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


With NFL training camps set to open this week, two of the game's biggest defensive stars were wrapping up a little off-season defensive work in the courtroom.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy were both convicted in separate criminal cases last week, with Smith pleading no contest and Hardy being found guilty following a trial.

What were the players convicted of and how serious are their sentences?

Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez is facing fresh legal trouble: He's being sued by his lawyer David Cornwell for $380,000 in unpaid legal fees.

The veteran sports attorney and his firm, Atlanta-based Gordon & Rees, represented Rodriguez in his failed attempt to get his season-long suspension from Major League Baseball overturned, the New York Daily News reports. Rodriguez was suspended after being implicated in a wide-ranging scandal involving the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs.

What the story behind A-Rod's unpaid fees, and how is Cornwell planning on getting Rodriguez to fork them over?

A Georgia court has declined to adopt the so-called "baseball rule," allowing a lawsuit involving a 6-year-old girl injured by a foul ball at an Atlanta Braves game to proceed.

The suit was filed by the girl's father after a foul ball shattered the girl's skull, leaving her with traumatic brain injuries, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves had appealed a lower court judge's ruling that the "baseball rule" -- which would have effectively barred the suit -- was not recognized as Georgia law.

What is the "baseball rule," and why did the court decline to recognize it?

Three high-profile athletes were stopped on pot charges within the past week, with some facing serious potential consequences.

Texas Rangers' Geovany Soto was pinched on Wednesday for misdemeanor marijuana possession, although the player has been out this season with a knee injury. Meantime, college athletes in Alabama and Georgia were also arrested on marijuana charges which may block them from playing.

What do these allegedly pot-possessing athletes have to expect after their pot stops?

A high school football player is set to receive a $300,000 brain-injury settlement, despite his claims that he never agreed to the settlement.

In 2012, Michael Rouchleau and his parents sued the Three Forks School District for a life-altering traumatic brain injury he suffered while playing football for the school. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that the Rouchleaus and the district had reached a $300,000 settlement agreement last year, but Michael had recently changed his mind.

Why was the initial brain-injury settlement upheld?

After deliberating for more than a week, a jury has found the Los Angeles Dodgers partly liable for injuries to Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan who was nearly beaten to death following an opening day game in 2011.

The Dodgers were found 100 percent liable for Stow's economic damages and 25 percent liable for Stow's pain and suffering, reports the Los Angeles Times. The two men who beat Stow, Louis Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, were each found 37.5 percent liable for pain and suffering. Sanchez and Norwood both pleaded guilty to felony charges earlier this year and were sentenced to eight and four years in prison, respectively.

How much are the Dodgers going to have to pony up?

NBA all-star Kevin Garnett has blocked more than 2,000 shots over his 19-year NBA career.

But a blocked view in his exclusive Malibu, California, neighborhood may land Garnett in some serious trouble. A neighbor is suing KG, claiming Garnett's untrimmed trees are blocking his ocean view and alleging that Garnett made illegal renovations to his home, TMZ reports.

What's the scoop on this high-dollar neighbor dispute?

The NFL's brain-injury settlement was granted preliminary approval in federal court Monday, but former players and their families aren't celebrating just yet.

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody approved the revised settlement which would compensate former athletes and their heirs for brain injuries incurred by years of concussions suffered on the field. According to Reuters, these concussions were shown to cause to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), leading to aggression and dementia.

As the settlement begins to move forward with compensation, here are three things of legal importance to keep in mind:

What's worse than getting caught on the kiss cam? A fan caught by ESPN's cameras sleeping at a Yankees-Red Sox game is suing ESPN and the Yankees for portraying him as "fatty, unintelligent, and stupid."

Andrew Robert Rector is wide awake now, and he's suing for $10 million in damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress after the network broadcast him sleeping at an April 13 game. Rector is also suing ESPN announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk for allegedly unleashing an "avalanche of disparaging words" against the snoozing fan, reports Courthouse News Service.

What the ZZZ is up with this ESPN suit?

A Michigan soccer referee died days after being punched in the head by a player during one of his adult-league matches.

John Bieniewicz, 44, a father of two from the Detroit suburb of Westland, died from his injuries Tuesday, after being hospitalized from a player's punch on Sunday. CNN reports that Bassel Abdul-Amir Saad, 36, of Dearborn, has been charged as the attacker, and is currently being held on $500,000 bail.

How will this ref's alleged assailant be prosecuted?