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


Cris Carter, who is a former all-pro wide receiver, current NFL broadcast personality, Hall of Famer, and most certainly not an attorney, nevertheless had some sage legal advice for NFL noobs at last year's rookie symposium: "If y'all got a crew, you got to have a fall guy in the crew."

Children, listen to your elder, who was banned his senior season in college for signing with an agent, cut from his first pro team for drug and alcohol abuse, and seemingly has no idea how the criminal justice system works.

It's been a long and winding road for the NFL's concussion settlement with former players: It was a done deal. And then it wasn't enough. And then it was increased, so it was OK. But players still tried to block it, and then a bunch opted out.

Now, ten former players are asking a court to quash the settlement on behalf of players yet to be diagnosed with a brain injury. So where does the settlement go from here?

Taking a client out for dinner or grabbing a meal while on a business trip is one thing. Feeding an entire team of ravenous hockey players is quite another.

The IRS treats both the same way when it comes to tax deductions, and now the Boston Bruins owner is pushing back. The team is suing the federal government's tax agency for the right to deduct the full amount of team meals while on the road.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that football players for Northwestern University do not have the right to unionize. The players, arguing that they were employees of the university, were campaigning for guaranteed scholarships, improved medical protections for players, and a fund that would allow players to continue to pursue their educations after their athletic eligibility expired.

This ruling overturns a previous decision from an NLRB regional office in Chicago which had originally granted the players, under the banner of the College Athletes Players Association, the right to form a union. Although this appears to be the end of the fight for Northwestern players specifically, the decision doesn't foreclose the issue of college athletes organizing a union.

Top 5 Illegal Sports

Normally at Tarnished Twenty we stick to the sports on the field/pitch/court/ice/turf, and we leave the criminal stuff to our FindLaw Blotter blog. But criminal law often overlaps with athletic activities, especially in the context of sports that take place outside stadiums and arenas.

Here's a list of sports you won't find on ESPN and could get you arrested:

Two skydivers who parachuted off 1 World Trade Center were spared jail time on Monday, but got a stern talking-to from the judge in their case.

A jury convicted the men in June and the prosecutor in the case asked for 60 days in jail for each of them. Instead, the judge punished them with fines and community service.

According to transcripts leaked by the National Enquirer, Hulk Hogan went on a videotaped, racist tirade, referring to black people as "f***ing n*****s," and admitting "I am a racist, to a point."

His words were reportedly transcribed from a sex tape at the middle of a $100 million lawsuit he filed against Gawker Media for posting a clip of the sex tape online. World Wrestling Entertainment swiftly cut ties with Hogan, and allegedly began scrubbing references to the wrestler from its website.

The long legal saga of the Department of Justice versus Barry Lamar Bonds appears to have come to a close, ending not with a bang (or a clang of prison cell doors) but with a whimper: a single paragraph saying the DOJ would not pursue the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

After at least $6 million spent on his trial and appeals, not a single conviction stuck, not even for lying under oath or misleading prosecutors. So, what did we learn from all this?

Domestic violence, a crime police and prosecutors once considered a family matter, has become a central focus for law enforcement and victim's advocates. The media has shone the most light on domestic abuse involving professional athletes. 

While the Ray Rice incident, with accompanying brutal video footage, might've gained the most attention recently, a new investigation shows that domestic abuse arrests among MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters is twice that of the general population and triple that of NFL players.

A California judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging FIFA, the U.S. Soccer Federation, and other governing bodies failed to adequately reduce the risk of concussions and other head injuries.

According to U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton, the plaintiffs, seven soccer players, failed to demonstrate any existing or imminent injuries or any link to the organizations named in the lawsuit. While the claims against FIFA were dismissed with prejudice (meaning they can't be brought again), the judge allowed the plaintiffs to amend their claims against other governing bodies if they could provide additional evidence of injuries.