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


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?

Dr. James Andrews is probably the most recognized name when it comes to world class athletes and injuries. The orthopedic surgeon has performed Tommy John surgery on just about every pitcher you know, along with surgeries on Bo Jackson's hip, the shoulders of Cowboys trio Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith, and knee operations on golfer Jack Nicklaus and wrestler CM Punk. Needless to say, if you're an elite athlete that needs major surgery, you go to Dr. Andrews.

That's certainly what Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd thought when he went to Andrews for meniscus surgery in 2016. But that operation didn't yield the results of some of the doctor's others. According to Floyd's attorney, the former All-American suffered permanent nerve and muscle damage during the procedure, and will likely never play again.

Whatever our thoughts on Colin Kaepernick, NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality (among other issues), or the free speech rights of athletes generally, most of us didn't go blaming the teams for what the players were doing. Or, worse, accusing the team of intentionally inflicting emotional distress by not warning us that a player might not emerge from the locker room for the national anthem.

Then again, most of us aren't Lee Dragna of Morgan City, Louisiana. Mr. Dragna sued the New Orleans Saints, claiming he never would've purchased season tickets "if he had known that Saints players would use their games as a platform for protests." But a state appeals court summarily bounced that lawsuit, ruling that his lawsuit had failed to state a cause of action.

5 Urban Sports That Might Get You Arrested

There are numerous new sporting adventures these days, limited only by your creativity. But some are illegal, on a variety of fronts. Violators can face some hefty fines, and even prison! Here's a look at five urban sports that can get you arrested.

Temperatures might be cooling down, but legal action regarding heat stroke injuries may just be heating up. Those summer training sessions to prepare for fall competition can be grueling, but when do those sessions cross a legal line? Perhaps when the sun heat index on the field is north of 130 degrees and athletes don't have access to a trainer, cold water, shade, or rest breaks.

Those were the conditions of one summer training session for a Virginia high school soccer team, leading one player to suffer a heat stroke after he got home. The player, Patrick Clancy, is now suing the school's athletic director and head soccer coach, claiming their negligence caused him to sustain serious and permanent injury.

Harvard Diving Coach Resigns Amidst Class Action Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit

As the old saying goes, where there's smoke, there's fire. Harvard is learning the hard way that though it's great to give someone the benefit of the doubt, sometimes the risk is miscalculated.

Once the federal ban on sports gambling was overturned earlier this year, states have been scrambling to update their betting laws. While not all states are adopting open sports betting, those that are must put regulations in place governing everything from betting locations and wager limits to, of course, how winners get paid.

And if you're used to the old, buy and ticket, wait for the result, turn the ticket in method used in Vegas sportsbooks, the laws may be a little different in your state.

Depending on which television stats you cherry pick, the National Football League is either dying or it's immortal. But there's little doubt the NFL has been locked in a public relations battle the past few years. From a wave of domestic violence and assaults, to concussion and painkiller class action lawsuits, and now the (mis)handling of player protests, the league -- regardless of burgeoning income -- has been working overtime to burnish its image.

So it's likely with open arms that the NFL welcomed a report from USA Today showing a significant decline in player arrests since 2014. So, are the numbers really that good? And, if so, why?

According to a Kentucky sixth-grader's lawsuit, a rule that limits the movement of boys (but not girls) basketball players between class-delineated teams violates equal protection laws and Title IX. Under the so-called "play up, stay up" rule, male students who play for a higher grade team can never play for a lower grade team, but female players can play up or down without any restrictions.

"Specifically," the lawsuit claims, "this rule unfairly subjects male basketball players to a harsh restriction on the number of grade levels at which they may play, but expressly exempts female basketball players from the restriction," thus resulting in "gender-based discrimination against middle school male student-athletes."

When NFL legend Junior Seau fatally shot himself in the chest in 2012, his death had all the markings of other brain injury-related suicides by ex-football players, most notably that of Dave Duerson earlier the same year. Duerson had written down a request that his brain be examined for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a neurodegenerative disease found in people who have had multiple head injuries that can cause behavioral problems, mood problems, and problems with thinking, and, late in life, dementia. Though Seau didn't make the same request as Duerson, his family submitted his brain tissue to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, who determined his brain showed definitive signs of CTE.

Seau's family opted out of the massive concussion class action lawsuit against the NFL (and the massive settlement), choosing instead to file a separate wrongful death claim against the league. The family and the NFL settled that suit last week, for an undisclosed amount.