $340 million that the NBA’s been asking for the franchise from its bidders, representing a modest profit above the $318 million the league reportedly paid when it took the team more than from George Shinn back in December 2010. As Smith noted during the Times-Picayune, it’s also “well in excess with the $285 million” valuation that Forbes magazine recently placed within the Hornets, a figure ranking it as the seventh-least valuable franchise in the NBA.
The news follows an agreement reached final month to extend the Hornets’ lease on the New Orleans Arena by 10 years, keeping the group in New Orleans through 2024 while the league continued to search for any long-term proprietor. Add that to an fascinating point raised by Hornets fan Mason Ginsberg on Twitter ?a that NFL cross-ownership rules prohibit NFL owners from owning sports franchises in markets occupied by other NFL teams, limiting the number of available markets to which Benson could theoretically move the Hornets if he so chose ?a and this could be a recipe for keeping the Hornets in the Bayou for the foreseeable future. Considering Benson’s flirtation with moving the Saints to San Antonio in the early 2000s if the state of Louisiana did not pony up, and once more after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region, that’s a pretty essential point for Hornets enthusiasts who want to see their group stay put.
Tom Benson and wife Gayle on the field ahead of the Saints’ 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game. (Getty Images)Benson recently found himself in serious hot water together with the NFL after an investigation uncovered that the Saints maintained a “bounty” system, funded largely by gamers, that offered financial rewards for tackles that injured opposing players and led to their removal from video games. The NFL fined the Saints $500,000 (the heaviest fine possible under the league’s constitution) and stripped their 2012 and 2013 second-round draft picks as punishment for the plan. Commissioner Roger Goodell also suspended former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely, head coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 season, general manager Mickey Loomis for the season’s 1st eight games, and assistant (and now interim head coach) Joe Vitt for the initial six video games. The league largely cleared Benson of wrongdoing inside the matter, noting that Saints ownership ?a read: Benson ?a “was unaware in the bounty program, and strongly disapproved of it and directed that it be discontinued once it was disclosed.”
With ownership issues roiling, the Hornets mounted a strong 2010-11 campaign, finishing 46-36 under first-year head coach Monty Williams and pushing the Los Angeles Lakers to six video games in the first-round playoff series behind the unmitigated brilliance of point guard Chris Paul. This season, even so, is a disaster from the start, from the circus surrounding the league-orchestrated trade of Paul through shooting guard Eric Gordon’s repeated injury issues and just about everything else associated with all the team. The Hornets are now limping on the season’s finish using a 16-42 record, the third-worst mark in the NBA, and with plenty of question marks on their roster going forward, the future of general manager Dell Demps’ group on the court remains very much uncertain.
But a minimum of they won’t be run by David Stern, Stu Jackson, Jac Sperling and also the rest in the NBA crew anymore. The Hornets will determine their own fate, as they couldn’t throughout the Paul fiasco. With two likely lottery picks coming up in a deep 2012 draft, some financial flexibility inside the offing (especially if they can move their largest remaining contract, belonging to center Emeka Okafor, either in trade or by using the new CBA’s amnesty clause), a smart coach and GM in the helm and, at long last, the prospect of some stability within the weeks and months ahead, it’s hard to not look at this like a excellent day during the history in the New Orleans Hornets.
So have some fun tonight, New Orleans. (Not like you require any aid from us figuring out how to do that.)
Doug Williams suing Grambling above contract
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Grambling State University football coach Doug Williams sued the college Friday claiming the school reneged on contract promises and now is trying to pressure him to sign a reduced deal on a ”take it or leave it” basis.
The state court suit says that Williams agreed in February 2011 to a contract that included a guaranteed salary and performance bonuses following negotiations with Grambling President Frank Pogue.
But, it said, the University of Louisiana System governing board never voted around the contract as required by law, and Pogue told Williams final summer that ”there was a problem with his contract becoming approved.” Pogue suggested renegotiation, which Williams rejected, the suit stated.
”By this time, he had quit his previous career, sold his property, moved his family to Louisiana and was actively working as the Grambling head football coach,” the suit said.
The suit mentioned Williams and his staff were not paid promised bonuses for winning the 2011 Southwestern Athletic Conference championship, and Williams is told that the money will probably be paid if he signs a reduced contract.
”A series of new contracts have been presented to Williams in which his pay is lower, bonuses are dropped and additional onerous provisions have been inserted,” the suit mentioned. ”He continues to be told to ‘take it or leave it.”’
The suit also alleges that similar ”bait and switch” tactics have been used on other Grambling employees.
The suit, which names Grambling, the UL System and Pogue as defendants, asks for damages equal to what Williams would have earned under his unapproved contract, plus punitive damages.
In a statement, UL System President Randy Moffett stated the university and also the system had been negotiating in very good faith with Williams for almost a year.
”We have offered him among the list of highest salary and incentive compensation packages in Grambling’s conference,” Moffett stated. ”We believe that we did everything possible to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement without compromising the University’s academic core.”
Williams did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Williams is in his 2nd stint as Grambling’s head coach. He succeeded the legendary Eddie Robinson at his alma matter, coaching from 1998 via 2003 and winning three straight SWAC championships. Before returning to Grambling in 2011, he was general manager in the Virginia franchise inside the United Football League.
Williams was the first black quarterback to play inside a Super Bowl. He won one of the most valuable player award of the 1988 Super Bowl together with the Washington Redskins, who beat the Denver Broncos 42-10.
The school baseball player who became the wrong kind of viral Internet sensation last week has dropped out of Yavapai Community University in Arizona and returned house to California after receiving threats for his function in what some of us referred to as the “worst cheap shot ever.”
The Arizona Republic reported earlier this week that Austin O’Such had been encouraged by college administrators to leave school for his own safety. The 18-year-old had been the target of unspecified threats right after a video of him blindsiding Scottsdale Community College’s Jake Bamrick was viewed millions of instances about the Internet. The action earned him an immediate suspension on March 29 for the remainder of the season, but it wasn’t until a week later that the video found its way online.
The paper even caught up with O’Such, who said he was sorry for what he had done and certainly grasped just how broad the footage of his huge mistake had spread.
From the Arizona Republic:
O’Such told The Republic he was “very remorseful.”
“I have no excuses for what I did,” he stated. “I need to be able to say how sorry I am. I just have to deal using the consequences. I want to be able to perform baseball yet again at some point in my existence.”
O’Such said he has deleted his social-networking accounts, including Facebook and Twitter, since of threats he has received. He also stated his loved ones has received threats via social media.
“I feel horrible about what my parents have to go by means of,” said O’Such, who added that he’ll not return to Yavapai to play baseball.
The Phoenix New Times reports the Yavapai College police division never filed any charges against O’Such and that it would have been as much as Bamrick to press charges. But that doesn’t seem likely with Bamrick’s parents currently being quoted in the Republic as saying they have been satisfied using the remorse shown by O’Such at the same time as his plans to get a letter of apology.
So what do we take from all of this? Nicely, first, it does seem like an awfully excellent cautionary tale for parents and educators to use with their children and college students. Our actions and terrible decisions have the potential to reach a worldwide audience. Anything at all can go viral if a clip from a community university baseball game between two low-profile schools can.
Secondly, if the Bamrick loved ones isn’t seeking any further justice against O’Such, the remainder of you Chuck Norris vigilante types need to have to knock it off (not that you didn’t require to just before.)
O’Such has apologized and is trying to move on with his lifestyle. Let’s all move on with ours.
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