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 Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks are reportedly trying to use their infamous "12th Man" home-crowd advantage to lead the team to victory at the cash register as well on the field by trademarking several uses of the number "12."

The number "12" -- in reference to the Seattle fans' role as the "12th Man" on the team, after the 11 players on the field -- is just one of the terms the team has trademarked or is trying to, reports The Seattle Times. The team has reportedly filed two dozen trademarks since October 2013 for phrases including "Go Hawks" and the word "boom."

But can the Seahawks really trademark the number "12?"

Two former professional wrestlers have filed a proposed class action brain injury lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment.

Vito Lograsso and Evan Singleton -- who wrestled under the names Skull Von Krush and Adam Mercer -- filed the lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia, Reuters reports. The 50-year-old LoGrasso, who also wrestled under the name Big Vito, was a WWE wrestler from 1991 to 1998 and again from 2005 to 2007. Singleton joined the WWE in 2012 at the age of 19.

What are the men claiming in their lawsuit?

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch testified in court earlier this week that his former girlfriend is a trained assassin hired to kill people around the world.

Busch's eyebrow-raising testimony came during a hearing over a no-contact order requested by Patricia Driscoll, Busch's allegedly deadly ex-girlfriend. As ESPN reports, Busch didn't just make the accusation once during the proceeding, but made the claim repeatedly over the four-day hearing.

What's the story behind Busch's surprising allegations?

Jonathan Martin Tackles a Shoplifter: Citizen's Arrest Basics

NFL offensive lineman Jonathan Martin (who will unfortunately always be known as the guy who quit football temporarily after being bullied by a fellow teammate) is back in the news, but this time he wasn't a victim -- he was the man.

According to Yahoo Sports (and Martin's own tweets), Martin subdued an alleged shoplifter in a Versace store last week. Martin said that he saw the shoplifters and reacted without thinking -- pummeling one of them until he was sufficiently subdued to be taken care of by security.

Martin tweeted about the incident using the hashtag #civicduty, but what do you need to know about citizen's arrests before you exercise that duty?

Jury selection began today in the murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

The jury selection marked the first day of a trial that is expected to last anywhere from six to 10 weeks, The Associated Press reports. The trial is also the first of at least two for Hernandez, who is facing additional murder charges in connection with a 2012 double homicide in Boston.

What should you know about Day 1 of Aaron Hernandez's murder trial? Here are five things:

New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette was arrested early Monday morning on domestic violence charges.

The 26-year-old Galette was taken into custody after police responded to a disturbance at his home in Kenner, Louisiana, ESPN reports. He is accused of pushing a woman to the ground while trying to get her to leave his house. According to police, the woman had visible injuries, including scratches on her face and bleeding from her ear where one of her earrings had been ripped out.

In addition to possible criminal penalties, Galette may be facing harsh punishment from the NFL under the league's new personal conduct policy.

Sports and law intersect more often than one may expect. In 2014, several high-profile athletes were charged with crimes or involved in criminal proceedings. But legal troubles weren't just limited to athletes. Cheerleaders and team owners also got into the mix with headline-grabbing legal issues of their own.

What were this year's biggest sports-related legal stories? Here are the 10 most popular posts from FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty in 2014:

The NCAA's class-action concussion settlement was rejected last week, with a federal judge questioning if the settlement amounts were sufficient.

The NCAA had offered to settle allegations that its policies had led to concussion-related injuries by offering about $70 million to create a medical monitoring program for NCAA athletes as well as $5 million for concussion research. The New York Times reports that federal Judge John Z. Lee questioned whether these numbers were adequate to "cover medical screening for all athletes."

What can the NCAA do now that the settlement has been rejected?

Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston was cleared Sunday of allegations that he violated the student conduct code by sexually assaulting another student.

A two-day Student Conduct Code hearing was held earlier this month in front of former Florida Supreme Court justice Major Harding. In a letter to Winston, Harding wrote that the evidence in the case was "insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof," reports ESPN.

That decision comes more than a year after a similar decision by Florida prosecutors not to charge Winston with a crime in the alleged 2012 sexual assault.

Olympic gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in a Baltimore court this morning.

The swimmer appeared in court after being arrested on September 30 for DUI, reports The Associated Press. Following his arrest, Phelps' attorney told the court that the 18-time gold medal winner had enrolled in a 45-day treatment program in Arizona and had continued attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings upon his return to Maryland.

Was Phelps' contrition enough to keep him out of jail?