Longtime NFL team pres. abruptly quits amid rumors of 'inappropriate relationships with female employees'


Russ Brandon has resigned as president of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres in the wake of an internal investigation “triggered by allegations of inappropriate relationships with female employees,” The Buffalo News reported Tuesday.

Brandon was the top executive of Pegula Sports and Entertainment under owners Terry and Kim Pegula. In that role, he ran the Bills and Sabres as well as the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League and the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League.

The Pegulas announced Tuesday that they had accepted Brandon’s resignation and that Kim Pegula will take over as president.

Brandon had been in the Bills front office since 1997, when he was hired as executive director of business development and marketing under former team owner Ralph Wilson. Brandon was named team president in 2013 as Wilson’s health declined. The Pegulas bought the team after Wilson’s death in 2014 and kept Brandon on in that role.

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The Buffalo News, citing two sources, reported Brandon’s resignation came after PSE conducted an internal investigation into his “workplace behavior and allegations of personal misconduct.”

“When confronted by Kim Pegula, the sources said, Brandon denied any such relationships, but the investigation indicated he was deceitful about that and other job-related issues that were uncovered,” The News reported.

Neither Brandon nor the Pegulas mentioned any misconduct allegations in their announcements Tuesday.

“I have been contemplating transitioning out of my role for some time,” Brandon said in a statement to media outlets. “My goal when the Pegulas purchased the franchise was to reach 20 years with the Bills. Given where we are from a timing standpoint, particularly with the conclusion of the NFL Draft, now seems like the time to make that transition.

“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.”

In their announcement, the Pegulas said: “We have a tremendous amount of confidence in the strong leadership teams we have built within each of those entities over the last several years. 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, a native of East Syracuse, New York, graduated from St. John Fisher College in suburban Rochester in 1989. A year later, he got his start in sports management with the Rochester Red Wings minor league baseball team.

The misconduct allegations against Brandon are the latest to hit the NFL in recent months.

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In December, Carolina Panthers founder and owner Jerry Richardson announced he was selling the team after Sports Illustrated reported he had been accused of sexual harassment by female team employees.

In February, the Houston Texans were sued by a former employee who said the organization “failed to properly investigate and respond to a sexual harassment complaint filed by a former employee in November 2016.”

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Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He has worked as an editor or reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years.
Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He was born in Baltimore and grew up in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Miami (he dreams of wearing the turnover chain) and has worked as an editor and reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years. Todd started at The Miami News (defunct) and went on to work at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times, The Baltimore Sun and Space News before joining Liftable Media in 2016. He and his beautiful wife have two amazing daughters and a very old Beagle.
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