Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

August 2014 Archives

Family Sues Over Girl's Brain Injury During H.S. Soccer Game

The family of a high school soccer player who claims she suffered a head injury in a pre-season scrimmage more than two years ago has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the coach and the school district.

The lawsuit says the girl -- who is identified only as M.U. due to her age -- collided head first with another player during the scrimmage in August, 2012. As a result, the lawsuit claims that the girl suffered a serious brain injury and continues to experience headaches, fatigue, and anxiety, affecting her performance in school and restricting her choices of colleges, reports The Inquirer.

Why does the girl's family blame her coach and his employer for the extent of the girl's injuries?

Steelers' Le'Veon Bell 'Didn't Know You Could Get a DUI for Being High'

Although the terms DUI and drunken driving are often used interchangeably, most people know that the "I" in DUI can represent being intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.

Most people, that is, except Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, apparently. Bell was recently cited for marijuana possession during a traffic stop. According to the criminal complaint in that case, Bell told an officer, "I didn't know you could get a DUI for being high" before admitting that he had recently smoked marijuana and had a small amount in his possession, reports Pittsburgh's WPXI-TV.

Although Bell wasn't cited for DUI, why might his incriminating statement still come back to haunt him?

ESPN's Linda Cohn Sues Ice Rink Over Toppled Coin Machine Injury

ESPN's Linda Cohn was injured when a coin change machine fell on her at an ice rink, and now she's suing.

The veteran sportscaster suffered a "real deep" wound to her right arm in March, reports The Journal News. Cohn received 25 stitches to her arm that left "a Frankenstein-like scar that looks like her hand and arm were sewn together," and she's suing the owners of the Brewster Ice Arena in Brewster, New York, to recover.

How did this coin machine fall on Cohn, and is the rink responsible?

Chris Kluwe, Vikings Settle Wrongful Termination Dispute

Punter Chris Kluwe, who became known more for his outspoken support of gay rights than his on-field play, has settled his dispute with his former team, the Minnesota Vikings.

Kluwe was threatening to sue the team for wrongful termination, claiming that his release from the Vikings last year was because of his support for same-sex marriage, not because of his performance on the field, reports The Associated Press.

What are the terms of the settlement reached by Kluwe and the Vikings?

Univ. of Tulsa Faces Title IX Lawsuit Over Athlete Rape Allegations

The University of Tulsa has been slapped with a Title IX suit in federal court based on one student's allegations that she was raped by a prominent college basketball player at the school.

Abigail Ross claims in her suit that basketball player Patrick Swilling Jr. sexually assaulted her in January. Ross asserts that the university, colloquially referred to as TU, "undertook zero investigation" of Swilling or his conduct, despite as many as three prior sexual assault reports from other TU students, reports ESPN.

How does this alleged treatment relate to Title IX?

More Pro Athletes Tackle Divorce Than Domestic Violence: Report

Athletes accused of domestic violence make for sensational headlines, but a new statistic shows that divorce may actually occupy much more of the average pro athlete's home life.

According to The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, the divorce rate for professional athletes is somewhere between 60 and 80 percent -- much higher than the 50 percent estimated for all Americans, reports Forbes.

But does this downplay the impact of domestic violence among pro athletes? Here's some legal insght:

Steve Ballmer Gets Court OK to Purchase Clippers

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is now the official owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

National Basketball Association owners unanimously voted to approve the team's sale to Ballmer last week. However, the sale couldn't be completed until a California court confirmed that Shelly Sterling, wife of former owner Donald Sterling, had the authority to sell the team without her husband's consent, reports ESPN. On Tuesday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge issued an order finalizing an earlier ruling that allowing the sale.

How did Ballmer's $2 billion purchase of the Clippers end up hinging on a court order?

Federal Judge Clears Way for NCAA Athlete Licensing Pay

A Federal judge ruled on Friday that the NCAA can no longer prevent college football and basketball players from sharing in proceeds generated by use of their likenesses.

The ruling by U.S. District Court judge Claudia Wilken found that NCAA rules prohibiting athletes from being paid for use of their names, images, and likenesses violate federal antitrust laws, reports CBS Sports. The judge issued an injunction prohibiting the NCAA from enforcing its current rules, but he did not grant proposals by the plaintiffs -- former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon and 19 other former NCAA athletes -- to allow athletes to enter into paid endorsement deals or individual licensing agreements.

What led to O'Bannon's five-year legal battle against the NCAA, and what does the ruling mean for current and future NCAA athletes?

NASCAR's Tony Stewart Runs Over, Kills Competitor on Racetrack

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart has been accused of running over and killing a fellow competitor during a race Saturday in upstate New York.

Kevin Ward Jr., 20, was pronounced dead shortly after being allegedly struck by Stewart's car and dragged a short distance at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Deadspin reports that among the many eyewitnesses who took to the Internet, some felt that the crash was retaliation and not an accident.

As investigators continue to look into the incident, what charges could Stewart potentially face in the wake of Ward's death?

NCAA's College-Athlete Pay Decision: Will It Pay Off for Players?

The NCAA's board of directors voted Thursday to give the five largest football conferences the freedom to begin paying their athletes small stipends as part of their scholarship packages.

The vote came as the five largest conferences -- the Pac-12, Southeastern, Big Ten, Big 12, and Atlantic Coast conferences -- had threatened to splinter off to form their own association if not granted greater autonomy, according to Time. The vote comes amid ongoing lawsuits pitting players against the NCAA on the subject of athlete pay.

What do the new rules allow, and what are the current court cases that have big college sports programs worried?

Miami-Dade Schools to Test Students for Steroids: Is This Legal?

The Miami-Dade County School Board has announced that it will begin testing high school athletes for steroid use during the upcoming school year.

The school district hopes that the pilot testing program, the specifics of which are still being worked out, will discourage the use of performance enhancing drugs by district students, reports the Miami Herald. Announcement of the program comes after Antonio Bosch, founder of the Biogenesis clinic linked to steroid use by Major League Baseball players, admitted to also providing steroids to Florida high school athletes.

While the program may be well-intentioned, is it legal?

Cal Football Player Ted Agu's Family Sues Over Wrongful Death

The family of a University of California football player who died during an offseason workout with a school trainer has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school.

The lawsuit filed by Ted Agu's family alleges "reckless and negligent behavior" by school staff in connection with Agu's death earlier this year, reports The Associated Press.

What does the family claim the school did wrong, and what will they need to prove liability in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Ohio State Univ. Sues 'O-H-I-O' T-Shirt Maker, Alleging Infringement

College football powerhouse Ohio State University has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit over T-shirts that show silhouetted figures forming the letters "O-H-I-O" with their arms.

The Village People-esque flagless semaphore technique featured on Rhode Island-based Teespring Inc.'s T-shirt is a common sight at OSU football games -- so much so that the school had it trademarked in 2012, reports The Columbus Dispatch.

Can you really trademark things like that?

Who's Liable for Damages to Vehicles in Ballpark/Stadium Parking Lots?

Toronto Bluejays outfielder Melky Cabrera's homer in a game against the Boston Red Sox this week didn't just raise his season home run total to 14, but it also raised an interesting legal question.

The home run sailed over the Green Monster -- Fenway Park's legendary left field wall -- and into a parking lot beyond the stadium where it shattered the windshield of a parked car.

Who can be held liable for damage to cars or injuries that occur in stadium parking lots?