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


Three former high school football players have sued their school's head coach, saying they were kicked off the varsity team after standing up to the head coach's bullying. The three star players and former co-captains of the team also allege the school's principal told them that while bullying is prohibited in the classroom, it is permissible on the football field.

"The public policy point we're trying to make is that this conduct is as prohibited on the athletic field as it is in the classroom," the boys' attorney told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "This coach was over the top and played a significant role in harming these students and their future."

Recently, Mark Hunt, the mixed martial arts fighter that made it to FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty after threatening to personally sue his UFC opponents that cheat, has filed a lawsuit against Brock Lesnar and the whole UFC. Hunt is alleging that UFC and Lesnar conspired together, and not just that the league was simply negligent in not expediting Lesnar's drug tests.

Hunt, who lost his match against Lesnar last year, attempted to work out some sort of settlement with the UFC when it was discovered that Lesnar had used performance enhancing drugs and had failed two pre-fight drug tests. However, the UFC has been unwilling to compromise. In essence the UFC stated that since they have been lenient regarding their rules on PEDs in the past, Hunt had no expectation that UFC wouldn't be lenient in Lesnar's case.

Larry Nassar, former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and at Michigan State University, is currently in police custody, charged with sexual assault of a minor in his home and possession of child pornography. And these cases are unrelated to the claims of 18 female athletes that Nassar used the cover of medical examinations to sexually assault them in incidents spanning two decades, most of them when the victims were minors.

Nassar is also named in four other civil lawsuits, and Michigan authorities are investigating over 50 complaints involving the doctor.

For the past four or five years now, New Jersey has been trying to legalize gambling in the Garden State. A 2012 law authorizing sports betting was struck down by courts, as was a 2014 statute repealing state prohibitions on gambling at racetracks and casinos. But it's this distinction -- between official state approval and tacit repeal of a prior ban -- that Jersey is betting on when it comes to the Supreme Court.

The biggest gamble, however, remains: the odds that the highest court in the land even hears the case.

Mixed Martial Arts competitions have been increasing in popularity for some time now. It is billed and sold as the ultimate fighting competition as there are no padded boxing gloves, and fewer rules than in any other fighting competition. However, like most other sports, performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and other substances are banned from use by competitors.

Mark Hunt, a prominent, well liked, and successful MMA fighter was recently at the center of a controversy because his opponent had been caught using PEDs. Despite pre-fight urine tests coming back positive, the league still allowed the fight to go forward, and unfortunately for Hunt, he lost.

While the league invalidated the results, and his opponent was fined $250,000, Hunt believes that this does not begin to make up for what he was forced to endure. After discovering this information, Hunt insisted that the league change his fight contract to include provisions that state his opponents will not use PEDs, and if they do, there will be consequences. However, UFC has denied Hunt's requests. In response, Hunt has publicly stated that if an opponent of his is caught using PEDs, he will personally file a lawsuit against them.

With the growing popularity of YouTube and other video sharing websites, daredevils and stuntmen have easy access to a public forum to share their feats. Today's daredevils film themselves jumping off buildings into pools, and doing all sorts of other death-defying things with high-definition video cameras strapped to their bodies. However, the stunts of today lack the same level of showmanship that classic daredevils like Evel Knievel or even Super Dave Osborne used to provide.

Recently, one YouTube daredevil, 8booth, who is known for jumping off tall buildings, cliffs, and structures into water, missed a jump into a pool and broke both his feet. While there has been an outpouring of sympathy for the daredevil, there has also been an overwhelming amount of vitriol against him.

The case of Mike Peluso, the former NHL player on the infamous New Jersey Devils "Crash Line" filed a workers' compensation claim in California in 2012. The claim is a result of the repeated concussions he sustained while being one of the team's most prolific enforcers. Recently, it has come to light that Devils' administration withheld crucial medical documents and information from Peluso, both while he was an active member of the team and as part of his workers comp claim.

Peluso, who is only 50 years old, now suffers from dementia, as well as a condition that causes him to have seizures, and numerous other symptoms relating to memory and brain function. His doctors assert that the condition was caused by the repeated concussions, and that he should have been warned about the extreme danger of continuing to experience head traumas.

Phil Ivey, a World Series of Poker professional player that has won more than $6 million on the tour, and over $19 million from playing online poker, has run into some legal trouble with an Atlantic City casino. The poker pro, who calls himself the Tiger Woods of poker (maybe he might want to reconsider that one), along with an accomplice, in 2012, used a technique known as "edge sorting" in order to win/scam $9.6 million playing baccarat at the Bargota.

It seems he would have gotten away with it. However, in 2014, a London casino discovered that Ivey and his accomplice were edge sorting. In addition to the two not being paid their winnings in London, the Borgata in Atlantic City took notice, reviewed their losses, and filed suit.

Nagging litigation between the National Football League and retired players over treatment of concussions might finally be drawing to a close. The two sides first reached a settlement over three years ago, but the settlement itself has been contentious, with hundreds of former players opting out of the settlement to file their own lawsuits and a judge even saying that the initial settlement amount of $765 million wasn't enough.

But, finally, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to review the settlement, meaning it could go into effect as early as March, when the NFL will begin paying out around $1 billion over the next 65 years.

In recent years, the debate over whether NCAA athletes should receive compensation for playing sports has gotten hot. Although it is recognized that college sports, especially football and basketball, generate massive piles of money for colleges across the country, paying student athletes is often regarded as taboo.

This week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court denying student athletes minimum wage under the FLSA, and denying that student athletes are even employees. The former student athletes that filed suit claimed that their participation was nearly indistinguishable from a full time job. The courts were not convinced.