Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

July 2010 Archives

A wise man once said, "All is fair in love and war and football." That man was me, five seconds ago.

It seems that University of Southern California Football coach Lane Kiffin agrees. Kiffin hired, or perhaps "poached," Tennessee Titans running back coach Kennedy Pola  as USC's offensive coordinator. The Titans organization was not pleased, and filed suit against Kiffin and USC for "maliciously interfering with the contract of running backs coach Kennedy Pola." The Titans contend that Kiffin and USC are part of "a culture of violation and avoidance of respect." In addition the suit states that Kiffin maliciously induced Pola to breach his contract.

The lawsuit, available via AoL.com, alleged that Kiffin malicious interfered with the contract of coach Kennedy Pola. Under Pola's contract, he agreed not to solicit discussions or entertain employment with other organizations during the term of his contract without receiving written permission. The complaint further states that due to the alleged tortuous conduct, the Titans have been damaged in an amount to be proven at trial.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher seemed to take the hiring personally. "I am very disappointed in Lane Kiffin's approach to this ... when coaches are interested in hiring ... there is a courtesy call made from the head coach or athletic director indicating there is an interest in talking to the assistant ... So I am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism on behalf of Lane..."

Drexel Players Face Robbery Charges

It's kind of like In Cold Blood meets Dumb and Dumber.

Jamie Harris and Kevin Phillip of Drexel University are accused of breaking into a female student's apartment armed with guns and demanding cash, as part of a bizarre criminal scheme. Allegedly they conspired with Devin Bond, who believed the a Drexel student had a sizable amount of cash in her off campus apartment located in West Philadelphia.

According to the Associated Press, Bond knocked on the door and asked to speak with the roommate of the woman who answered. Once inside, he and the woman discussed school for about 15 minutes. He then left, but propped open the door and allegedly returned a few minutes later with Drexel players Harris and Phillip, who were armed with handguns. Harris and Philip then forced Bond to the ground to make it look as if he was being robbed. Harris and Phillip pointed their guns around the apartment and demanded to know where the money was. When they didn't find any, they fled. (If you're having a hard time figuring out the point of all of this, you aren't alone.)

Marion Jones' Teammates Win Back Relay Medals

In a relay, if one person goes down, everyone goes down. But in the case of Marion Jones' Olympic teammates from the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney an exception has been made.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland ruled that the IOC wrongfully stripped LaTasha Colander Clark, Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan, Andrea Anderson, Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson of their relays medals. Clark and her teammates ran on the relay team with admitted doper Marion Jones. The IOC purged the team from the record books and asked for their medals to be returned.

Clark contended that the medal was hers and no one could take it away from her. She believed that she and her teammates competed in good faith and that Jones doping was out of their controll. Clark refused to return her medal and joined with her teammates in contesting the decision of the IOC. Last Friday, the Court of Arbitration agreed and Clark was vindicated.

Pittsburgh's Jabaal Sheard Arrested for Assault

Pittsburgh defensive end Jaball Sheard turned an early morning trip to an art gallery into a bit of live performance art and wound up under arrest. Sheard was visiting La Fond Galleries when he allegedly got into an altercation with another man and threw him through a glass door and continued attacking him, even after police officers tried to restrain him. He was pepper sprayed and eventually subdued. Sheard has been charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, felony aggravated assault and criminal mischief, SeattlePI.com reports.

The arresting officer, Garrett Brown detailed the incident in his criminal complaint. Allegedly, Sheard grabbed a 27-year old man by his clothes, punched him in the face multiple times and threw him out a glass door of La Fond Galleries on East Carson Street. The motive for the attack was not listed. Brown further detailed that the officers used police batons and aerosol pepper spray to stop Sheard's attack.

Lions President Tom Lewand Pleads Guilty to Driving Impaired

Although Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand pleaded guilty to driving impaired, the matter also is still being reviewed under the league's personal conduct policy.

Detroit Lions exec Tom Lewand was arrested in June on suspicion of drunk driving but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of operating while visibly impaired, the Detroit News reports.

ESPN's Jeremy Green Arrested on Child Porn Charges

Tough day at the office for ESPN NFL analyst Jeremy Green, son of former NFL coach Dennis Green. Jeremy Green was arrested on drug and child pornography charges in Connecticut. Bristol Police served Green, 38, with an arrest warrant at a Hartford area hotel, where he was apparently living. He has been taken into custody and it is unknown whether he plans to make bail.

The Hartford Courant is reporting that Green was charged with first-degree possession of child pornography, possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held on $750,000 bail.

Possessing child pornography in the first degree is a Class B felony in Connecticut. A person is guilty of possessing child pornography in the first degree when they knowingly possesses fifty or more visual depictions of child pornography.

Ex-Seton Hall Coach Bobby Gonzalez Arrested for Shoplifting

It has been a tough year for former Seton Hall Pirates basketball coach Bobby Gonzalez. In March, Gonzalez was fired the day after one of his Seton Hall players was ejected for punching an opposing player in the groin during the Pirates' final game of the season. The Pirates lost 87-69 and Gonzalez picked up his seventh technical of the season.

University president Monsignor Robert Sheeran said the events of the previous night were "a crystallization of all that was really wrong" with the basketball program under Bobby Gonzalez's watch. With that Sheeran sent Bobby Gonzalez packing, though he hoped to quickly land with a new team.

But now it gets worse...Gonzalez was arrested for allegedly stealing a Polo Ralph Lauren satchel in New Jersey. NorthJersey.com reports that the manager of store told police that the manager of nearby bar and grill returned a men's satchel to her that belonged to Polo Ralph Lauren and said an individual came into the restaurant, left the satchel with the hostess and never returned. The satchel had reportedly had the sensor tag torn off, damaging the bag.

Caster Semenya Cleared to Run After Gender Test

South African Caster Semenya has been cleared to return to competition after the International Associate of Athletics Federations ruled that Semenya is a woman. The IAAF had been investigating Semenya's gender for the past year. Semenya was investigated after she won the 800m by a large margin, setting a new world record. Tests allegedly showed that Semenya is a hermaphrodite.

Semenya could make her return at the World Junior Championships in Canada. Semenya, 19, won gold in the 800m at the World Championships in Berlin.

"I am thrilled to enter the global athletics arena once again, and look forward to competing with all the disputes behind me," Semenya said in an interview with the Guardian.

The IAAF gave a statement addressing the inquiry, although it was decidedly vague:

The IAAF accepts the conclusion of a panel of medical experts that she can compete with immediate effect. Please note that the medical details of the case remain confidential and the IAAF will make no further comment on the matter.

Swim Star Jenny Thompson Attacked, Fights Back

On water on or land Olympic swimming champ Jenny Thompson has proven just how tough she really is, fighting off two men who tried to steal her motor scooter.

The eight-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Jenny Thompson was attacked outside the Boston area when a vehicle stopped behind her with its headlights out and two guys got out and punched her, the Associated Press reports.

USC Files Appeal to NCAA in Football Sanctions Case

The University of Southern California has filed an appeal with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, arguing that the sanctions placed on the university football program be reduced. The appeal did not contest all aspects of the sanctions, but argued that much of the punishment was overly severe and "inconsistent with precedent." The NCAA punishment included four years of probation, a two-year post season bowl ban, removal of championships and a loss of multiple scholarships. 

The sanctions came after a four-year investigation of the entire athletic department, which found numerous violations of NCAA rules. The report focused largely on improper benefits for Heisman winning, and now NFL star running back Reggie Bush as well as former basketball player O.J. Mayo. The report found that Bush was showered with gifts and other improper benefits from sports marketers hoping to sign him after he turned professional. The gifts included limousine transportation, hotel stays, clothing, and even a home for Bush's family. 

Bengals RB Cedric Benson Charged With Assault

Perhaps Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson was playing a little too rough as he arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault.

According to police arrest affidavit Cedric Benson got into an altercation and then spit blood from his lip onto an employee after being asked to leave a bar, ESPN reports.