Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

November 2015 Archives

As the debate over access to bathrooms and locker rooms for transgender people has raged, those on both sides of the issue have made arguments regarding privacy and safety for both cisgender (non-trans) and transgender people in shared intimate spaces. Early this month, the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) weighed in, saying school districts must provide equal locker room access to transgender students.

The OCR's ruling may not quell what has become a heated national exchange on transgender rights, but it at least provides some guidance to schools on how to craft transgender locker room policies for students and staff.

Donald Sterling is an unrepentant slumlord and serial sexual harasser. But it was only when a racist rant (one of many) was leaked to the media that the NBA banned Sterling and forced him to sell his L.A. Clippers.

Sterling had been battling the sale, and appealed a probate ruling that allowed his wife to sell the time. Only he appealed it very badly, and a California court affirmed the ruling. Now the former owner is running out of options.

Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison for sexually abusing numerous boys over a 15-year span. That span included his time as a Penn State coach, which entitled Sandusky to a hefty pension after his retirement.

The State Employees Retirement System tried to cancel those pension payments following Sandusky's conviction, but a Pennsylvania court has reinstated his pension. Sandusky, who is serving essentially a life term on 45 counts of child molestation, will again receive $4,900 a month in retirement benefits from the state.

Cleveland is one of eight cities to tax visiting professional athletes who play games in the city. But their taxation scheme was unique, and, according to the Supreme Court, illegal.

The United States Supreme Court declined to hear Cleveland's appeal of an Ohio State Supreme Court ruling on the city's so-called jock tax, effectively saying that the city could tax athletes, but it was taxing them on the wrong basis. Considering most of us didn't even know there was a jock tax before now, let's take a minute to unpack the Court's ruling.

Ray-Ray Armstrong is a third-year linebacker for the Oakland Raiders. Ray-Ray is not a regular reader of our blogs. If he were, he'd know you can't go around barking at police dogs.

Instead, while coming onto the field in Pittsburgh on Sunday to play the Steelers, Ray-Ray lifted his shirt, pounded his chest, barked at the dog and allegedly told the K9's handler to "send the dog." Ray-Ray now finds himself under investigation for a felony.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has never been particularly quiet in his protection of the state's consumers. Schneiderman has sued FedEx for shipping untaxed contraband, J. Crew and other retailers for on-call scheduling, Barney's for frisking minority shoppers, Bank of America and Wells Fargo for mortgage foreclosure abuses, UPS for falsifying delivery times, and even Donald Trump for his sham university.

And now the busiest AG in the country is setting his prosecutorial sights on daily fantasy sports sites. Schneiderman has warned DraftKings and FanDuel that their games are prohibited by state gambling laws and to stop accepting bets from New York residents. Here's betting that they'll listen.

Around 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, University of Missouri football players went on strike, joining a larger student protest against University President Tom Wolfe's inaction regarding several racist incidents on campus. Less than two days later, Wolfe had resigned and the team will be back at practice this afternoon.

It was an astonishing display of influence and risk, given that college athletes lack the protections of unionized employees and most athletic scholarships are not guaranteed. And it could portend of larger protests down the road.

Last year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the Washington NFL team's trademark registration for its team mascot, saying the name is "disparaging to Native Americans." This week, the team appealed that decision by coming up with a novel defense of the name, basically listing a bunch of other trademarks with names just as or more offensive than its own.

This is an interesting tack to take, reminiscent of a sibling yelling at his parents, "You let my brother do it!" Will their "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" argument be persuasive? Let's take a look at the company the team is trying to put itself in.

Pierre Garcon is a very talented football player and makes a substantial amount of money for being good at football. FanDuel is a quasi-legal gambling website and makes an even more substantial amount of money based on Garcon being good at football. FanDuel doesn't share any of the substantial amount of money it makes based on Garcon's performance with Garcon and Garcon is not too happy about it.

So Garcon has sued FanDuel on behalf of himself and other NFL players, claiming the daily fantasy site is profiting from the players' names and popularity without compensating the players. So does he have a case?