Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

November 2017 Archives

Those who have been following recent concussion-related lawsuits against the NFL and Pop Warner will be familiar with CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurological disease discovered in 99 percent of NFL players' brains donated to an MIT study. The frustrating thing -- for players, their families, and scientists alike -- has been the fact that CTE could only be diagnosed posthumously, after a patient had passed away or, as in many cases, committed suicide.

However, researchers now believe they have a method for identifying CTE in living patients, which could have enormous health and legal consequences.

By most accounts, ESPN's '30 for 30' documentary series has been a hit with fans, providing a deeper perspective into some of the most important recent sports stories from the past three decades. One such entry, It's Time, featured the tale of Chucky Mullins, an Ole Miss football player who was paralyzed in a 1989 game against Vanderbilt and passed away two years later.

The only problem was that another Mullins documentary, Undefeated, already existed. And now the maker of that film is suing the network for copyright infringement. The lawsuit claims ESPN agreed to license footage from Undefeated, but then used it without paying and altered some of the images.

The long saga of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott versus the National Football League reached the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals this week, where Elliott was granted a stay of his suspension. After a U.S. District Court in New York ruled in the NFL's favor, the NFL Players Association appealed the ruling to the Second Circuit, and won Elliott at least a brief reprieve -- he will play this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

So what does this mean for Elliot and his case going forward?

On October 24, 2016, Jason Coy fell about 60 feet from a stairwell on the north side of Mile High Stadium after a Broncos game. The 36-year-old suffered several blunt force injuries to his head, skull, neck, and torso, and was pronounced dead early morning the next day.

Last week, Coy's widow and his five children filed a premises liability lawsuit against the Metropolitan Football Stadium District and the stadium's management company, claiming Mile High "contained a defective, unsafe, non-obvious and dangerous condition in a fire escape corridor and staircase on which [Coy] fell to his death."

Sports doping is a funny thing. First, some leagues or competitions seem to take doping more seriously than others, and punishments and other enforcement mechanisms can vary as well. Second, the list of banned substances can vary depending on the sport and the country, and in some cases there is little reason behind why some substances are banned and others are not. Third, some substances, perfectly legal under a nation's drug laws, may be banned, leaving athletes wondering which may garner a doping charge.

And then there's the matter of punishment: from the league or competition, from an anti-doping agency, and from law enforcement. But the British government, at least, put the kibosh on criminalizing doping in sports. The UK's minister of sport, Tracey Crouch, announced last week that those found violating the nation's anti-doping regulations would not face jail time.