Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

November 2011 Archives

The fight to change New York's law barring live mixed martial arts events is heading to court. The UFC is suing New York, claiming the ban on live MMA bouts is unconstitutional.

Lawyers for the UFC, which holds MMA events, emphasize the theater and drama of mixed martial arts. The fighters' fists of fury are actually a form of expression, protected by the First Amendment, the UFC claims.

"It's martial artistry. The nature of martial arts is a lot like dancing," one plaintiffs' lawyer told The Wall Street Journal.

Westboro to Picket Funeral of Arkansas' Garrett Uekman?

University of Arkansas' redshirt freshman tight end Garrett Uekman was pronounced dead late Sunday morning after his roommate found him unconscious. Another roommate had seen the 19-year-old playing video games just an hour earlier.

There were no suspicious circumstances, and the university was not aware of any pre-existing conditions. He was in cardiac arrest when first responders arrived.

A campus vigil has been set, and funeral information is forthcoming. However, there seems to be one little kink in the community's plans to honor Uekman:

The Westboro Baptist Church.

An Oklahoma State basketball coach, an assistant coach, and two others were killed in a plane crash Thursday, the university announced this morning.

Oklahoma State University women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed in the crash about 4:30 p.m. in Arkansas. Former Oklahoma state Senator Olin Branstetter and his wife Paula were also killed in the crash, The Oklahoman reports.

Branstetter, 83, an experienced pilot, is listed as the plane’s owner, the newspaper said.

Court Throws Out CBS's Janet Jackson Super Bowl 'Wardrobe Malfunction'

Wardrobe malfunction. Nipplegate. The Janet Jackson case.

Whatever you want to call Jackson's 2004 Super Bowl halftime show nip slip, it is ready to fade from the nation's consciousness. After 7 years. Finally.

The Federal Communications Commission had fined CBS $550,000 for the mid-day peep show. But last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit threw it out. For the second time.

The NBA lockout dispute is likely headed to court, after NBA players rejected the league's latest offer and disbanded their union.

The action clears the way for a legal offensive -- one that could be decided by a California judge.

The dispute centers on how to split the NBA's $4 billion in annual revenue. Team owners have offered players about a 50% cut -- down from 57% in the players' previous contract, which expired in July.

A Minnesota college student has been convicted of a cybercrime that led to plenty of unwanted exposure for pro baseball player Grady Sizemore. Photos of Sizemore, in various degrees of undress, were made public without his permission.

Leah Michelle Ayers, 20, of Apple Valley, Minn., pleaded guilty last week to a charge of unauthorized computer access, a misdemeanor. It was the final inning of a two-year ordeal for the rookie hacker.

Court documents don't say why Ayers committed the crime in 2009, but they do provide details of her digital deception.

More than a week after former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's arrest, the accused child molester remains free. Now critics are piling on Judge Leslie Dutchcot for allowing that to happen -- and for not recusing herself for her alleged ties to Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile.

At least one lawmaker is calling on Pennsylvania's Chief Justice to investigate, Fox News reports.

Sandusky was arrested Nov. 5 after a grand jury indicted him on 40 counts of child molestation. The grand jury's report detailed Sandusky's alleged sexual abuse of eight boys over a 15-year period.

Teammates, friends, and fans are hoping for the safe return of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, kidnapped from his family's home in Venezuela.

Police say gunmen forced Ramos, 24, into an SUV and drove away Wednesday night. The vehicle was found abandoned Thursday morning.

Major League Baseball has gone to bat for the promising rookie. It's sent a team of investigators to Venezuela to help track down Ramos and his kidnappers.

Aside from that, there's really not much else U.S. authorities, or courts, can officially do.

It seems Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno may not have broken the law in his handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal. But police say Paterno's actions did not live up to his famous mantra of "success with honor."

Sandusky, Paterno's former defensive coordinator, is accused of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period. Several alleged incidents took place at Penn State.

Paterno admits he knew about one such incident. He reported it up the chain of command, to Penn State athletic director Tim Curley. But he did not tell police.

"[W]hether you're a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building, I think you have a moral responsibility to call us," Pennsylvania Police Commissioner Frank Noonan told reporters Monday.

Were Joe Pa's actions legally or morally objectionable?

Two Penn State administrators face charges in connection with the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The former assistant coach -- for many years head coach Joe Paterno's right-hand-man -- is charged with sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years.

At least one of the alleged incidents took place in a Penn State locker room in 2002. A staffer reported it to Joe Paterno, who told athletic director Tim Curley -- but Curley did not tell authorities.

Now Curley and Penn State's vice president for business Gary Schultz are charged with lying about the alleged crime and failing to report it. Paterno has not been charged.

But the duty to report Sandusky's alleged sexual abuse of boys may not apply in this case, Schultz's attorney Thomas J. Farrell told The Wall Street Journal.

West Virginia Sues to Leave Big East for Big 12 Conference

West Virginia University has sued, seeking an immediate transfer from the Big East to the Big 12 conference.

West Virginia hopes to become a member of the Big 12 before the 2012 football season.

Unfortunately, the Big East's bylaws may not allow West Virginia to break off so easily.

Agent Who Smuggled Cuban Players into US Has Conviction Reversed

He came to fame when he negotiated the contract for Rene Arocha, the first Cuban ball player to defect to the U.S. But years later, agent Gustavo "Gus" Dominguez would instead become known for smuggling Cuban baseball players into the country.

And that fact did not change this week, even though the 11th Circuit partially reversed his 2007 conviction. Dominguez may not have illegally transported and harbored aliens, but he did conspire and attempt to smuggle them into the country.