Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

May 2017 Archives

The rise in drugged driving instances claimed a new, iconic face over the Memorial Day weekend. Tiger Woods was found asleep in his car on the side of a Florida road early Monday morning and failed numerous roadside sobriety tests, yet blew a .000 on the breathalyzer, twice.

But Woods was still arrested and charged with DUI. Here's why.

Last year, North Carolina passed HB2, a law that prohibited cities within the state from passing anti-LGBT discrimination laws that exceed state protections and mandated that transgender people use public restrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificates. Among other corporations, artists, and sports leagues that boycotted the state in response, the NBA pulled its 2017 all-star game from Charlotte, the city whose LGBT protection law had spurred HB2 in the first place.

And now, with the bathroom provisions of HB2 rescinded in March, the NBA is returning to North Carolina with the 2019 all-star game. Here's a look and the change in the law, and the change in the league's attitude.

There are, as of this writing, still two active lawsuits against the NFL and/or its member teams regarding the prescription of painkillers to players. Dent v. NFL was filed in the District Court of Northern California in May 2014 and claimed the league withheld medical information from players, oversaw acquisition and dispensing of medications, and violated state and federal prescription drug laws. A year later, Etopia Evans v. Arizona Cardinals was filed in Maryland but moved to the same court and judge as Dent. The Evans case makes many of the same legal claims as Dent, but against the member teams instead of the league.

In addition, the NFL Players Association recently filed a grievance against the league, citing the same factual allegations as the lawsuits, but claiming these actions violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the Players Association. So how does the grievance differ from the lawsuits? And how might it affect existing litigation?

Good news for those that love buying signed collectibles: As of January 1, 2017, dealers in the state of California that sell signed collectibles are now required to provide a certificate of authenticity for any signed collectible worth over $5. While the law doesn't apply to private individuals conducting sales, there are still several concerns about the new law for consumers.

Whether it is a piece of fine art, a Jeremy Bulloch signed Star Wars action figure, some ultra-rare Christopher Rush signed Magic: the Gathering cards, or a signed Darryl Strawberry rookie card, if it's worth more than $5, a collectibles dealer risks serious legal consequences by not providing the legally required and rather specific certificate of authenticity. While California consumers may benefit from decreased fraud in the signed collectibles market, the law will likely impact many dealers' ability to even sell signed items moving forward.

A courtside employee at the United Center, where the Chicago Bulls play, is suing the beloved and fuzzy Benny the Bull mascot due to an injury she suffered literally at the costumed hand of Benny the Bull. The lawsuit seeks over $50,000 in damages stemming from an incident that occurred in May 2015.

The employee, Rosa Garcia, was working as a courtside server/waiter when, during a break in the game, Benny the Bull was running down the side of the court when he hurt his ankle. While being helped off the court by another person, and limping, Benny put his hand on Ms. Garcia's shoulder to use her as a support and lift himself up. Ms. Garcia, as a result, suffered a severe enough injury to her shoulder to require medical treatment.

A federal lawsuit against the Davis School District in Utah sought to overturn a school policy that prevented a female student from wrestling on her school's team, and succeeded in doing just that, and more. In addition to being allowed to join her school's team, the teen will receive a monetary award, and the district will be paying the attorney's and legal fees. 

Kathleen Janis was denied the right to wrestle on her middle school team, as the district's policy required middle school girls that wanted to wrestle to do so with the high school team. For Janis to do so, she would have to miss part of her school day, and would be put into a more advanced group than she was prepared for. However, after filing a federal lawsuit, she was successful in securing a court ordered preliminary injunction allowing her to participate on the 9th grade team while the case was pending.

We often use sports as an escape from real life. And every now and then, real life intrudes into the games. That's what happened when a stray bullet found its way into Busch Stadium Tuesday night, grazing a female fan's arm and came to a stop underneath her seat.

Thankfully, the woman was not seriously injured, and according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has already retained the services of an attorney.

Being a professional cheerleader ain't easy. Most are ludicrously underpaid, constantly body-shamed, and a federal appeals court even ruled that cheerleading is not a sport. Cheerleaders are overworked, underpaid, and held to physical appearance standards that are either impossible to meet or leave many of them with eating disorders.

But lately, professional cheerleaders are turning to the courts for protection, suing teams and even leagues for wage suppression and other employment law violations. And they're winning, out of court at least. Former Milwaukee Bucks cheerleader Lauren Herington just settled her lawsuit against the team last week, in a deal that could be good for her and her former teammates.

If you were to steal someone's golf cart after assaulting them, crash said golf cart into a gate, then refuse to cooperate with police officers while slinging misogynistic and homophobic slurs their way, you would probably be arrested on suspicion of a laundry list of criminal offenses: robbery, auto theft, criminal damage, resisting arrest, and driving under the influence among them. If you're lucky, prosecutors might whittle those charges down to a couple felonies (theft of a means of transportation and resisting arrest with physical force), charge the assault as a misdemeanor, and leave the DUI for city court.

And if you're Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman David Parry, you might strike a plea deal avoiding any jail time at all by pleading guilty to just one count of disorderly conduct and one count of attempted unlawful means of transportation.