Tarnished Twenty - FindLaw Sports Law Blog

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


The rise of e-sports, televised video game competitions, has been meteoric. Matches are pulling in 5-figure crowds and players are pulling in six-figure winnings. And when sports start making big money on the field, gamblers will want to make big money off it.

An ex-HP and Microsoft executive is betting big on the future of e-sports gambling. Rahul Sood founded the e-sports betting site Unikrn in anticipation that gambling on e-sports will be legal within two years.

Anyone who knows and loves "Any Given Sunday" remembers how frustrating it was to watch the Miami Sharks play the Minnesota Americans for the right to win the Pantheon Cup Championship, when we all knew the movie was about the NFL. So there had to be some relief when HBO's NFL-based show "Ballers" premiered on Sunday, featuring actual logos of the Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, and others.

So wait -- why does HBO get to use the real thing and Oliver Stone has to make cheap team knockoffs? Don't they need permission from the NFL?

Starting quarterback Anthony Jennings was one of four LSU football players arrested on Thursday. Also arrested were cornerback Dwayne Thomas, defensive lineman Maquedius Bain, and defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao.

All four players were booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish prison and have been suspended indefinitely from the football team.

Baseball is a game known for keeping its numbers sacred. And after the statistical revolution of the past couple decades, teams hold the data they keep on players with the utmost secrecy.

Well, almost utmost.

The FBI is now investigating members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization for hacking into a proprietary player database kept by the Houston Astros. As details emerge, this was hack was more 8th grade prankster than sophisticated IRS data thieves, so let's take a look at some of the highlights:

The ever-present question in response to the ongoing FIFA corruption investigation has been: how far will this go? Will it force Sepp Blatter out? Yes. Will Jack Warner do something stupid or crazy? Yes and yes. Will Russia and Qatar lose their World Cup bids for 2018 and 2022? Maybe.

FIFA's head of compliance told a Swiss newspaper, "If evidence should emerge that the awards to Qatar and Russia only came about thanks to bought votes, then the awards could be invalidated." Given the inevitability that such evidence will emerge, and assuming FIFA makes good on this threat, could Russia and Qatar have any legal recourse if they lose out on hosting the World Cup?

After being married to Glory Johnson for only 28 days, Brittney Griner recently filed court documents to end their marriage.

Brittney Griner, a WNBA player, filed for an annulment of her short marriage to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson on the basis of fraud and duress. Griner claims that Johnson's threats rushed and pressured Griner into the marriage. The annulment comes as a surprise because Johnson just announced that she is pregnant with the couple's first child. Griner claims she did not know about the pregnancy before it was announced, and has no biological connection to the baby.

These days, it can be hard to distinguish between patent trolls and legitimate responses to patent infringement. And while golf giant Titleist might not fit your standard definition of a patent troll, its lawsuits against ten small golf ball companies doesn't feel all that legitimate.

Well five of those companies are firing back at Acushnet (parent company of Titleist), the leading golf ball manufacturer in the country, claiming that their balls don't infringe on any of Acushnet's patents. So is this an innovator protecting its invention, or one big company trying to bully smaller ones out of the market?

If you follow international soccer, the question wasn't whether FIFA was a corrupt sporting institution, but whether it was the most corrupt sporting institution. And while allegations of bribery were rampant, FIFA's executives remained largely untouchable.

That all changed overnight. Early this morning, Swiss Police arrested seven FIFA officials and corporate executives in Zurich as they gathered for the governing body's elections. Seven others have also been arrested, based on indictments from the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, and IRS, and all 14 are expected to be extradited to the United States to face a litany of charges including wire fraud, money laundering, and racketeering.

Let's take a look at the 3 biggest questions raised by the surprise arrests.

A New Jersey judge dismissed domestic violence charges against former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, following his completion of a pretrial intervention program.

The charges stemmed from a brutal attack on his wife Janay in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February 2014. Graphic video of the incident surfaced last September.

Fans have long-complained about sports leagues' TV blackout rules, which restrict certain games from certain broadcasters. But one group of fans who decided to sue Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League over their use of blackouts got a huge boost last week.

U.S. District Court judge Shira Scheindlin granted the plaintiffs' motion to certify class-action status, finding that all consumers in the market for MLB and NHL content have the same alleged injury and can therefore sue as a group.

Here's what that could mean for fans down the road.