Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Recently in Football Category

Today's Supreme Court ruling wasn't part of the Redskins' trademark battle over the franchise's controversial Native American logo and name, but the team's management and lawyers are still celebrating. That's because the big trademark ruling in the case of the Asian American music group, The Slants, paves the way for the Washington Redskins to restore the trademark rights that were cancelled by a federal court in 2015.

The music group's case centered on the same problem the Redskins are currently appealing, the Lanham Act's disparagement clause. Basically, the disparagement clause allows the Patent and Trademark Office to deny a trademark application when the trademark contains phrases or images that are offensive. The Court found the clause to be unconstitutional, and that the music group's controversial name was protected by the First Amendment, and, therefore, the band could not be denied trademark protection.

Between 2015 and 2016, at a high school in Napa, California, multiple hazing incidents are alleged to have occurred involving the football team. The allegations span both this, and last year's school year. As a result, 17 of the school's football players were investigated in relation to the allegations. Of those investigated, 6 were arrested and are now being charged with various crimes related to the hazing.

Specific information about juvenile cases is not usually released. Notably, the district attorney refused to charge the coach. The DA explained that due to the lack of evidence against the coach, no charges could ethically be filed. More charges could be filed as the cases unfold.

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?

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.

A high school football star might not be allowed play his senior year of high school ball due to pending felony robbery charges. This is the case despite the fact that he's rumored to have a pending scholarship offer from a Division I school and is expected to be highly recruited. Shelley Singletary, along with another teen, is alleged to have robbed an 11-year-old boy of his Air Jordan sneakers and bicycle. Singletary, while pending resolution of the charges, has essentially been under house arrest since being released from custody.

While the court has stated that it will not object to Singletary participating in football practice while wearing the home arrest ankle monitor, the high school has stated that he has not been cleared by the school to participate, and that Singletary is not currently affiliated with the team.

A jury acquitted-New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on murder charges involving the slaying of two men outside a Boston nightclub 2012. Hernandez, currently serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of his fiancée's sister's boyfriend, was also acquitted of related assault charges and one charge witness intimidation, stemming from an allegation that Hernandez shot a former friend (and man who eventually testified against him) in the face.

Prosecutors alleged the car-to-car shooting was sparked by a spilled drink, but the jury apparently remained unconvinced.

Professional sports teams, much to the chagrin of less geographically-mobile fans, have a tendency to up and move. Franchise mobility, and the new-stadium-deal-or-bust extortion racket that precedes most moves, makes it all too apparent that leagues and teams are out for money first and fan appreciation third, fourth, or elsewhere down the list.

But at least one city isn't taking the taking of their team lying down. The city and county of St. Louis have filed a lawsuit against the NFL and its teams, accusing them of breach of contract by moving the Rams to Los Angeles.

If you thought that the only way the Oakland Raiders could shake up March Madness would require not just inter-league, but also inter-sports, play, then you've had your head buried too deep in your bracket. The big news out of the NFL could have massive ripple effects throughout the entire professional and collegiate sports industry, or maybe just the sports gambling industry (which for many is synonymous with March Madness).

That big news involves the Oakland Raiders' move to Las Vegas being approved. While the Raider nation in Oakland will undoubtedly be upset by the move, putting a professional sports franchise in Las Vegas is a much bigger deal than most people might realize.

Head football coach at Michigan Jim Harbaugh has no discernible political axes to grind, and yet many irons in the fire, as it were. While Harbaugh is known to attack topics with "an enthusiasm unknown to mankind," he has remained coy about where he stands when it comes to Republicans versus Democrats. But he was clearly unhappy about one aspect of President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts.

Harbaugh, along with his coaching, is a part of the leaders council of the Legal Services Corp, a government agency tasked with providing free legal aid in civil cases to over millions of low-income Americans. The coach spoke candidly with Politico and didn't pull any punches regarding his displeasure about budget plans to defund LSC, sounding more like a second-year law student with a bleeding heart than the blustery sideline presence he appears to be during games.

In the never-ending saga of the NFL players' class action lawsuits against teams and the league, new information has surfaced about many teams' alleged failure to comply with federal drug laws. The allegations include claims that several teams' athletic trainers, doctors, and staff were administering and providing prescription drugs in clear violation of federal laws, even after the DEA cautioned teams against doing so. This class action suit involves close to 2,000 former players who suffered injury or damages as a result of these actions.

The new information came to light as a result of the discovery process in the player class action that was initially alleging that teams were pushing players to take painkillers in order to be able to perform better on the field. The reason the class action was allowed to continue in court, rather than being forced into arbitration like some other player actions have been, is due to the illegal conduct surrounding the administration of the federal controlled prescription drugs.