Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

September 2014 Archives

Michael Phelps Arrested for DUI After Speeding in Tunnel

Swimmer Michael Phelps, who holds the all-time record for winning Olympic gold medals, apparently likes to go fast out of the water as well. Phelps was pulled over in Baltimore early this morning after being clocked going 84 mph in a 45-mph zone inside the Fort McHenry Tunnel.

But the speeding violation may end up being the least of Phelps' problems. After failing a field sobriety test, officers tested Phelps' blood alcohol concentration and found it twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, reports TMZ.

Phelps was subsequently booked for DUI before being released. And unfortunately for Phelps, this is not his first arrest for DUI in Maryland.

Jameis Winston to Cooperate in FSU Title IX Investigation

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston's lawyer says that the Heisman Trophy winner will cooperate will a Title IX investigation being conducted by the school regarding rape allegations against Winston.

Winston's lawyer confirmed his participation in the school's investigator in a letter, reports ESPN. Winston was accused of raping a Florida State student in 2012, but after an investigation Florida's State Attorney's Office declined to file charges against Winston citing a lack of evidence. But after the U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation into the school's handling of the allegations, Florida State began their own investigation into the incident.

What is Title IX and what does it do?

Tony Stewart's Grand Jury: No Indictment in Kevin Ward's Death

A grand jury has declined to indict NASCAR racer Tony Stewart for the death of Kevin Ward Jr., for the moment leaving Stewart free of criminal liability.

According to Fox News, prosecutors presented evidence that Ward was "under the influence of marijuana" on the night of the racing accident, which may partly explain why the grand jury let Stewart off the hook. But Stewart isn't exactly out of the woods yet.

What's ahead for Stewart, and how did the grand jury reach its decision?

Ex-NBA Star Rex Chapman Shoplifted, Pawned Apple Products: Cops

During his 12-year career as player in the National Basketball Association, Rex Chapman had almost 600 steals.

According to Scottsdale Police, Chapman has racked up a few more steals during his retirement. Chapman is accused of shoplifting more than $14,000 worth of merchandise from the Apple Store at a Scottsdale-area mall, reports the Arizona Republic.

What kind of charges is Chapman now facing?

For NASCAR's Tony Stewart, Fate Is in Grand Jury's Hands

For NASCAR champion Tony Stewart, who struck and killed fellow race-car driver Kevin Ward Jr. in August, his future in criminal court lies in the hands of a New York grand jury.

Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo announced this week that his office would be submitting the case to a grand jury "in the near future," reports The New York Times. The grand jury's determination could mean the difference between a murder indictment and avoiding criminal charges altogether.

So what should NASCAR fans know about this grand jury announcement?

Cardinals RB Jonathan Dwyer Arrested, Denies Assault Charges

Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer became the latest NFL player to face criminal charges after he was arrested Wednesday and charged with aggravated assault.

The arrest stems from a pair of incidents in July when Dwyer allegedly assaulted a woman and an 18-month-old child at his Phoenix home, reports ESPN. The arrest also comes less than a week after another NFL running back, Adrian Peterson, was indicted for child abuse after allegedly injuring his 4-year-old son and amid the continuing controversy surrounding the recently released video footage of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his wife in an elevator earlier this year.

What are the details behind the NFL's latest off-field troubles?

Due Process: What Does it Mean for NFL Discipline Issues?

Pro football and the U.S. Constitution are not typically mentioned in the same sentence, let alone the same blog post.

But with a recent string of NFL players being hit with criminal charges for their conduct off the field -- including all-pro running back Adrian Peterson, who was indicted on child abuse charges over the weekend -- the constitutional concept of due process has entered the football lexicon. The phrase has been used by team officials to explain why players charged with crimes, such as 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald, have remained on the field, as well as by players fighting suspensions for their off-the-field conduct, like Ravens running back Ray Rice.

So what exactly is due process? And how does it apply to NFL players facing serious criminal charges?

Adrian Peterson Indicted on Child Abuse Charges; Freed on Bond

Football star Adrian Peterson was booked and released from a Texas jail over the weekend after being indicted on charges of negligent injury to a child.

Peterson's indictment follows an investigation into injuries suffered by Peterson's 4-year-old son when the Minnesota Vikings running back allegedly disciplined the boy, reports Houston's KILT radio. Peterson admitted to police that he twice gave the boy a "whooping" with a "switch" -- a colloquialism for striking someone with a tree branch stripped of its leaves -- and told police he felt "very confident with my actions because I know my intent."

Police, however, believe Peterson took his discipline too far, crossing the line into child abuse.

7 Ex-NFL Players Lose Appeal to Stop Concussion Settlement

Seven ex-NFL players have lost their appeal to stop a settlement between the NFL and concussion victims and their families.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal Thursday to reconsider the NFL settlement that had been preliminarily approved in July. This settlement will potentially offer up to $5 million to former players and their families for ailments due to concussions, but the appealing players felt that this wasn't enough, Reuters reports.

What argument did these ex-players try to use, and what's next for the settlement?

Oscar Pistorius Guilty of Culpable Homicide, Gun Charge

Oscar Pistorius, the South African track star known as the "Blade Runner," has been found guilty of culpable homicide in the shooting death of his girlfriend.

Following a six-month trial, the former Olympic athlete was convicted of culpable homicide -- the South African equivalent of manslaughter -- for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year, reports USA Today. Pistorius was also convicted on a weapons charge related to firing a handgun in a restaurant only weeks before Steenkamp's death.

What led the judge to convict Pistorius of homicide, and what criminal penalties might he now face?

Oscar Pistorius Not Guilty of Murder: 5 Things You Should Know

South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been acquitted of murdering his girlfriend following a six-month trial.

The judge presiding over the trial said that Pistorius had been "negligent" in firing a gun four times through a bathroom door at what he claims he thought was an intruder. Ultimately, however, the judge said she was not convinced that he had intended to kill Reeva Steenkamp, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Here are five things you should know about the Pistorius verdict:

Oakland Raiders Settle Cheerleaders' Lawsuit for $1.25M

Not only did the Oakland Raiders lose on the field last week (19-14 to the New York Jets), but they also admitted defeat in a legal battle with their own cheerleading squad.

The Raiders agreed last week to settle a class action wage theft lawsuit filed on behalf of 90 current and former members of the Raiderettes, reports the Los Angeles Times. If approved by the court, the $1.25 million settlement will include a pay raise for current Raiderettes and thousands of dollars in back pay for those worked as cheerleaders over the last four seasons.

What do the cheerleaders claim the Raiders did wrong?

Can 'New' Ray Rice Video Lead to More Charges?

The Baltimore Ravens terminated Ray Rice's contract Monday, just hours after a newly released video showed him slugging his then-fiancee in an elevator.

The video appears to shed new light on an incident in February, when Rice was caught on video dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator in an Atlantic City casino. The new video shows Rice and Janay Palmer (now Janay Rice) inside the elevator, with Rice throwing a punch at his future wife, reports the Baltimore Sun.

Many fans may be wondering, is there a way for Rice to face (more) charges for allegedly smacking around his current wife?

Bruce Levenson's Emails Raise 3 Legal Lessons About Discovery

On the heels of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's forced exile from the NBA for making racist comments, another NBA team owner is giving up his stake in a team after a racially insensitive email regarding the team's fan base was made public.

Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson self-reported the existence of the email -- in which he wrote that he believed black Hawks fans attending games were scaring away affluent white fans -- to league officials, reports The Daily Beast. But Levenson may just be the first NBA owner to have comments made over email come to light. As Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann notes, as the lawsuit filed by Sterling's against the league makes its way through court, other incriminating statements by league owners may come to light through the legal process of discovery.

What is discovery, and how might it expose the conversations between league owners and officials? Here are three things to consider:

Junior Seau's Family Rejects NFL Concussion Settlement, Why?

The family of Junior Seau, the former San Diego Chargers player who committed suicide in 2012, has rejected the proposed concussion settlement between the NFL and thousands of former players.

Seau is one of the most prominent names in the class action suit against the NFL for concussion-related injuries, and his family's withdrawal from the settlement may jeopardize the deal for other former players. According to U-T San Diego, Seau's family stood to receive $4 million as part of the pending settlement.

Why did Seau's family turn down this money, and what does it mean for the settlement as a whole?

Colts Owner Jim Irsay Pleads Guilty to Drug-Related OWI

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

The OWI charge stems from an arrest earlier this year after Irsay was pulled over and found to have oxycodone and hydrocodone -- both powerful painkillers -- in his system as well as the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam, reports ESPN.

What criminal penalties is Irsay now facing?