Tarnished Twenty - The FindLaw Sports Law Blog - features sports law news and info about sports figures in trouble with the law


Today's Supreme Court ruling wasn't part of the Redskins' trademark battle over the franchise's controversial Native American logo and name, but the team's management and lawyers are still celebrating. That's because the big trademark ruling in the case of the Asian American music group, The Slants, paves the way for the Washington Redskins to restore the trademark rights that were cancelled by a federal court in 2015.

The music group's case centered on the same problem the Redskins are currently appealing, the Lanham Act's disparagement clause. Basically, the disparagement clause allows the Patent and Trademark Office to deny a trademark application when the trademark contains phrases or images that are offensive. The Court found the clause to be unconstitutional, and that the music group's controversial name was protected by the First Amendment, and, therefore, the band could not be denied trademark protection.

Former NASCAR driver, Adam Hilton, filed a federal lawsuit last week as a result of his arrest, and the failed prosecution against him. The case stems from what he contends were clearly false allegations against him. In addition to suing the sheriff and a few deputies, Hilton has also named his stepdaughter's biological father as a defendant, and as the mastermind of a criminal plot against him.

The criminal charges brought against Hilton are every stepparent's worst nightmare. According to the lawsuit, Hilton alleges that the biological father, Harold Bellm, bribed his own teenage daughter with cash, birth control, marijuana, and even getting out of discipline, in order to make false sexual abuse accusations against Hilton. As for the Sheriff's part in this drama, Hilton is claiming that poor training and supervision allowed the investigation and prosecution to move forward against him, despite his stepdaughter's story clearly being fabricated.

Injuries are a reality of playing sports. But, as much as possible, clubs, coaches, and schools are responsible for minimizing injury risks, especially to younger athletes. And coaches especially have to be properly trained in order to avoid risky training drills and spot risks as they arise.

That training allegedly did not happen in Spackenkill, New York, where a high school softball player sustained serious brain injuries after being hit in the head with a metal bat during a drill. Four years later, a jury awarded her and her father $1.1 million for her injuries.

While the Golden State Warriors are gearing up for Game 4 of the NBA finals, a San Antonio Spurs season ticket holder is gearing up for litigation. Juan Vasquez has filed a lawsuit on behalf of himself and all Spurs season ticket holders against Zaza Pachulia and the Warriors over Kawhi Leonard's Game 1 injury.

The controversy over this injury inflamed NBA fans, and particularly Spurs fans. Although Leonard publicly stated that he believes Pachulia's actions were not intentional, countless fans, including Vasquez, reviewing the tape believe otherwise. Sadly, the controversy got so hot that Pachulia had to shut down his Instagram account due to receiving death threats.

It's not often that stadium security has to eject a fan. And a fan would need to work pretty hard to get banned for life from a stadium. Well, dropping a racial slur, then confirming the slur to neighboring fans, just one night after other fans in the stadium made national news for racially abusing a visiting player is hard work enough to get banned for life.

Such was the fate of one Boston Red Sox fan, who was ejected, then banned for life from Fenway Park earlier this month after making a racist remark about a Kenyan woman who had just finished singing the national anthem.

Between 2015 and 2016, at a high school in Napa, California, multiple hazing incidents are alleged to have occurred involving the football team. The allegations span both this, and last year's school year. As a result, 17 of the school's football players were investigated in relation to the allegations. Of those investigated, 6 were arrested and are now being charged with various crimes related to the hazing.

Specific information about juvenile cases is not usually released. Notably, the district attorney refused to charge the coach. The DA explained that due to the lack of evidence against the coach, no charges could ethically be filed. More charges could be filed as the cases unfold.

The rise in drugged driving instances claimed a new, iconic face over the Memorial Day weekend. Tiger Woods was found asleep in his car on the side of a Florida road early Monday morning and failed numerous roadside sobriety tests, yet blew a .000 on the breathalyzer, twice.

But Woods was still arrested and charged with DUI. Here's why.

Last year, North Carolina passed HB2, a law that prohibited cities within the state from passing anti-LGBT discrimination laws that exceed state protections and mandated that transgender people use public restrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificates. Among other corporations, artists, and sports leagues that boycotted the state in response, the NBA pulled its 2017 all-star game from Charlotte, the city whose LGBT protection law had spurred HB2 in the first place.

And now, with the bathroom provisions of HB2 rescinded in March, the NBA is returning to North Carolina with the 2019 all-star game. Here's a look and the change in the law, and the change in the league's attitude.

There are, as of this writing, still two active lawsuits against the NFL and/or its member teams regarding the prescription of painkillers to players. Dent v. NFL was filed in the District Court of Northern California in May 2014 and claimed the league withheld medical information from players, oversaw acquisition and dispensing of medications, and violated state and federal prescription drug laws. A year later, Etopia Evans v. Arizona Cardinals was filed in Maryland but moved to the same court and judge as Dent. The Evans case makes many of the same legal claims as Dent, but against the member teams instead of the league.

In addition, the NFL Players Association recently filed a grievance against the league, citing the same factual allegations as the lawsuits, but claiming these actions violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the Players Association. So how does the grievance differ from the lawsuits? And how might it affect existing litigation?

Good news for those that love buying signed collectibles: As of January 1, 2017, dealers in the state of California that sell signed collectibles are now required to provide a certificate of authenticity for any signed collectible worth over $5. While the law doesn't apply to private individuals conducting sales, there are still several concerns about the new law for consumers.

Whether it is a piece of fine art, a Jeremy Bulloch signed Star Wars action figure, some ultra-rare Christopher Rush signed Magic: the Gathering cards, or a signed Darryl Strawberry rookie card, if it's worth more than $5, a collectibles dealer risks serious legal consequences by not providing the legally required and rather specific certificate of authenticity. While California consumers may benefit from decreased fraud in the signed collectibles market, the law will likely impact many dealers' ability to even sell signed items moving forward.