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


The Lance Armstrong doping scandal was one of those things that shook the entire sports world. Armstrong was world-renowned as one of the best bicyclists of all time -- until it was discovered that nearly all of his accolades were the product of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), commonly referred to as steroids, or doping.

From 2001 to 2004, the United States Postal Service gave over $30 million to Lance Armstrong's professional cycling team under a sponsorship agreement. During that time, the sponsorship agreement included a provision that essentially prohibited the use of PEDs by sponsored riders, allowing USPS to suspend or fire riders. Nevertheless, Lance Armstrong earned millions, despite having used PEDs throughout his career.

As if the Sandusky name had not been sullied enough, Jeffrey Sandusky, adopted son of former Penn State football assistant coach and convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, was arrested and charged yesterday on a multitude of child sex charges.

The charges involve text messages to two girls -- one 15 and the other 16-years-old at the time -- asking for naked photos and oral sex. Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller told the AP Sandusky "made statements. I wouldn't classify them necessarily as directly inculpatory, but I don't think they helped him much."

A recent lawsuit filed against Brandon Spikes, of the Buffalo Bills, is seeking payment of a court judgment that was the result of unpaid fish services performed by "the Fish Guy." Spikes, apart for being known for his ability to tackle and move back and forth between the Bills and Patriots, enjoys his tropical fish. Unfortunately, during one of the moves between Buffalo and New England, tropical fish drama ensued. Following the fish drama, the Fish Guy filed his fishy lawsuit.

Spikes had hired the Fish Guy in order to pack up and move his tropical fish and aquarium. Spikes had also purchased a large, $8,000 fish tank from the Fish Guy. During the move, and shortly after, approximately $2,500 worth of Spikes' fish died. Spikes believes that the deaths are due in part to the new tank that was not right, despite being recommended by the Fish Guy, and due to the Fish Guy's negligent packing and moving of them.

While sports teams, leagues, conferences, colleges, and even coaches and other staff have been put in the hot seat over concussion-gate, the well known helmet maker Riddell is being brought into the fray by college and high school football players. While the NFL players' lawsuit against the helmet maker started in the middle of last year and has gone nowhere yet, a class-action was filed last month against the same helmet maker on behalf of former high school and college players.

The new lawsuit contains many of the same allegations as the NFL players' suit regarding the helmet company's safety claims, as well as allegations that the manufacturer failed to warn players about the dangers of repeated concussions, which their helmets could not prevent. It is alleged that Riddell was aware that its marketing and advertising were misleading, and that they misrepresented the safety of their helmets.

It turns out the cheerleaders employed by pro football teams aren't big fans of their teams' employment agreements. And perhaps for good reason. A new class action lawsuit claims 26 of its 32 teams agreed "to eliminate competition for female athletes with the intent and effect of suppressing the compensation and mobility of female athletes."

Filed by a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader just days before the Super Bowl, the lawsuit also says the NFL itself "conspired with the Defendant NFL Member Teams to coordinate, encourage, facilitate, and implement the agreement in order to pay female athletes below fair market value."

A Salt Lake City, Utah, teen filed a federal lawsuit against her school district in order to have the same right as boys to choose which wrestling team she joins. Yesterday, news broke on Twitter that the federal court judge approved the emergency injunction, which was requested at the time of filing the lawsuit, that will allow her to wrestle in the upcoming season which is close to starting.

Kathleen is 15, but unlike 15-year-old boys in her junior high, she was not allowed to choose whether she wanted to wrestle on the high school team or the junior high team. The school district was requiring her to join the high school team, which is made up of older student athletes and would require her to miss part of her last class each day to travel to practice. Additionally, it is nothing more than a policy issue as the school already has adequate facilities.

Louisville Slugger is probably the most famous name in bat making. But a group of customers are suing the legendary brand, claiming it manufactured a defective bat and then tried to avoid liability by claiming the defect was intentional, to help customers improve their swings.

It's a novel approach, but will it be a home run in court?

Football is one of those sports where the fans delight in the big plays and the big hits. But, over the last few years, after the controversy over player concussions and the link to long-term illness was exposed, big hits are now seen as big risks.

This month, another federal lawsuit was filed against the NCAA by former college football players alleging long-term injuries related to concussions suffered while playing college ball. The five players are all alleging that the NCAA, as well as the Big 12 conference, failed to warn and protect players from the long-term risks of concussions.

Ideally, a round of golf is a good long walk, spoiled by intermittent swings of a club at a small, stationary ball, producing more or less attractive and effective arcs of flight. The more sinister golf courses impede this walk and the ball's trajectory towards a hole with various hazards of trees, water, hills, and sand, tormenting players of various skill to corresponding various degrees.

What no golfer expects, while making the leisurely rounds of nine or eighteen holes, however, is to find himself chest deep in quicksand.

While the headline is racy, the allegations of this lawsuit are nothing short of horrifying. A high school junior varsity cheerleader from Albuquerque, New Mexico, alleged that she was criminally harassed by her teammates and that the coaches and school did nothing to help her. What's worse, the school actively sought to escape liability by holding the teenager's school transfer request hostage behind a settlement agreement.

The lawsuit is claiming multiple violations of the student's civil rights under Title IX, the First Amendment and 42 USC 1983, in addition to the school conspiring to deprive the student of her civil rights under 42 USC 1985.