Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

May 2009 Archives

John Calipari, Memphis Tigers' Ex-Coach, Bringing a Legacy to UK?

The NCAA is saying that an "unknown person" took the SAT for a 2007-2008 Memphis men's basketball player, who just might have been current NBA rookie of the year, the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose. If the ol' SAT switch turns out to have happened, it could wipe out the entire season's worth of wins including the Tigers' trip to the Final Four, reports the AP.

Memphis's AD, R.C. Johnson, is saying the school had no part in any of the alleged misdeeds, "We wouldn't play anybody if we hadn't checked it out pretty thoroughly". He also wouldn't identify the player at issue for "privacy reasons", but did indicate that he was cooperating with the school's investigation. As for Derrick Rose, no comment has been forthcoming from his camp as of yet.

The alleged violations, if shown to be true, would have occurred under former Memphis Tigers head coach John Calipari's watch. Considering he just happens to have gotten a new gig at the University of Kentucky in April of this year, there's already plenty of grumbling out there about the alleged mess Calipari is leaving behind (again?) as he slides into new job at UK, and just what Kentucky has in store for it in the future.

Nowitzki's Girlfriend is Pregnant, Mavs Star Left Country

A quick update regarding Dallas Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki's former fiancee, Cristal Taylor, a woman of many names and arguably a checkered past. The Dallas Morning News reported that Taylor can now also be called ... pregnant. Yes, medical records obtained by The Dallas Morning News confirmed Taylor's claim that she took a pregnancy test and got a positive result.

Obviously, the positive results of the test don't answer the question of whether Nowitzki is the dad, but it looks like Taylor now has a new attorney that just might be looking into that at some point:

High Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor Not MLB Owners' Best Friend?

Filling out every conceivable angle of coverage on President Obama's newly minted nominee for U.S. Supreme Court justice, judge Sonia Sotomayor, Sports Illustrated had a story out today on how "well known" she is to sports fans... OK, well, maybe to those sports fans who are (a) lawyers, and/or (b) like to read legal decisions in sports cases. But setting those quibbles aside, the story also went on to noted President Obama's words about how Sotomayor may have "saved baseball" with a key ruling during the 1994-95 baseball strike.

It was at that time that, at the request of the National Labor Relations Board, Sotomayor (from the Bronx and a Yankees fan) ordered baseball owners back to the negotiating table effectively preventing replacement players from taking the field. It was shortly thereafter that players went back to their teams and the season (shortened as it was) commenced.

Not surprisingly, the AP reports that the head of the player's union, Donald Fehr, had positive feelings about Sotomayor:

Damir Dokic Striving for Worst Tennis Dad Ever Award?

Tennis parents for some reason appear to have a strange propensity to misbehave, carry on, or make outrageous statements that may be unmatched by parents in other sports. This isn't really borne out by any statistical proof, and perhaps is due more in part to the fewer amount of players or maybe the increased amount of media coverage tennis parents receive. Whatever the reason might be, tennis pro Jelena Dokic's dad, Damir Dokic, may be staking his claim to the top of tennis-parent-infamy, if he wasn't there already.

The AP reports that Jelena Dokic's father got charged with, of all things, threatening tAustralian ambassador Clair Birgin in Belgrade, Serbia. Supposedly, this wasn't an I'm-gonna-beat-her-up kind of threat either, it was of the I'm-gonna-blow-her-up variety, actually. The AP story indicated that Damir Dokic said he'd blow up Birgin's car if "she did not stop negative articles about him from being published in Australian media." Sounds like drunk-talk, right?

Well, the rifles and grenades police found at Damir's house might suggest otherwise. Plus, this wasn't isolated chatter either as Damir "has told Serbian media he would fire a rocket launcher at Birgin's car."

Damir Dokic might not find much back up from his daughter Jelena either, considering he's admitted to having beaten her in the past. The charges apparently subject him to a maximum of eight years in prison...perhaps he's aiming for the top of spot in all sports' parents infamy?

Andrew Giuliani Duke Golf Team Suit Stuck in a Bunker?

Being the son of a big name former mayor should be good for a lot of perks, one would think. A spot on a college golf team ... not one of them. Or at least that's what a magistrate judge may be indicating in the lawsuit brought by Andrew Giuliani against Duke University. Another perk not flowing from his namesake appears to be respect, either, as U.S. magistrate Judge Wallace Dixon took Caddyshack-quote-pot-shots at the lawsuit which he indicated should be dismissed.

As a quick refresher, the suit was brought last year and claimed Andrew Giuliani was wrongfully kicked off the golf team, or as ESPN described it in more detail, the young Giuliani "had dreams of becoming a professional golfer" but instead got "dismissed without cause" and "without a chance to defend himself." He went on to indicate that coach O.D. Vincent III wanted to cut the team's size in half, so he fabricated some reasons to cut Giuliani. In doing so, the coach broke the contract between Giuliani and Duke University, per the complaint.

However, the magistrate judge colorfully teed off on Andrew Giuliani's claims yesterday, one at a time. ESPN listed some of the nuggets:

Michael Vick's Release Date Arrives, as Does Mass Speculation on Fate

So Michael Vick got released from prison, according to The League at the Washington Post, and is going to home confinement to complete the last two months of his sentence while doing some construction work. At this point, the only thing there is for sure, is an abundance of speculation on where Vick's football career is going to go, and whether it should even go anywhere for that matter. But here's some of what Vick faces ahead on the road to getting back on the NFL playing field.

The first hurdle Vick has to tackle would obviously be getting reinstated to the NFL. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is ultimately the decision-maker as far as that goes, and he's appeared to indicate that Vick needs to "demonstrate genuine remorse to be reinstated". If and when Goodell makes the decision, assuming it is in Vick's favor, then the issue will be whether any NFL teams want to bring him on board. At this point, "baggage" might not be the right term for what Vick is towing along, perhaps cargo would be more appropriate.

Bad Scheduling Leads to Conflict between WWE and Denver Nuggets

Apparently the NBA and WWE may be headed for a cage match, the AP reports. This because someone forgot to plan for the potential scheduling conflict at the Pepsi Center between Monday Night Raw and the NBA Western Conference finals series. Hey, on the other hand, there might be some good money to be had in watching, say, Kenyon Martin take on a WWE star (although Kenyon might prefer someone else in the other corner).

Still chairman of the WWE, Vince McMahon, appropriately had some fighting words for the Denver Nuggets' owner:

"Even though the Denver Nuggets had a strong team this year and were projected to make the playoffs, obviously Nuggets and Pepsi Center owner Stan Kroenke did not have enough faith in his own team to hold the May 25th date for a potential playoff game"

Legalized Sports Betting Coming Soon? Delaware Makes It Happen

Sports betting may become Delaware's path out of a projected budget shortfall, or at least lawmakers in the state are hoping so. The AP reports that governor Jack Markell today signed a bill legalizing betting on sports in the state. Further, it looks like state officials aren't going to be stopping at just sports betting either, as the story noted they expect to also have "table games such as poker, blackjack, craps and roulette, in play in no more than six months."

Although a number of federal laws apply to regulate many forms and methods of gambling, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is the federal law that covers sports betting. As noted by the AP, this law grandfathered in only 4 states (Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon), and leaves the remainder out in the sports-betting-cold.

Considering the challenges facing pretty much all state budgets, it probably shouldn't be too surprising that other states have already thought about trying to hop aboard the gambling cash-train. For example, New Jersey filed a lawsuit earlier this year challenging the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, on the very grounds that it discriminates against the un-grandfathered 46 states. For those who prefer gambling from the comfort of their own home ... state ... we'll keep you posted.

Roger Clemens Denies New Book's Claims, Calls Contents "Garbage"

Right in time with the release of a book (coincidence, for sure) on Roger Clemens entitled "American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America's Pastime", the Rocket himself has re-surfaced to deny any and all mud being slung his way.

The book, which was written by four New York Daily News reporters, reportedly ends up concluding that "Clemens had lied last year in a deposition and at [a Congressional] hearing." The New York Times provided some more specifics on the claims being made:

"we believe the evidence strongly suggests that Brian McNamee told the truth when he said he injected his longtime friend and employer with steroids and human growth hormone."

"That evidence," they continue, "also leads us to believe that Clemens lied when he testified under oath that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs."

Boston Celtics forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis's game-winning shot last night was huge for the defending champs, tying their playoff series up, but for a father-son pair of Orlando Magic fans the shot was doubly painful. Yes, the AP reports that the father, Ernest Provetti, is furious at Big Baby Davis for "acting like a 'raging animal with no regard for fans' personal safety'" and he is demanding an apology. What prompted his fatherly outrage, and what was the result of the raging-animal-like behavior? Apparently, Provetti's son's cap got knocked off when Davis, exalting in the glory of his series-tying jumper, bumped into him racing down the sideline.

No amount of words can really describe the scenario adequately, but for what it's worth for Provetti's outrage, Big Baby Davis does appear to have waddled out of bounds as he raced back toward the Celtics bench to get his well-earned props. Indeed, Provetti further argued, it's a "double standard" that fans can't go barreling onto the court to celebrate plays:

"The NBA makes it clear to not cross the sideline," he said in a telephone interview. "If I cross that line, the NBA will take away my tickets. It's a double standard."

Now, just a quick a disclaimer up front, this news story is still pretty unclear because Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is apparently tight-lipped about his private life (how dare he?). However, the Dallas Morning News reports that Cristal Taylor, a woman arrested at Nowitzki's home Wednesday morning, has a fairly, shall we say, shady, past. To make matters even more confusing, her relationship to Nowitzki itself remains clouded, as there's even been some reports that she's pregnant with his child and that they got engaged this past New Years.

Here's a short version...Cristal Taylor was arrested a based on two warrants stemming from a probation violation and a theft charge. But the story notes that according to records and interviews Taylor's history includes "financial crimes and numerous identities that dates back at least a decade and spans two states."

Now, this is just one outsider's perspective, but you know those programs that rookies in the NBA (and for that matter, probably all pro sports leagues) are forced to attend? You know, where they talk about how athletes need to be cautious about their associates, random girls, etc.? Taylor, just maybe, might appear to fit the profile of the exact type of person you don't want to invite on over to your pad. At any rate, maybe it's no surprise that "team sources" aren't exactly shedding tears over the developments and actually "characterized the news and timing as 'good.'" The same sources went on to indicate that Taylor was a "divisive influence between Nowitzki and his teammates and family members."

50 Game Ban on Manny for Taking HGC, Fertility Drug for Women

The Los Angeles Dodgers' Manny Ramirez has become the latest athlete to get some bad advice, and subsequently test positive for a performance-enhancing substance ... or at least that's his explanation, Sports Illustrated reports. Apparently, the performance-enhancing substance at issue was a woman's fertility drug known as HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, that helps the body produce testosterone. The story noted that even though the substance is "not classified as a steroid", it is "clearly defined as a banned performance enhancer" under the agreement between MLBPA and the league.

As a result, the consequences are harsh as Manny has received an immediate 50-game suspension under Major League Baseball's drug-testing rules that went into effect in 2003. However, much like suspended Phillies reliever J.C. Romero has pointed the finger of blame elsewhere, it looks like Manny would like to pass or at least share, the buck:

"Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility."

An engineer is reportedly saying he had "limited involvement" in the building of the Dallas Cowboys training facility that collapsed in a storm over the past weekend, injuring a number of individuals including scouting assistant Rich Behm who was left paralyzed from the waist down. The AP reports that, despite being listed as being responsible for the design of the facility, engineer Enrique Tabak insists, "'I was there just a few months ... They brought me in to build little farm buildings - sheds, agricultural applications."

Unfortunately for Tabak, however, this apparently wasn't the first structure he was supposedly responsible for that fell apart. A Pennsylvania court ruled in 2006 that the company Tabak worked for, Summit Structures LLC (which the Dallas Cowboys later hired), was "negligent in the design and construction of [a] membrane-covered building" that collapsed in Philadelphia. Tabak was listed as the engineer responsible for the design of that building too. That collapse reportedly resulted in a multi-million dollar payment from Summit to the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (and keep in mind no one was hurt in that case). The Philadelphia structure was apparently so poorly designed that it "simply collapsed under the weight of the first significant snowfall of the new year".

John Wall, Basketball Prospect, Charged with Breaking and Entering

A news report from WRAL indicates that one of the country's top college basketball prospects has been charged with, of all things, breaking and entering. This news will surely induce nearly universal head-shaking, but it appears that the consequences of this incident might not be too extreme, either legally or for Wall's collegiate athletic career.

Indeed, for what it's worth, the circumstances indicated by the news report would appear to indicate that perhaps something more akin to teen mischief was afoot, as the charge was "...in connection with an April 27 afternoon break-in at an unoccupied house for sale at 3924 Laurel Glen Drive in Raleigh."

More specifically:

"Police said an officer saw Wall leaving from the rear of the residence around 12:30 p.m. and was able to detain him. There was no forced entry at the residence and no indication that anything was taken from it. Authorities would not say what he might have been doing there."

BCS Fair? Congress Eyes Bowl Championship Series

In a story that may have many screaming "It's about time!", the AP reports that members of Congress are taking a look at the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) to figure out "whether it is a fair way of choosing a college football champion." So, letting computer rankings and a few polls determine two teams to battle for a "championship" might not be fair?

Representative Joe Barton (R.-Tex.) is actually the sponsor of legislation that would, as described by the AP, "prevent the NCAA from labeling a game a 'national championship' unless it culminates from a playoff system." Barton says the current system is "'more about cartels and revenue sharing' than athletic performance." Withholding any speculation regarding a home-state motivation for the inquiry, the bottom line is that the BCS system (not to mention its precursors) has taken fire from just about any and all angles, directions, sides, etc.