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


Although the terms DUI and drunken driving are often used interchangeably, most people know that the "I" in DUI can represent being intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.

Most people, that is, except Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, apparently. Bell was recently cited for marijuana possession during a traffic stop. According to the criminal complaint in that case, Bell told an officer, "I didn't know you could get a DUI for being high" before admitting that he had recently smoked marijuana and had a small amount in his possession, reports Pittsburgh's WPXI-TV.

Although Bell wasn't cited for DUI, why might his incriminating statement still come back to haunt him?

ESPN's Linda Cohn was injured when a coin change machine fell on her at an ice rink, and now she's suing.

The veteran sportscaster suffered a "real deep" wound to her right arm in March, reports The Journal News. Cohn received 25 stitches to her arm that left "a Frankenstein-like scar that looks like her hand and arm were sewn together," and she's suing the owners of the Brewster Ice Arena in Brewster, New York, to recover.

How did this coin machine fall on Cohn, and is the rink responsible?

Punter Chris Kluwe, who became known more for his outspoken support of gay rights than his on-field play, has settled his dispute with his former team, the Minnesota Vikings.

Kluwe was threatening to sue the team for wrongful termination, claiming that his release from the Vikings last year was because of his support for same-sex marriage, not because of his performance on the field, reports The Associated Press.

What are the terms of the settlement reached by Kluwe and the Vikings?

The University of Tulsa has been slapped with a Title IX suit in federal court based on one student's allegations that she was raped by a prominent college basketball player at the school.

Abigail Ross claims in her suit that basketball player Patrick Swilling Jr. sexually assaulted her in January. Ross asserts that the university, colloquially referred to as TU, "undertook zero investigation" of Swilling or his conduct, despite as many as three prior sexual assault reports from other TU students, reports ESPN.

How does this alleged treatment relate to Title IX?

Athletes accused of domestic violence make for sensational headlines, but a new statistic shows that divorce may actually occupy much more of the average pro athlete's home life.

According to The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, the divorce rate for professional athletes is somewhere between 60 and 80 percent -- much higher than the 50 percent estimated for all Americans, reports Forbes.

But does this downplay the impact of domestic violence among pro athletes? Here's some legal insght:

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is now the official owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

National Basketball Association owners unanimously voted to approve the team's sale to Ballmer last week. However, the sale couldn't be completed until a California court confirmed that Shelly Sterling, wife of former owner Donald Sterling, had the authority to sell the team without her husband's consent, reports ESPN. On Tuesday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge issued an order finalizing an earlier ruling that allowing the sale.

How did Ballmer's $2 billion purchase of the Clippers end up hinging on a court order?

A Federal judge ruled on Friday that the NCAA can no longer prevent college football and basketball players from sharing in proceeds generated by use of their likenesses.

The ruling by U.S. District Court judge Claudia Wilken found that NCAA rules prohibiting athletes from being paid for use of their names, images, and likenesses violate federal antitrust laws, reports CBS Sports. The judge issued an injunction prohibiting the NCAA from enforcing its current rules, but he did not grant proposals by the plaintiffs -- former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon and 19 other former NCAA athletes -- to allow athletes to enter into paid endorsement deals or individual licensing agreements.

What led to O'Bannon's five-year legal battle against the NCAA, and what does the ruling mean for current and future NCAA athletes?

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart has been accused of running over and killing a fellow competitor during a race Saturday in upstate New York.

Kevin Ward Jr., 20, was pronounced dead shortly after being allegedly struck by Stewart's car and dragged a short distance at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Deadspin reports that among the many eyewitnesses who took to the Internet, some felt that the crash was retaliation and not an accident.

As investigators continue to look into the incident, what charges could Stewart potentially face in the wake of Ward's death?

The NCAA's board of directors voted Thursday to give the five largest football conferences the freedom to begin paying their athletes small stipends as part of their scholarship packages.

The vote came as the five largest conferences -- the Pac-12, Southeastern, Big Ten, Big 12, and Atlantic Coast conferences -- had threatened to splinter off to form their own association if not granted greater autonomy, according to Time. The vote comes amid ongoing lawsuits pitting players against the NCAA on the subject of athlete pay.

What do the new rules allow, and what are the current court cases that have big college sports programs worried?

The Miami-Dade County School Board has announced that it will begin testing high school athletes for steroid use during the upcoming school year.

The school district hopes that the pilot testing program, the specifics of which are still being worked out, will discourage the use of performance enhancing drugs by district students, reports the Miami Herald. Announcement of the program comes after Antonio Bosch, founder of the Biogenesis clinic linked to steroid use by Major League Baseball players, admitted to also providing steroids to Florida high school athletes.

While the program may be well-intentioned, is it legal?