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


For over two seasons, just about every new quarterback signing in the NFL has had one name attached to the story: Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick had accused the league and teams of colluding to blackball him from NFL rosters following his criminal justice system protests during the 2016 season. And every new mediocre, aged, or inexperienced QB added to team payrolls begged the question: Why not Kaepernick?

That question might have a little more of an answer to it now. Kaepernick settled his grievance with the NFL last week. And while the exact details of the settlement are confidential, some are estimating he could've received up to $40 million to withdraw his claims.

Former 'Overmedicated' Football Players Lost Chance to Sue NFL

There are many considerations to take into account when deciding whether or not to sue someone. But, one of the most important considerations is the deadline -- called "statute of limitations" -- for filing such a lawsuit. Just ask the NFL players who had their lawsuit dismissed because it was past the deadline for filing such a suit.

Even the National Football League Commissioner admitted that referees botched a late non-pass interference call in the NFC championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints. "It's a play that should be called," Roger Goodell admitted this week before the Rams, who won the game, will face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. "We're going to make sure that we do everything possible to address the issues going forward and see if there are improvements we can make with instant replay or anything else. I understand the emotions."

But "everything possible" does not include reversing the call and putting time back on the clock, as a failed lawsuit filed by two Saints season ticket holders asked a federal judge to order.

Once the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) last May, several states scrambled to pass their own sports betting legislation. Since then, Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia have legalized and implemented sports gambling, and New York and Arkansas could soon follow. (ESPN even has a handy dandy state-by-state guide to sports betting legalization.)

But which states could be next on that list? And will 2019 become the year that state-sanctioned sports betting goes mainstream?

Can a Lawsuit Compel the NFL to Redo a Game?

Two lawsuits have been filed over the botched call in the NFC Championship game that led to an overtime win by the Los Angeles Rams. Are these filers the epitome of sore losers? Is this lawsuit the legal equivalent of a Hail Mary pass? Or is there actually some substance to this filing?

Most legal and football experts seem to agree that the NFL will not be compelled to replay this game. But as the old Lotto saying goes, you can't win if you don't play. So let the lawsuits begin!

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?