Monumental Sports merger leads to layoffs

Thursday, July 8, 2010; D02

The merging of staffs from the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics under the organization of Monumental Sports & Entertainment has resulted in some staff changes, with roughly 20 employees on the business and marketing side -- including some high-ranking officials -- leaving or getting laid off.

Internet mogul Ted Leonsis purchased the Wizards and Verizon Center from the estate of the late Abe Pollin in May and officially took over last month. He said that the integration of so many entities would lead to a reduction in employees.

His sports enterprise released a statement on Wednesday that acknowledged the changes, which have been taking place for the past few weeks, and added that more could come: "Monumental Sports & Entertainment does not discuss specifics in regards to changes in personnel as a general policy. However, we can acknowledge that the merging of three teams and the arena under the same organization has indeed resulted in an overlap in certain departments and, unfortunately, a subsequent small reduction in staff. It is possible that as the consolidation of our organizations continues, a small number of overlapping jobs may similarly be reduced."

Longtime Pollin ally Matt Williams announced that he was leaving Leonsis's newly established sports empire earlier this week, after spending 22 years at Washington Sports & Entertainment.

-- Michael Lee


Southern California has apologized to Florida, Alabama, Washington, Oregon and Fresno State for accusing those schools of breaking NCAA rules by contacting one of the Trojans' players without permission.

In a letter dated July 1 and addressed to Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley, AD Mike Garrett said freshman running back Dillon Baxter confirmed to Garrett that the player "did not receive a call from your institution."

"I apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment this matter has caused to you and your institution," Garrett wrote in a hand-signed letter.

USC filed a complaint with the Pac-10 in June about several schools tampering with Baxter after the Trojans were hit with NCAA sanctions.

The Trojans received a two-year postseason ban, a loss of scholarships and were forced to vacate victories from the 2004 and '05 seasons for NCAA violations involving former star tailback Reggie Bush.

Because of the sanctions, USC upperclassmen are allowed to transfer without the usual NCAA restrictions, but only juniors and seniors can be contacted by other schools.


Pro Bowl left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson reportedly has agreed to a six-year, $60-million contract extension with the New York Jets. Ferguson, selected to his first Pro Bowl last season, was the team's first-round draft pick out of Virginia in 2006. . . .

The Oakland Raiders say they did all they could to help quarterback JaMarcus Russell before releasing him two months ago.

The Raiders issued a statement on Wednesday, two days after Russell was charged with possession of a controlled substance -- codeine syrup -- after being arrested at his home in Mobile, Ala.

The team says it tried to intervene in "myriad" issues surrounding Russell.


Top seed Sam Querrey was upset in the second round of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I., extending the No. 1 seed's run of never winning the title in the 34 years of the tournament.

Querrey was beaten, 6-4, 6-3, by Dustin Brown, who had 14 aces en route to his first victory against a player ranked in the top 20. In other matches, No. 5 seed Mardy Fish advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over former Virginia star Somdev Devvarman . . . .

Legg Mason Tennis Classic organizers announced that Argentina's David Nalbandian, a former world No. 3, has received the first of four wild-card berths, joining a field led by Andy Roddick (No. 9), Robin Soderling (No. 5) and Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych (No. 8). The tournament will run July 31-Aug. 8 at the William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park.


Less than 12 hours after being named to the WNBA all-star team, Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne was named Eastern Conference player of the month. Langhorne averaged 18.5 points over eight contests in June, while recording the top shooting percentage in the East (64.3 percent) during that time. . . .

The Buffalo Sabres signed free agent center Rob Niedermayer to a one-year deal. Niedermayer, 35, has played in 16 seasons in the NHL.

Last year he had 22 points in 71 games with New Jerseys.

-- From news services and staff reports

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