Sunday afternoon the Great American Race moves from the sports pages to the news pages, to the front page when Danica Patrick leads the 43 cars that will be competing in the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of motor sport racing. Since capturing the pole for Sunday’s race the Daytona 500 has enjoyed unprecedented attention, attention NASCAR craves and needs.
Danica Patrick is a marketing wunderkind throughout her professional racing career. Patrick began her professional career in 2002 racing for Rahal Letterman Racing in the United States, moving to the Indy Racing League in 2005. Patrick has appeared in 184 races (IndyCar, Nationwide and Sprint Cup races), winning once in 2008. Sunday, Patrick will be on the pole for The Great American Race Sunday, the Daytona 500, stock car’s racing biggest event. For Danica Patrick – Sunday represents the opportunity of her lifetime, for NASCAR Sunday is a dream come true.
The highest National Football League employee in 2012 wasn’t an NFL player. Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney earned $19,035,000 during the 2012 NFL season making Freeney the highest paid NFL player. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was paid $29.4 million last year, $3,117,000 in salary, $22,309,000 in bonuses and $3,993,000 in additional compensation. Goodell made more money than any of the close to 1,700 NFL players were paid.
The NCAA and in particular the organization’s President Mark Emmert, is under fire after the NCAA released a report lambasting its inept investigation into improper alleged activities conducted by the University of Miami athletic department and Nevin Shapiro. The NCAA conducted a 27-day investigation which resulted in the firing of the NCAA’s Vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach.
The sports industry lost one of its titans Monday when Dr. Jerry Buss the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers passed away after living 80 remarkable years. In 1979 Buss paid Jack Kent Cooke $67 million for the Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings, the Los Angeles Forum and a 13,000-acre California ranch. Under Dr. Buss’ leadership the Lakers revolutionized the sports industry. Buss was the driving force behind “Showtime” the melding together of sports, entertainment, the game day experience sports has evolved into.
The National Basketball Association celebrated the league’s annual corporate funfest (the NBA All-Star Weekend), Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday, along with the NBA Players Association tossing their executive director Billy Hunter – out the door.
Oscar Pistorius represents a once in several generation athlete to athletes with disabilities. At the 2012 Summer Olympics on August 4, 2012, Pistorius became the first amputee runner to compete at an Olympic Games. Athletes with disabilities believed, dreamed and hoped they would be able to compete with able bodied athletes in international competitions for many years. Oscar Pistorius represented those hopes, those dreams. The dream became reality at the London Games, the dream turned into a nightmare Friday, when Pistorius was charged in a South African court with the murder of his South African model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
The International Olympic Committee surprised the Olympic movement Tuesday announcing wrestling one of the core sports the Olympic Games were founded on will be eliminated as an Olympic sport following the 2016 Rio Games. A stunned reaction greeted the news, the IOC was walking away from one of the sports that were first contested at the ancient Olympic Games and have always been considered a key core sport to any Olympic Games.
Four members of the Football Hall of Fame and LaDainian Tomlinson, who likely is headed for Canton in the near future, collectively spoke on the gun control debate joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns calling on Congress to take immediate action and pass sensible gun reforms that will help end the gun violence epidemic that kills 33 Americans every day.
A little too late might sum up “A Rush to Injustice” the Paterno families follow-up to the devastating Freeh report, a study commissioned by Penn State University that placed a large part of the blame relating to the Sandusky sex abuse scandal on the shoulders of Joe Paterno the late College Football Hall of Coach. Shortly after Penn State released the Freeh report, the NCAA placed a series of sanctions on Penn State, focused in part of stripping Paterno of more than 100 wins, ending Paterno’s claim that he was college football’s winningest coach.