Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

November 2010 Archives

NFL Announces Refund Plan in Case of Cancelled Games

It's looking more and more like there will be an NFL lockout. It might sound crazy but that's sports law. Unless a new collective bargaining agreement for next season is reached, a lockout (NFL owners not permitting NFL union players to show up to work) could happen.

So what will that mean for NFL season ticket holders? Will there be an NFL refund for cancelled games? Will fans be stuck holding the proverbial bag?

Not according to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"We are working hard to secure an agreement with the union that is fair and forward-thinking to ensure our game is sound and strong well into the future ... We know we will reach an agreement at some point. We all want football without interruption, but our fans are entitled to know now that they would receive refunds if any games are canceled," Goodell told USA Today.

Wrigley Field Football Debacle: Only One End Zone Used

Football played in a baseball stadium may not be such a good idea, after all. Wrigley Field recently played host to the University of Illinois and Northwestern. Unfortunately, the hosting duties fumbled a bit when the field failed to meet NCAA requirements.

The result? One end zone. Yes, one end zone for a football game was the solution used by the Big Ten and the two schools. This game marked the first (and possibly the last) time Wrigley Field hosted a football game since 1938.

The problem was simple. There was not enough room on the east side end zone between the hard brick wall and the back line of the end zone. In addition to concerns that there would be inadequate victory dances and other large-scale touchdown celebrations, there was increased potential for injury. So the game, not matter which team had the ball, was played towards the "more spacious" west side end zone.

Southern Mississippi Linebacker Martez Smith Shot, Paralyzed

Yet another student athlete is a victim of a nightclub shooting. University of Southern Mississippi linebacker Martez Smith was shot outside a Hattiesburg nightclub over the weekend. Two of his teammates were also shot in the incident. Smith is paralyzed from the waist down after the shooting and is unlikely to ever walk again.

Martez Smith and several other Southern Mississippi players went out to celebrate their upset win over Central Florida on Saturday night, USA Today reports. Central Florida was ranked number 25 in the nation. After the club closed, Smith, Tim Green and Deddrick Jones were all shot outside. A bullet severed Smith's spinal cord, Green took a shot in the neck, severing his vocal cords, and Jones took a bullet in the chest. All three were taken to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg and are expected to survive.

Pacquiao-Mayweather Fight Takes Another Blow with Battery Charge

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s ears must have been burning. After Manny Pacquiao dismantled Antonio Margarito in a title fight over the weekend, Mayweather's name was tossed around incessantly:

Will the Pacquiao Mayweather bout, the fight all of boxing wants to see, happen now? Is Mayweather scared or just dodging Pacquiao? So perhaps Mayweather was a bit surly from being called out when he allegedly got into it with a security guard Monday, resulting in yet another brush with the law.

Anheuser-Busch Calls Foul, Sues Major League Baseball

Anheuser-Busch has sued Major League Baseball Properties over the right to exclusive beer sponsorship. Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser, alleges that the MLBP reneged on an agreement to re-up exclusive sponsorship rights. They allege that the MLBP has now backtracked and is demanding more money. Anheuser-Busch is a unit of Belgium-owned Anhueser-Busch InBev, NV, but has continued aggressively targeting America sports sponsorships. Anheuser-Busch is the official beer sponsor for 26 of the league's 30 teams.

Anheuser-Busch alleges that the MLBP reneged on the deal after it learned that the brewer was announcing a sponsorship deal with the National Football League. In a $1.2 billion dollar deal, Bud Light will be the official beer of the NFL in 2011, replacing Coors Light of MillerCoors LLC. Anheuser-Busch is seeking a court declaration enforcing the alleged April MLBP agreement.

Manny Pacquiao's Speed Destroys Heavier Antonio Margarito

Manny Pacquiao didn't need a lawsuit to defeat Antonio Margarito Saturday. The Filipino boxing sensation only needed his lightning-fast fists. Pacquiao annihilated Margarito in a lopsided, unanimous decision that sent Margarito to the hospital for surgery on his right eye socket.

But before the fight, when word that Margarito had gained 15 pounds overnight to come into the ring at 165, people worried for the smaller Pacquiao's safety, who was giving away 17 total pounds. Boxing followers recalled a famous lawsuit stemming from when Arturo Gatti gained 19 pounds overnight and brutally knocked out Joey Gamache in 2000.

Cam Newton News: Auburn Lawyers Up, QB Stars Saturday

After a week of intense speculation, embattled Auburn quarterback Cam Newton took the field and played Saturday. The Heisman Trophy front-runner dominated, rushing for 148 yards, throwing for 151 and accounting for four touchdowns in the Tigers' 49-31 victory. No. 2 Auburn (11-0) moved one step closer to a possible BCS National Championship Game appearance.

But the Cam Newton news, as we all know, was not all on the field.

More people have gone on the record to say that Newton's father, Cecil, had solicited six-figured sums for his son's commitment to Mississippi State. The NCAA has interviewed Cecil and Cam Newton both. According to the Birmingham News, Cecil admitted to the pay-for-play solicitation but insisted that his son had no knowledge of it. The NCAA has briefed Auburn about their investigation.

Student Sues After Coach Cut Him for Wearing Pink Cleats

"If you ooze masculinity, like some of us do, you have no reason to fear pink." - Jude Law, Alfie (2004)

I'm guessing the coach Chris Peterson of Mendenhall High School's football team doesn't subscribe to that maxim. The Mississippi coach allegedly kicked kicker Coy Sheppard off the team for wearing pink cleats during October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Sheppard, 17, decided to take things up a notch, hiring former state Supreme Court justice Oliver Diaz and filing suit in Simpson County Chancery Court. Sheppard is seeking reinstatement to the football team and monetary damages to go to the American Cancer Society.

US Supreme Court Hands NFL Defeat on Vikings Drug Violations

The Supreme Court has decided to stay out of the Minnesota state court case involving two Minnesota Vikings' alleged drug violations. National Football League defensive lineman Kevin Williams and Pat Williams sued the NFL over violations of the league's anti-doping policy after they allegedly tested positive for drugs. The Supreme Court recently refused to consider an appeal in the Vikings drug violations case made by the NFL.

The NFL had argued that the Williams, who are not related, should not be allowed to sue because their union contract as well as federal law trumps state law in such cases. The two players originally appealed after testing positive under the NFL testing program. They successfully argued that the NFL testing scheme violated Minnesota workplace laws.

Could Federal BCS Probe Lead to College Football Playoff?

Could it be ... a college football playoff? Perhaps. A federal probe into the BCS system may bring about the changes so many college football fans and schools have been arguing for. Utah's attorney general recently met with members of the Justice Department to discuss their concerns and the possibility for a much larger investigation, according to the Associated Press.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is investigating the BCS for some potential antitrust issues. What does this mean for college football fans? The possibility for a long-awaited college football playoff.

Wade Phillips Fired Yet? Fans Howling for Cowboys Coach's Firing

The Dallas Cowboys are a team stocked with talent but with a NFC-worst 1-7 record.

Naturally Cowboys fans are now calling for coach Wade Phillips to be fired. But for the last several weeks owner Jerry Jones has been adamant that Jones would remain for the rest of the season. But after yet another humiliating loss Sunday, 45-7 to the Green Bay Packers, the calls for Phillip's head have grown louder. Jones himself said after the game that there would be "consequences."

You could pick any number of statistics to illustrate how bad the Cowboys are this season, including: Dallas has allowed 232 points this season. That's the most it has surrendered in its first eight games of a season in more than 20 years. The self-proclaimed "America's team" has given up an average of more than 40 points per game over the last three games. And coach Wade Phillips is supposed to be known for his defense.

Auburn QB Cam Newton Linked to Bribery Scandal

Heisman candidate Cameron Newton was allegedly being shopped around as a recruit with a price tag of $180,000. Recruiting middleman Kenny Rogers is reported to have approached Mississippi State and offered the Bulldogs Newton's services for a ten percent discount. That was because Newton liked them, Rogers said.

It's all part of a bombshell report from ESPN, which while shocking, currently amounts to only allegations. The press reports have yet to submit any hard evidence. Yahoo! Sports writes that if Auburn did in fact pay $200,000 for Cam Newton, "they got an absolute steal." Never mind the fact that it would violate gobs of NCAA rules as well as being potentially illegal.

Barry Bonds Gets Ticketed in World Series Aftermath

It was a crazy scene in San Francisco after the Giants won the World Series over the Texas Rangers. There was joy, celebration, laughter and smiles. There were fires, riots, looting and gunfire. Pretty standard, really. Meanwhile, down in Los Angeles, a former Giants star was getting into legal troubles of his own. (Cue the ominous-sounding music.) That man was Barry Bonds.

But forgive me for the dramatic buildup: Bonds run in with the police was merely for talking on his cell phone while driving. According to the celebrity gossip website TMZ, Bonds was pulled over in West Hollywood and ticketed around 10 p.m. If Bonds pleads guilty, he will pay a fine of $125 for the violation. Despite his substantial legal team, I'm guessing he probably won't contest the charge.