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

As more football players are trademarking their names and catch phrases, one team has been losing its battle to keep the trademark on its controversial mascot.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) cancelled the Washington Redskins' trademark last June, based on the mark being "disparaging to Native Americans." On Monday, the Department of Justice threw its support behind the decision, saying the perspective of Native Americans to the team name outweighed the NFL franchise's alleged intent to honor them.

Would you rather go to jail or give evidence that could put your fiance in jail?

This is the impossible questions Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, must wrestle with. Hernandez is charged with murder for the shooting death of Odin Lloyd. The prosecution seems to think that Jenkins is a key witness for their case and want to compel her to testify. If she refuses, she could face jail time, the Hartford Courant reports.

Why is her testimony so important, and can she refuse?

A Texas jury has awarded seven fans about $76,000 for botched seating arrangements at the 2011 Super Bowl. The jury found the NFL breached its ticket contract with fans because of unavailable temporary seating at Dallas Cowboy Stadium.

The fans did not win on their fraud claims against the NFL, but will still receive awards ranging from $5,700 to $22,000 each.

Between patent trolls and pop stars protecting their lyrics, it should be no surprise that athletes are aggressively trademarking their nicknames and catchphrases.

Jameis Winston filed to trademark Famous Jameis last week. Marshawn Lynch trademarked BEASTMODE, "I'm all about that action boss," and "I'm just here so I don't get fined." "Johnny Football" and "RGIII" are protected marks.

From the NFL to college, football players are filing trademarks in an effort to protect their likenesses and keep others from cashing in. So what are trademarks, and why and how are athletes using them to protect and profit from their surnames, styles, and sound bites?

Marqise Lee is suing Lloyd's of London, alleging the insurance marketplace failed to pay on a disability injury policy regarding the 2014 NFL draft.

The Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver was injured during his junior season at USC and was drafted later than expected.

You mess with the bull, you get the horns. Some Twitter trolls messed with proud papa Curt Schilling after he tweeted congratulations to his daughter her acceptance to college.

Schilling responded by tracking down and exposing a few choice commenters, one of whom has already been fired, and may follow up by pursuing criminal charges or a civil lawsuit.

Adrian Peterson and the NFL Players Association have won their appeal of Peterson's indefinite suspension. A U.S. District Court judge has overturned an arbitrator's ruling that previously upheld the NFL's suspension of Peterson following his indictment on child abuse charges.

The Peterson ruling comes three months after an arbitrator tossed the league's suspension of Ray Rice, claiming the NFL essentially punished Rice twice for the same offense.

Marshawn Lynch gave the same answer, "I'm just here so I won't get fined," in response to every question during his initial Super Bowl press conference. (He followed that up with a chorus of "You know why I'm here" the next day.) Now the Seattle Seahawks running back is trying to make sure no one else uses the phrase without his permission.

Lynch filed an application last week to trademark the phrase, in an effort to secure exclusive rights to use it on shirts, hats, and other athletic apparel. And if his past trademark endeavors are any indication, the infamous quote will soon be his, legally.

An arbitration panel in Texas has ordered Lance Armstrong to pay SCA Promotions $10 million based largely on his 2013 confession to doping. SCA had sued Armstrong to recoup bonuses it paid the cyclist for his multiple Tour de France victories.

While Armstrong and his lawyers intend to fight the ruling, SCA has asked a Texas state court to confirm the arbitration decision, giving it the status of a legal judgment.

Abebe Bikila shattered the Olympic marathon record in Rome in 1960, running the entire race barefoot. Now his family is suing Vibram, the running shoe company that advertises the "joyful feeling of barefoot running."

The Associated Press is reporting that Bikila's family has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Tacoma, Washington, alleging that Vibram used their deceased relative's name on a shoe without his, or their, permission.

While Vibram trademarked the name "Bikila" in 2010, Bikila's son Teferi asserts the company had no right to use the name in the first place.