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


Confirming what had widely been speculated for months, the NBA is relocating the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina because of recent state legislation removing discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, and transgender citizens. Known as HB2, that law also barred transgender people from using bathrooms with gender designations different from those on their birth certificates, and has garnered nation-wide criticism and DOJ lawsuits.

So gone are the game and the attendant week's worth of festivities. As the league said in a statement, "we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2."

It's not just the NFL that has a concussion lawsuit problem. Jimmy Snuka and 50 other retired wrestlers filed a lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., claiming the enterprise "placed corporate gain over its wrestlers' health, safety and financial security, choosing to leave the plaintiffs severely injured and with no recourse to treat their damaged minds and bodies."

Like previous lawsuits against the NFL and NHL, the WWE claim alleges that the league knew about the long-term neurological effects of wrestling and hid them from athletes. Here's a look at how the latest brain injury lawsuit mirrors and differs from those filed before.

The seedy underworld of fight promotion has always been legally murky. After all, the most visible face of boxing promotion, Don King, once pistol-whipped and stomped a former employee to death over $600. So it's no surprise that one promotion company would accuse another of shady dealings, and it's also no surprise that teasing the facts out of so much bluster would be difficult, if not impossible.

And so it is now that "Sugar" Shane Mosley's promotional company, Pound for Pound Promotions, is suing Oscar De La Hoya's promotional company, Golden Boy Promotions, asking for $15 million in back pay, breach of contract, and bad faith damages. Let's take a look at the CompuBox numbers:

A college athlete gets in trouble with the law and lawyers up pretty quickly. Then the questions start. How did he find an attorney so fast? Who's paying for the lawyer? And why does he need a lawyer if he's innocent. (This last one can be dispelled quickly -- anyone charged with a crime should hire a lawyer.)

But the first two are far more interesting, especially following news that the University of Tennessee will pay eight women $2.48 million dollars to settle sexual assault claims against student-athletes, and will also stop giving out a list of local lawyers to athletes.

We all want to believe in the integrity of sporting contests, and believe that all of the athletes involved are on a level playing field, physically at least. Hence the drive to define performance enhancing drugs, the continuous testing of athletes, and the hysteria over positive tests.

And while it's easy to become apathetic to the latest reports of doped up athletes -- it may be harder to find the clean ones these days -- some stories are so big they can't help but shock you. Here are three of the biggest doping scandals that still reverberate with fans today:

The NFL, along with most other major sports leagues, has been happy to distinguish between drugs it calls performance enhancing and those that are performance enabling. The former, like HGH, steroids, and masking agents, are strictly prohibited and will get you suspended. The latter, like cortisone, Toradol, and other anti-inflammatories and painkillers, are apparently tossed out like candy -- anything to get you back on the field. Without those drugs, many players would be too hurt to play, something their coaches, trainers, doctors, and other team employees simply couldn't abide.

A recent lawsuit is now pulling this practice out of dungeon-like training rooms and into the courthouse light. Etopia Evans, widow of the former Minnesota Viking and Baltimore Raven Charles "Chuck" Evans, is suing every NFL team for illegally pushing painkillers on their players, and alleging misconduct as far back as the 1960s. Here's a look at the lawsuit.

The NBA has dismissed and disqualified free agent guard O.J. Mayo under the league's anti-drug program. According to a press release, Mayo will be eligible to apply for reinstatement in two years.

The league said it was "prohibited from publicly disclosing information regarding the testing or treatment of any NBA player under the Anti-Drug Program," and announced only the suspension and reinstatement restriction. So what did Mayo test positive for, and what does it mean for him?

Over the past year, few have fought as hard or as vocally against daily fantasy websites as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman's office was among the first to begin investigating sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, and soon the AG was demanding that the sites stop taking New Yorkers' money and even return money they had accepted previously. But the icy relationship between NY and DFS may be warming a bit.

The state legislature approved a bill that would legalize and regulate daily fantasy sites last week, perhaps looking for a piece of the billion-dollar online gambling pie. But no touchdown dance yet -- the bill still needs approval from the governor.

Johnny Manziel's legal problems are no secret. And when it's not the 23-year-old former Browns quarterback getting himself in trouble, it's his lawyer. Already facing misdemeanor charges for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Manziel was allegedly the victim of a hit-and-run last week. And when the AP reached out to his lawyer for comment, Robert Hinton spilled a whole lot of beans about his client.

"Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle," the attorney texted the AP last week, before going into detail about a receipt allegedly detailing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise purchased from a Dallas marijuana shop. In the least surprising news ever, Hinton has withdrawn from further representing Manziel.

We can quibble about whether certain substances are in fact performance enhancing, and we point out that global anti-doping agencies don't always have the most due process-friendly testing and punishment schemes. What we can all agree on, though, is that you can't have one country's drug testing authorities surreptitiously swapping out tainted urine, destroying incriminating samples, and having drug testers threatened by federal security agents.

So it's hard to gather any sympathy for Russia's track and field team, which will be barred from the Olympics in Rio this summer, punishment for the largest drug scandal since East Germany was secretly doping its own athletes in the '60s, '70s, and '80s.