Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

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While the traditional madness that accompanies the month of March may inspire illegal office pools, this year, sports gambling advocates are hoping the madness inspires congress to repeal the federal ban on sports betting. Despite the fact that the federal ban on sports betting has been in place for nearly three decades now, if you're a gambler, you might want to put your money on that law not being there much longer. Currently, there are two bills being considered to repeal the ban.

With the new executive administration now in power, and President Trump's previous ownership of an Atlantic City casino that couldn't allow sports betting due to federal law, as well as Trump's not-so-explicitly-stated support of legalizing sports gambling, proponents are looking to address this issue now, while the time is right (for them). 

Athletes frequently get injured, even when players wear padding or play non-contact sports. Some injuries are just accidents, while others are the result of unsatisfactory coaching, refereeing, or a complete lack of supervision.

If it is determined that a coach was negligent, they can be held liable for the injuries sustained by their players that are a result of the negligence. Because of this potential for liability, it is a rather important for coaches to ensure they are covered by some form of liability insurance. Fortunately, if a coach works for a school, or other organization, they are likely already covered. 

The prescription painkiller epidemic has led to more medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors for negligently prescribing pain medication. Those claims have begun to bleed into sports as well, with hundreds of former NFL players accusing the league and team doctors of illegally providing painkilling drugs to players and encouraging them to play despite serious injuries.

So can athletes sue doctors for prescribing opiates or painkillers? And what do they need to prove to win?

It turns out the cheerleaders employed by pro football teams aren't big fans of their teams' employment agreements. And perhaps for good reason. A new class action lawsuit claims 26 of its 32 teams agreed "to eliminate competition for female athletes with the intent and effect of suppressing the compensation and mobility of female athletes."

Filed by a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader just days before the Super Bowl, the lawsuit also says the NFL itself "conspired with the Defendant NFL Member Teams to coordinate, encourage, facilitate, and implement the agreement in order to pay female athletes below fair market value."

A Salt Lake City, Utah, teen filed a federal lawsuit against her school district in order to have the same right as boys to choose which wrestling team she joins. Yesterday, news broke on Twitter that the federal court judge approved the emergency injunction, which was requested at the time of filing the lawsuit, that will allow her to wrestle in the upcoming season which is close to starting.

Kathleen is 15, but unlike 15-year-old boys in her junior high, she was not allowed to choose whether she wanted to wrestle on the high school team or the junior high team. The school district was requiring her to join the high school team, which is made up of older student athletes and would require her to miss part of her last class each day to travel to practice. Additionally, it is nothing more than a policy issue as the school already has adequate facilities.

While the headline is racy, the allegations of this lawsuit are nothing short of horrifying. A high school junior varsity cheerleader from Albuquerque, New Mexico, alleged that she was criminally harassed by her teammates and that the coaches and school did nothing to help her. What's worse, the school actively sought to escape liability by holding the teenager's school transfer request hostage behind a settlement agreement.

The lawsuit is claiming multiple violations of the student's civil rights under Title IX, the First Amendment and 42 USC 1983, in addition to the school conspiring to deprive the student of her civil rights under 42 USC 1985.

On the heels of New Jersey potentially taking its back-and-forth betting battle to the Supreme Court, three other states are pushing their chips into the middle of the legal table. Michigan, New York, and South Carolina have all introduced legislation aimed at ending Nevada's monopoly on sports betting in casinos. But, like New Jersey, they'll have to overcome federal law in order to make it happen.

Here's a look at the latest legalization efforts, and their odds of success.

Recently, Mark Hunt, the mixed martial arts fighter that made it to FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty after threatening to personally sue his UFC opponents that cheat, has filed a lawsuit against Brock Lesnar and the whole UFC. Hunt is alleging that UFC and Lesnar conspired together, and not just that the league was simply negligent in not expediting Lesnar's drug tests.

Hunt, who lost his match against Lesnar last year, attempted to work out some sort of settlement with the UFC when it was discovered that Lesnar had used performance enhancing drugs and had failed two pre-fight drug tests. However, the UFC has been unwilling to compromise. In essence the UFC stated that since they have been lenient regarding their rules on PEDs in the past, Hunt had no expectation that UFC wouldn't be lenient in Lesnar's case.

Larry Nassar, former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and at Michigan State University, is currently in police custody, charged with sexual assault of a minor in his home and possession of child pornography. And these cases are unrelated to the claims of 18 female athletes that Nassar used the cover of medical examinations to sexually assault them in incidents spanning two decades, most of them when the victims were minors.

Nassar is also named in four other civil lawsuits, and Michigan authorities are investigating over 50 complaints involving the doctor.

For the past four or five years now, New Jersey has been trying to legalize gambling in the Garden State. A 2012 law authorizing sports betting was struck down by courts, as was a 2014 statute repealing state prohibitions on gambling at racetracks and casinos. But it's this distinction -- between official state approval and tacit repeal of a prior ban -- that Jersey is betting on when it comes to the Supreme Court.

The biggest gamble, however, remains: the odds that the highest court in the land even hears the case.