Russ Brandon abruptly resigned his dual role as president of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres after being confronted by the teams’ owners regarding an alleged inappropriate relationship with a female employee Brandon Guyer Cleveland Indians Jersey , two people with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because it is an internal matter, and owners Terry and Kim Pegula did not provide a reason for accepting Brandon’s resignation in a statement they released Tuesday.
The relationship in question first became apparent to a number of team employees during the Sabres’ visit to New York for a game against the Rangers on Jan. 18, the people said. The trip included the team hosting a fan event at a bar the day before the game.
Kim Pegula will take over Brandon’s roles overseeing the Bills, Sabres and Pegula Sports Entertainment, the company which controls the owners’ numerous holdings.
In a text to The AP, Brandon said he has contemplated stepping down from the job for some time, and felt the timing was right after the conclusion of the NFL draft.
”My goal when the Pegulas purchased the franchise was to reach 20 years with the Bills, in which I achieved this past November,” Brandon wrote.
”As grateful as I am for the amazing experience and the incredible people I’ve had the privilege to work with the past two decades, I am just as anxious for the professional opportunities that lie ahead,” he added.
Brandon did not respond to follow-up questions regarding his relationship.
Brandon’s departure comes after the Bills made a big splash in the first round of the draft by trading up to select both Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen with the seventh pick Korey Toomer Color Rush Jersey , and Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds with the 16th pick. The new additions join a Bills team that went 9-7 and ended a 17-year playoff drought last season.
On Saturday, the last-place Sabres earned a boost by winning the NHL draft lottery and the right to the No. 1 pick for the third time in franchise history.
”We have a tremendous amount of confidence in the strong leadership team we have built within each of these entities over the last several years,” the statement from the Pegulas read.
”We are excited about the direction of our teams, especially after this past weekend’s NFL draft and NHL lottery results. Our focus remains on building championship teams on and off the field for our fans and community.”
Brandon most recently served as the Bills’ managing partner, was the Sabres alternate on the NHL’s board of governors and a member of the NFL’s business ventures committee.
The timing of Brandon’s exit comes at a time he was supposed to oversee the Bills’ next big venture in determining their future home. Brandon was expected to lead the team’s stadium search committee in deciding whether the Bills should continue playing at their current home or develop a new facility in downtown Buffalo.
He served in various roles with the Bills, involving both marketing and football decisions during a two-year stint as general manager from 2008-09.
He also took the lead in negotiating the Bills’ most recent lease five years ago, which played a critical role in securing the franchise’s long-term future in Buffalo especially following Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson’s death in March 2014.
The lease included a strict non-relocation clause that included a $400 million penalty the team would be forced to pay if it considered moving before 2020.
Brandon also oversaw the Bills’ eventual sale to the Pegulas, who completed their $1.4 billion purchase of the franchise in October 2014.
The Pegulas retained Brandon and elevated him to the role of managing partner. The Pegulas thought so highly of Brandon, the Sabres were added to his responsibilities after the team reached a mutual agreement to part ways with Ted Black in July 2015.
Brandon’s resignation continues a large turnover of Bills executives who served under Wilson. Bruce Popko is the senior holdover and now becomes the top executive as chief operating officer of Buffalo-based Pegula Sports and Entertainment, which oversees the Pegulas’ numerous holdings.
Brandon grew up in nearby Syracuse, New York http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kenny-young-jersey , and began making his mark in Buffalo shortly after being hired by the Bills in 1997 to serve as the team’s business development and marketing director.
He began by spearheading a campaign to transform them into a regional team by expanding the franchise’s fan base to offset Buffalo’s dropping population base.
That process began in 2000, when the team shifted training camp to Brandon’s alma mater, St. John Fisher College in suburban Rochester, to capitalize on the community’s corporate and larger population base.
Later, the Bills boosted their presence across southern Ontario by negotiating a deal to begin playing annual regular-season games in Toronto starting in 2008. The ”Bills In Toronto” series lasted through 2013 before the deal was placed on hold the following year and then terminated by the Pegulas.
Toronto-based media giant, Rogers Communications, paid the Bills $78 million to essentially lease eight games (five regular season and three preseason) during the initial five-year agreement. The price was almost double what the Bills were projected to generate if those games were played at their home facility.
The series also spurred a large bump in season-ticket purchases from across the border. By 2015, the Bills estimated southern Ontario fans accounted for about 18 percent of their season-ticke If the Golden State Warriors are worried as they head into Game 6 of the Western Conference finals on the brink of elimination, they aren’t showing it.
”We have a chance to tie the series at home. That’s a pretty good position to be in,” coach Steve Kerr said. ”We’ve got to win two basketball games and we’ve done that an awful lot, so we’re very confident.”
The defending champions trail Houston 3-2 in the best-of-seven series after consecutive wins by the Rockets Josh Allen Bills Jersey , capped by Thursday night’s 98-94 victory . Now the series shifts to Oracle Arena, a place where the Warriors have lost just one time in their last 17 playoff games.
Stephen Curry said the Warriors are encouraged despite falling behind in the series because they believe both games could have gone their way and that a few simple corrections will get them back on track.
”We have an opportunity to re-establish ourselves at home, get a big win, keep ourselves alive, and then roll the dice into Game 7,” Curry said. ”Not all is lost.”
Houston’s big win in Game 5 was tempered by a hamstring injury to star Chris Paul which will keep him out of Saturday’s game. It’s a major blow for a team which is looking to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in more than two decades.
The Rockets believe they can absorb this loss and don’t seem daunted by the setback, noting that they found ways to win in the regular season in many games where Paul sat out with injuries.
”I don’t have a doubt,” D’Antoni said. ”They see the challenge … whether CP’s there or not, it’s a heck of a challenge, and they’re up to it. They’re looking forward to it.”
James Harden, who has struggled offensively in the last two games and went 0 for 11 on 3s in Game 5 Lamar Jackson Jersey Elite , rolled his eyes when asked if Paul’s injury puts more pressure on him.
”Pressure for what? It’s Game 6 of the Western Conference finals,” he said. ”There is pressure on everybody.”
While that may be true, the onus is on Harden to step up and deliver an MVP-caliber performance if the Rockets hope to close out this series. Harden has had plenty of playoff disappointments in the last few years and embraces the chance to get Houston back into the finals.
”It’s an opportunity that a lot of people never had and probably won’t ever have,” he said. ”It’s our job to go out there and have fun with it and do the same thing we’ve been doing. We want to take advantage of it.”
While the Rockets will be down a starter, the Warriors could get one back if Andre Iguodala can return on Saturday. The Warriors have missed the defensive presence of Iguodala who has missed the last two games with a bruised left knee.
Iguodala is listed on the injury report as questionable for Game 6 and Kerr said he didn’t have an update on his condition on Friday. But he did address what it would mean to Golden State if he’s healthy enough to go on Saturday.
”He’s a great player,” Kerr said. ”He’s one of our keys, and we’ve missed him the last two games. But we can’t count on it. Injuries happen, and you’ve just got to play with whoever’s out there. So we’re hoping he’s back, and we’ll see what happens.”
Iguodala’s absence has been magnified in this series that has morphed into a defensive slugfest instead of the high-scoring shootout that most expected when it began. The Rockets take great pride in the fact that they’ve limited Golden State to less than 100 points in the last two games and think continuing to play great defense is the only way they’ll advance.
”It’s something we talked about building up all year,” Houston’s P.J. Tucker said. ”To see our defense now be as good as it is, we still think it could be a lot better. We watched film Weston Richburg Color Rush Jersey , and honestly … we didn’t play great defense last night. Everybody will talk about how good a defense we played, but we really don’t feel like that. So just keep working and trying to get better.”
Kerr said the experience of his team, which is trying to reach the finals for the fourth straight year, will be valuable as the Warriors try and climb out of this hole and force Game 7. He referenced the conference finals in 2016 when they fell behind Oklahoma City 3-1 before winning the next three to take the series.
”We’ve been here before,” Kerr said. ”We’ve faced elimination on the road before – this team has – a few years ago. We faced series deficits before. We’ve won all of those series. Our guys have the ultimate confidence that we can get it done this time, too.”