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


In recent years, the debate over whether NCAA athletes should receive compensation for playing sports has gotten hot. Although it is recognized that college sports, especially football and basketball, generate massive piles of money for colleges across the country, paying student athletes is often regarded as taboo.

This week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court denying student athletes minimum wage under the FLSA, and denying that student athletes are even employees. The former student athletes that filed suit claimed that their participation was nearly indistinguishable from a full time job. The courts were not convinced.

On Thursday of last week, former NFL player Joe McKnight was gunned down in the middle of the day during an alleged road rage incident in Louisiana. Friends, family, fans, and the local community are still mourning the loss of the 28-year-old McKnight. Despite police having obtained a confession, the shooter has been released.

While law enforcement has warned that media reports of the story are inaccurate, witness descriptions provided to the media immediately after explain that the shooter pulled McKnight out of his car, then stood over McKnight and fired three shots. Law enforcement pointed out that McKnight was shot three times, once in the chest, once in the hand, and once in the shoulder.

Swimmer Ryan Lochte may just be a fish both in and out of water. He is currently facing criminal charges in a Brazilian court as a result of lying to the police while in the country for the Summer Games. He was offered a plea deal that would have ended the whole fiasco with merely a fine, but, for some inexplicable reason, he rejected the offer. He potential faces some time in a Brazilian jail.

The Olympian falsely claimed that he and three fellow swimmers were robbed at a gas station while returning home from a night of clubbing. However, his tale of woe was quickly discovered to be a tale of lies. Just like in the USA, lying to police in Brazil is a crime. After Lochte lied to the police, it was learned that Lochte and his swimming buds had actually urinated on the gas station and broken the bathroom door.

While no one expected a repeat of the 1995 Major League Baseball strike, labor negotiations came down to the wire between the MLB and player representatives this week. With little more than 24 hours before the prior player agreement was set to expire, the players and management were able to agree to terms for another five year renewal. Surprisingly though, one of the terms of the new deal prohibits new players from using chewing tobacco, also known as chew, dip, and smokeless tobacco.

This year the family of Tony Gwynn, the famous San Diego Padres player that passed away a few years back due to cancer in his salivary glands, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturers of the smokeless tobacco products. Gwynn's cancer was attributed largely to his 30+ years of using chewing tobacco. While Gwynn's untimely death at the age of 54 can't be undone, the MLB seems to be taking a big step toward disassociating chewing tobacco from baseball, which has been used by players since the very beginning.

The NFL has faced quite a few controversies on and off the field, but Darren Sharper's crimes are among the most deplorable the NFL has seen. The former NFL player took a plea deal last year. Since his crimes occurred in multiple jurisdictions, each state's court has issued a different sentence, all of which will be served concurrently.

Most recently, a 20 year sentence was handed down in a Los Angeles courtroom, of which Sharper may only serve half. Earlier, he was sentenced by a Louisiana federal judge to 18 years, but this decision is being appealed. If the appeal is unsuccessful, Sharper may be looking at the full 18 year term behind bars.

Nearly 2.5 years after the lawsuit was filed, Donald Sterling, the NBA, his wife, and several others that Sterling was suing, have settled the case over the controversial, record-setting sale of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.

The $2 billion sale in 2014 came shortly after Sterling was banned from the NBA as a result of racist comments that he made that were captured on a recording. Sterling's wife, Shelly, had Sterling declared as incapacitated, and was able to make the record-setting sale from the Sterling family trust to Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer.

The two largest (and for all intents and purposes only) players in the daily fantasy game have agreed to a blockbuster merger. DraftKings and FanDuel announced the plan to unite on Friday, and don't expect the deal to close until the summer of 2017.

While both companies were quick to assure users that the impending merger would not immediate affect their daily fantasy experience, others aren't so quick to assume it's a done deal. Here's a look at the proposed merger and some possible legal issues both companies may face.

Despite everyone knowing that the super-machismo wrestling that gets aired on prime-time TV to delight pre-teen boys is scripted, the athletes, wrestlers, performers, or what-ever-you-want-to-call-them, suffer real injuries. Even with the matches being scripted, the wrestlers still make contact, hit each other, throw each other around, and face real life risks of permanent injury.

This year, the WWE is facing a lawsuit from over 50 former wrestlers claiming that the organization knew about the dangers of repeated head injuries and did nothing to warn or help their performers. Most recently, Ashley Massaro, one of the "WWE Divas" has joined the lawsuit.

The future is here for athletes. Performance enhancing drugs will soon be a thing of the past once performance enhancing sports apps become more widely used. Last month, news broke that Intel is betting hard on a performance enhancing sports app. Their $9 million investment in Kinduct could pay off big time if the company is able to deliver on its promises.

Kinduct allows athletics programs to monitor their athletes in ways never before possible all in one system. The software works by integrating wearable data, with data gathered from other sources, to enable teams, coaches, trainers, doctors, and even the players, to see performance data, prediction models, and more.

Obviously there are benefits to kids playing sports. And most parents are well aware that with sports comes some possibility of injury. But it can be jarring to learn about new injury concerns, like concussions and severe abdominal injuries, or to hear some injuries are far more common than you thought.

For example, before a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology, you may not have guessed how many eye injuries occurred during youth sports, or which sport is responsible for the most eye injuries. Here’s a look: