Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

December 2012 Archives

Top 5 Legal Sports Stories of 2012

Athletes getting into trouble seemed to be a recurring theme in 2012.

While most legal issues involving athletes were just boneheaded, some stories that came out this past year were tragic too.

Here's a highlight reel of our Top 5 legal sports stories from 2012:

Teen Sought in Fatal Seattle Seahawks Bar Shooting

After every major sporting event, it seems that a few fans take things too far and celebrations turn violent. That was no different this Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers and hours later a man was killed in a bar shooting.

Several Seahawks players and other celebrities gathered at the Munchbar in Bellevue, Washington, to celebrate Seattle's win.

During the celebrations, police believe that 19-year-old Ja'mari Jones got into an altercation with an unidentified man and fatally shot him, reports CNN.

Judge Cites BCS Title Game in Rescheduling Court Hearing

Score one for a lawyer and Notre Dame football fan who persuaded a judge to push back a court hearing because of the BCS title game.

Notre Dame is set to square off against much favored Alabama in the championship game set for Jan. 7.

Unfortunately, that was also the date for the last scheduled pretrial conference for an attorney and Notre Dame alumnus. Noting that it may be the last time in his life that the Fighting Irish fight for a championship, the unnamed attorney requested to change the hearing date, reports CBS Sports.

Olympic Runner Suzy Favor Hamilton Is a Vegas Call Girl: Report

Three-time Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton has apparently been living a double life as a Las Vegas call girl.

The former Olympian, the married mother of a 7-year-old girl, has been working as a $600-an-hour call girl named "Kelly Lundy," according to The Smoking Gun.

When confronted by a reporter, Favor Hamilton allegedly said, "I'm owning up to what I did. ... I made a huge mistake. Huge," the website reports.

So what "mistake" was Favor Hamilton referring to?

Rory McIlroy, Nike Sued by Oakley for Contract Breach

The world's No. 1-ranked golfer Rory McIlroy is being sued by Oakley after the 23-year-old signed an endorsement deal with Nike.

Oakley claims that McIlroy breached his contract with the company by agreeing to come to terms with Nike and dropping Oakley, reports ESPN.

The sunglass and apparel company said that it tried to use a "right of first refusal" clause in its existing contract to retain the young golfer, but McIlroy ignored the counteroffer, thereby breaching his contract.

Matt Bush Gets 4 Years in Prison for 3rd DUI

Matt Bush, the first overall pick in the 2004 MLB draft, has been sentenced to four years and three months in prison on DUI charges.

The former elite baseball pitching prospect was charged with driving under the influence with serious bodily injury for a hit-and-run that resulted in serious injuries for a 72-year-old man in Florida, reports USA Today. At the time of the accident, Bush had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. It was Bush's third DUI arrest.

Bush entered a plea deal with prosecutors and pleaded no contest. In return, six other counts were dropped. Also as part of the deal, Bush was given a choice as to exactly how much time he would have to spend in prison.

Hines Ward Sued Over Paternity, May Have to Tackle Blood Test

Ex-Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is facing a paternity and child support lawsuit.

Melanie Smith claims that the former NFL star and "Dancing With the Stars" contestant fathered her 1-year-old child, reports The Urban Daily.

Smith claims Ward will not take responsibility for the child and that the former football great provides no support. If Ward will not own up to being the dad, Smith is seeking a blood test to confirm the child's paternity. But would a court force the former football star to undergo a "Jerry Springer"-like paternity test?

Josh Brent's Blood Alcohol Level: How Many Drinks Is That?

Josh Brent reportedly had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit when he crashed his car and killed his teammate Jerry Brown, police say.

Brent has been charged with intoxication manslaughter in the single-car accident and is currently out of jail after posting a $500,000 bond.

The 321-pound Dallas Cowboys lineman had a blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent, reports ESPN. The legal limit in Texas is 0.08 percent. So how many drinks would it take for a man that size to reach that BAC level?

Saints Bounty Suspensions Vacated, But Lawsuits Still in Play

Filling in for current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue upheld the findings that several members of the New Orleans Saints engaged in a bounty program contrary to league rules. Yet at the same time, the former commissioner vacated the suspensions of the players involved.

In a complicated decision, Tagliabue said that Goodell's findings that Saints players Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita and Will Smith engaged in the bounty was "factually accurate," reports CBS Sports. But the former commissioner then went on to say that the entire case was "contaminated" by the Saints organization, resulting in his decision to vacate the player suspensions that Goodell had handed down.

Tagliabue was filling in for Goodell who had recused himself from the Saints' appeal of the original decision resulting in the suspensions.

Dallas Cowboys' Josh Brent Charged in Teammate's Death

Josh Brent, a nose tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, has been charged with intoxication manslaughter for a car accident that resulted in the death of teammate, Jerry Brown Jr.

Brown was 25 years old and was a linebacker on the Cowboys' practice squad.

The accident happened about 2 a.m. Saturday, shortly before the Cowboys were to board a plane to head to their Sunday afternoon game against the Cincinnati Bengals, reports CBS News.

Terrell Suggs Ordered to Turn Over Guns in Domestic Case

In the wake of Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide, it is now being reported that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was recently required to surrender several guns to authorities as part of a domestic dispute.

Suggs' long-time girlfriend Candace Williams reportedly filed for a court order last month following a domestic violence incident, The Baltimore Sun reports.

Suggs lawfully possessed the guns, but turned them in to police as part of the court order.

Robin Yount Hunts Quail, Shoots Cubs Manager in the Head

This sounds like a made-up or exaggerated headline, but Hall of Fame baseball player Robin Yount did in fact shoot Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum in the head.

But don't expect any criminal charges or even a lawsuit in this case.

The two are friends and were reportedly hunting quail in Arizona. Yount saw a bird in front of him and took a shot. He ended up bagging the bird. But he also bagged his friend too, accidentally hitting him with shrapnel in the back of the right ear, reports ESPN.

What Led to Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher's Murder-Suicide?

Over the weekend, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins and then himself in what police describe as a murder-suicide.

Sadly, the fatal act of domestic violence may not have been entirely unpredictable. Perkins' friends and family describe the relationship between the two as "strained," especially after the birth of their daughter, reports NBC News.

The night before Perkins was killed, she was reportedly out late at a concert with some friends. Belcher apparently had a problem with Perkins being out late while their 3-month-old baby was at home. But instead of peacefully resolving this seemingly common couple's argument, Belcher is said to have shot Perkins nine times while his own mother was in the house, according to Sports Illustrated.