Saturday, January 29, 2011

Storm's Head Coach and General Manager Forwarded Porn, Racist E-mails at Work

The coach and general manager of the Tampa Bay Storm spent time on his work computer viewing potentially pornographic and racist e-mails that were sent to him and he later forwarded, according to a Hillsborough County Court deposition released Thursday.
The organization announced that it is going to hold an internal investigation into Tim Marcum's computer practices.
Bill Wickett, vice president of communications for Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment, said in a statement company officials were disappointed to learn the news but wouldn't have any further comment. Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment owns the Storm and the Tampa Bay Lighting.
The pornography and racist e-mails became public after Marcum was deposed on Tuesday in a lawsuit involving him and the team's former owner Robert Nucci.
Marcum was being deposed after filing a lawsuit against Nucci for back wages.
Nucci, who bought the team in 2007, also filed a lawsuit last year against Marcum and businessman Woody Kern, a former owner of the Storm. Nucci contends that both men knew the league was financially floundering and kept the information from him.
Marcum has coached the Storm since 1995. He is the winningest Arena Football League coach and has helped the organization win three of its five ArenaBowl championships. Attempts to reach Marcum on Thursday were unsuccessful, and a team representative said he wouldn't comment.
According to the depositions, the pornographic videos and images show naked women and bestiality scenes, and the racial e-mails are about blacks and many are jokes targeted at President Barack Obama.
Marcum said in the deposition that he isn't a racist and shared some information with black players.
"I've certainly shown black players certain things that, you know, they've laughed their tail off," Marcum said in the deposition. "I mean, they know how I feel, they know what's in my heart, so that – none of this has anything to do with what I feel as a man."
In the deposition, Marcum admits that he viewed them and shared the information to employees and other people outside the company. He didn't think much of it and considered it something private, even though he was at work and using an office computer.
"If I'd have known it was going to become public, if I'd have known you were going to get that off my machine, I would have made those appropriate suggestions, 'Don't send me anymore, don't do that anymore,'" Marcum said in the deposition. "I thought that was mine, I thought that was a personal thing, and, you know, evidently it wasn't."
Paul Levy, attorney for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization in Washington D.C., said a lot goes on at workplaces, and some is overlooked because employers couldn't possibly control all of it. But when there's a complaint or the information becomes public, the scenario changes.
"When there is a complaint, you are subject to discipline and the employer is subject to potential liability," said Levy, who has worked in labor law and Internet free speech.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Just seven months after the Tampa Bay Storm set an Arena Football League record with their eighth ArenaBowl appearance, TBSE Football, LLC, a subsidiary of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment LLC, announced the purchase today of the Tampa Bay Storm. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

TBSE Football, LLC, led by Jeff Vinik, purchased the franchise from Tampa Bay Storm Partners, LLC, whose Chief Executive Officer is Todd Boren. Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment LLC also purchased the Tampa Bay Lightning (National Hockey League), the leasehold right to the St. Pete Times Forum and ownership of adjacent real estate on March 3, 2010.

"As our business in Tampa Bay evolves and we deepen our commitment to the community, we believe it makes sense to bring the Storm under the Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment umbrella," said Vinik upon making the announcement. "The team is an asset for Tampa Bay and its sports fans and we want to ensure its stability and position in the Arena Football League for the good of our community. At TBSE, we look forward to even more significant announcements in the future, further illustrating our intentions for Tampa Bay."

Under the new ownership, Tim Marcum will remain as the team's Head Coach and General Manager. Elmer Straub, Vice President of Event Booking for the St. Pete Times Forum, will serve on the Board of Directors for all Arena Football League matters.

"It's an honor to partner with an organization that has such a celebrated legacy such as the Tampa Bay Lightning," AFL Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz added. "We are truly excited to add Jeff Vinik and Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment to the Arena Football League today. Mr. Vinik brings a long-time passion for the sports and entertainment industry to the AFL and it is tremendous to welcome a group with football expertise brought by Tod Leiweke, having previously served as the CEO of the National Football League's Seattle Seahawks."

Vinik, 51, is the Governor and Chairman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, as well as founder and chairman of Vinik Asset Management and a minority owner of Fenway Sports Group, parent company of Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Mr. Vinik to the Tampa Bay Storm family as he joins us in our quest for a sixth World Championship," Marcum said. "Under his leadership, I am confident the team will be able to develop and sustain a high degree of stability, while consistently providing our fans with an excellent and exciting product on the field."

The Tampa Bay Storm will kickoff the 2011 season on Friday, March 11, 2011 against the New Orleans VooDoo in New Orleans.