Tarnished Twenty - The FindLaw Sports Law Blog - features sports law news and info about sports figures in trouble with the law


The debate over compensating college athletes has raged for decades. And while the idea of paying student athletes a wage for playing a sport (or even allowing them to receive anything of value beyond a scholarship) remains dead on arrival, the notion that players should be compensated for their likeness has been gaining traction recently.

Last year, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the NCAA can't deny student athletes "the monetary value of their names, images and likenesses when used for commercial purposes." Given that colleges and universities were ordered to set aside money for the use of player likenesses until they graduate, the ruling ostensibly applied to athletes while they are enrolled in school. But what about before or after?

We may soon find out, as former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman has filed a lawsuit against the school and corporate partners Honda, Nike, and IMG College, LLC over the use of his name and image on banners displayed at venerable Ohio Stadium.

While Venus Williams was competing for a Wimbledon title, her lawyers were competing behind the scenes on a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the tennis star. Although police cleared Williams of responsibility in a car accident in Florida that ultimately claimed the life of Jerome Barson, Barson's widow and family sued, and discovery in the case is beginning to heat up.

The Daily Mail reports that Barson's family is requesting Williams's driving records, car insurance documents, and phone bills for the month of June, along with information regarding any and all medications she may have taken before the fatal crash.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a lawsuit, no escape from reality. Open your eyes, look up the Fan Duel and Draft Kings merger to see: the FTC has alleged that the merger violates the Clayton Act due to concerns that it will create a monopoly for daily fantasy sports.

The lawsuit, filed last month by the FTC, seeks to resolve the concern created by the merger by stopping it. Namely, since Fan Duel and Draft Kings are the main providers of paid fantasy sports gaming nationwide, when it comes to these contests or games, consumers don't really have any other choices. By merging together, consumers will have even less choice, and this will allow the sole company resulting from the merger to not have to be concerned about competition in the free market.

When it comes to signing one of those summer sports camp injury waivers, many parents often worry that they are signing away all their rights to sue if something goes wrong. Fortunately, this is not entirely the case.

Courts routinely refuse to uphold waivers in all sorts of situations. Although waivers do get upheld and enforced, even the best liability waiver is not going to work every time. Parents that are concerned about their children being injured due to just playing the sport will likely be disappointed to find out that most sports related injuries where there was adequate supervision do not lead to legal liability.

Today's Supreme Court ruling wasn't part of the Redskins' trademark battle over the franchise's controversial Native American logo and name, but the team's management and lawyers are still celebrating. That's because the big trademark ruling in the case of the Asian American music group, The Slants, paves the way for the Washington Redskins to restore the trademark rights that were cancelled by a federal court in 2015.

The music group's case centered on the same problem the Redskins are currently appealing, the Lanham Act's disparagement clause. Basically, the disparagement clause allows the Patent and Trademark Office to deny a trademark application when the trademark contains phrases or images that are offensive. The Court found the clause to be unconstitutional, and that the music group's controversial name was protected by the First Amendment, and, therefore, the band could not be denied trademark protection.

Former NASCAR driver, Adam Hilton, filed a federal lawsuit last week as a result of his arrest, and the failed prosecution against him. The case stems from what he contends were clearly false allegations against him. In addition to suing the sheriff and a few deputies, Hilton has also named his stepdaughter's biological father as a defendant, and as the mastermind of a criminal plot against him.

The criminal charges brought against Hilton are every stepparent's worst nightmare. According to the lawsuit, Hilton alleges that the biological father, Harold Bellm, bribed his own teenage daughter with cash, birth control, marijuana, and even getting out of discipline, in order to make false sexual abuse accusations against Hilton. As for the Sheriff's part in this drama, Hilton is claiming that poor training and supervision allowed the investigation and prosecution to move forward against him, despite his stepdaughter's story clearly being fabricated.

Injuries are a reality of playing sports. But, as much as possible, clubs, coaches, and schools are responsible for minimizing injury risks, especially to younger athletes. And coaches especially have to be properly trained in order to avoid risky training drills and spot risks as they arise.

That training allegedly did not happen in Spackenkill, New York, where a high school softball player sustained serious brain injuries after being hit in the head with a metal bat during a drill. Four years later, a jury awarded her and her father $1.1 million for her injuries.

While the Golden State Warriors are gearing up for Game 4 of the NBA finals, a San Antonio Spurs season ticket holder is gearing up for litigation. Juan Vasquez has filed a lawsuit on behalf of himself and all Spurs season ticket holders against Zaza Pachulia and the Warriors over Kawhi Leonard's Game 1 injury.

The controversy over this injury inflamed NBA fans, and particularly Spurs fans. Although Leonard publicly stated that he believes Pachulia's actions were not intentional, countless fans, including Vasquez, reviewing the tape believe otherwise. Sadly, the controversy got so hot that Pachulia had to shut down his Instagram account due to receiving death threats.

It's not often that stadium security has to eject a fan. And a fan would need to work pretty hard to get banned for life from a stadium. Well, dropping a racial slur, then confirming the slur to neighboring fans, just one night after other fans in the stadium made national news for racially abusing a visiting player is hard work enough to get banned for life.

Such was the fate of one Boston Red Sox fan, who was ejected, then banned for life from Fenway Park earlier this month after making a racist remark about a Kenyan woman who had just finished singing the national anthem.

Between 2015 and 2016, at a high school in Napa, California, multiple hazing incidents are alleged to have occurred involving the football team. The allegations span both this, and last year's school year. As a result, 17 of the school's football players were investigated in relation to the allegations. Of those investigated, 6 were arrested and are now being charged with various crimes related to the hazing.

Specific information about juvenile cases is not usually released. Notably, the district attorney refused to charge the coach. The DA explained that due to the lack of evidence against the coach, no charges could ethically be filed. More charges could be filed as the cases unfold.