Tarnished Twenty - The FindLaw Sports Law Blog - features sports law news and info about sports figures in trouble with the law


Why Does the Turkish Gov. Want to Arrest Knicks' Enes Kanter?

In 2017, the last time Kanter was overseas with the Knicks, Kanter's Turkish passport was seized during a layover in Romania, and he was nearly arrested and extradited to Turkey. Since then he has refrained from leaving the United States, for fear that he will be arrested, and worse. Therefore, while the New York Knicks were in London playing against the Washington Wizards, Enes Kanter, the Knicks' starting center, was in Washington D.C., speaking with congressional leaders about the atrocities being committed against Turkish Kurds by Turkish President Erdogan.

Kanter, a native of Turkey, has been very vocal about his contempt for Erdogan and support for the opposition, led by Muslim cleric and conservative political figure, Fethullah Gulen. In fact, it is this vocal discontent for Erdogan, coupled with his close ties with Gulen, that is at the center of the Turkish government's attempt to seek a "red notice" for Kanter through Interpol, asking foreign police agencies to arrest Kanter and extradite him to Turkey.

Depending on who you ask, a series of workouts imposed by then-new Oregon football coach Willie Taggart in January 2017 were either "a physically impossible exercise regimen of squats and told the student athletes that the workout 'would demonstrate who wanted to be on the team,'" or "akin to military basic training, with one said to include up to an hour of continuous push-ups and up downs," and not all that strenuous.

For three of the players subjected to the workouts, however, they were potentially life-threatening. Offensive lineman Doug Brenner, tight end Cam McCormick, and offensive lineman Sam Poutasi were hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, a condition that causes byproducts of rapidly breaking down skeletal muscle to be released into the bloodstream, possibly damaging the kidneys. Brenner is now suing Taggart, strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde, the University of Oregon, and the NCAA after suffering permanent kidney damage that reduced his life expectancy by ten years.

Athlete's Suicide Blamed on Sorority Hazing in Lawsuit

All suicides are tragic, but especially ones that could have been prevented. Jordan Hankins' may fall into that category. Hankins, a sophomore guard for the Northwestern University women's basketball team, was found hung in her dorm room nearly two years ago. Her mother alleges that Hankins became severely depressed and anxious after severe hazing by the sorority she was pledging, Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA).

She has now filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division against the local chapter and national organization of AKA, as well as nearly a dozen members and former members that were serving as advisors at the time of Hankins' death. Causes of action include negligent supervision, wrongful death, and negligent entrustment.

Former USC assistant basketball coach Tony Bland pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery for accepting cash to steer his players to specific agents and financial advisors. "I knowingly and willfully conspired with others to commit federal funds bribery," Bland told a federal judge in New York on Wednesday. "I knew that my conduct was wrong."

Bland's plea is the first of four indicted college basketball coaches targeted in a massive corruption scandal that has rocked the sport.

Is Ballpark Food Safe to Eat?

When you think about ESPN highlights, you know you don't want to be on the "defense" side of the highlight reel. A list of four stadiums ended up on that reel in an ESPN Outside The Lines report, showcasing the most unsafe food in sports stadiums. Among the highlights, a live mouse in a bag of Cracker Jacks, beef blood drippings on a shelf, employees wiping their faces with their hands and then handling food for customers, and five live roaches squirming on a roach strip.

After seeing this, you might be wondering, is ballpark food safe?

Former sports physician Larry Nassar has been sentenced to hundreds of years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting patients and minors in his care. Many of those victims were members of Michigan State's and the United States national gymnastics teams. USA Gymnastics has even been accused of paying settlements to Nassar's victims to keep them quiet while he continued to molest team members and other patients.

This week, USA Gymnastics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in part, it claims, as an effort to "expedite resolution of claims" filed against the entity by survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse. Does this mean the sport's governing body doesn't have the money to compensate its victimized athletes?

For many years, it was understood that college athletes retained little, if any, right to their likenesses while they fell under the pseudo-legal "student athlete" distinction. The NCAA was free to use player and school names and images to advertise single games, tournaments, and even video games. That was until Ed O'Bannon sued, and federal courts ruled the NCAA couldn't deny athletes of the monetary value of their names, images, and likenesses when used for commercial purposes.

While that ruling may have meant the end of beloved college sports video games (absent money flowing to the athletes themselves), it didn't mean that student athletes retained their rights of publicity in all arenas. Take, for example, daily fantasy gambling sites. The Seventh Circuit last week dismissed a lawsuit filed by college athletes against FanDuel and DraftKings, based on a prior Indiana Supreme Court ruling that the sites could use players' names and images without their consent.

Venus Williams Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Venus Williams can finally exhale. The wrongful death suit filed against her by the family of Jerome Barson has been settled, though details of the settlement have not been disclosed.

Vijay Singh Settles Lawsuit Against PGA Tour for Anti-Doping Claim

Vijay Singh and the PGA Tour have finally settled a lawsuit Singh brought against the organization over five years ago, less than a week before the suit's trial was set to begin. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but a joint press release said both sides are looking forward to moving forward and that "the PGA TOUR recognizes that Vijay is one of the hardest working golfers to ever play the game, and does not believe that he intended to gain an unfair advantage over his fellow competitors in this matter."

Like the NFL before it, the NHL has settled ongoing litigation regarding concussions suffered by former players. But unlike the NFL, the NHL did it for a pittance. The NFL's settlement committed the league to spending almost $1 billion in total damages, medical reimbursements, and future medical and psychological care. The NHL looks to be on the hook for about two percent of that -- around $19 million.

"The NHL does not acknowledge any liability for the Plaintiffs' claims in these cases," the league's statement announcing the settlement read. "However, the parties agree that the settlement is a fair and reasonable resolution and that it is in the parties' respective best interests to receive the benefits of the settlement and to avoid the burden, risk and expense of further litigation."

So, why the discrepancy?