Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

December 2015 Archives

When The Huffington Post broke the news that an undercover Al Jazeera investigation uncovered evidence that Peyton Manning received performance-enhancing human growth hormone (HGH), Manning took to ESPN to issue a stern denial: "It's completely fabricated. Complete trash, garbage."

And now that the documentary featuring the allegations has aired, Manning has told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that he will "probably" sue Al Jazeera over the report. Defamation claims are notoriously difficult to win for public figures, and Manning has yet to file any lawsuits. But here are a few considerations if he does.

For reasons older than anyone reading this, baseball has enjoyed a special place in the hearts of judges and out of reach of many common rules of jurisprudence. We have extensive antitrust laws in this country, most of which don't apply to baseball. And if a fan is injured at a baseball game, unlike standard legal arguments of negligence and premises liability, we have "the baseball rule."

Like its antitrust exemption, the baseball rule exempts teams and Major League Baseball from injury lawsuits if a fan is hit with a ball or a bat. But with courts appearing more reluctant to kick injured fans out of court and the league advising teams to install more netting, the baseball rule might be close to breaking.

Underwear Brand Fans Flames of Derek Jeter Contract Case

The makers of Frigo underwear are suing Derek Jeter for backing out of deals to market their brand. The baseball player vehemently denies the company's claims that they had a contract or that he called the Frigo marketing plan both "too gay" and "too urban."

Reportedly, the company sued Jeter because he backed out of a deal, unhappy to market the underwear alongside rapper 50 Cent, per TMZ. The athlete also allegedly shirked his duty to become director of the company, fearing Frigo's "sporty" marketing strategy would strain his relationship with Nike.

Student, 15, Charged With Felony Assault for Sports Injury

A high school water polo player who broke an opponent's nose was charged with felony assault in California this month. The incident took place during a game in September and was captured on camera, according to the San Francisco Chronicle and SF Gate.

The accused, 15, never even got a foul during the game but now he is facing prison for felony assault and battery stemming from the incident that happened during a tournament. This has some parents and legal experts concerned about using the courts to adjudicate high school sports spats.

How much is a lifetime (or more) of shoe sales worth? $500 million sound about right? That's the reported figure, on the low end, of LeBron James' lifetime contract with Nike. The world's largest sporting goods company had the chance to lock up the second-best player in the NBA for life and they jumped at it.

So does this really mean that King James and the Swoosh are stuck with each other forever?

Steve Sarkisian was fired as USC head football coach on October 12. His termination came about two months after he appeared drunk at a football alumni banquet, one day after he apparently showed up drunk to a practice and was placed on administrative leave, and while he was on his way to a rehab center. Sarkisian admitted he has a problem with alcohol and allegedly told his boss, USC Director of Athletics Pat Haden.

Now Sarkisian is suing the school for wrongful termination and a host of other claims relating to his dismissal. He's seeking upwards of $30 million in damages.

Let's say you're a corrupt FIFA executive. And let's say you just saw Swiss police raid a swanky Zurich hotel and scoop up 14 of your corrupt FIFA executive bros in an organized raid about six months ago. Would you ever book a room in that swanky Zurich hotel? And could you even act surprised if Swiss police scooped your corrupt FIFA executive self up in that same swanky Zurich hotel?

The Baur au Lac is the gift that keeps on giving, this time coughing up around a dozen more FIFA officials into police custody on similar charges of racketeering, money laundering, and fraud. Maybe find another place to stay, corrupt FIFA bros.

If you were looking for an indication that South Africa's court system is a lot like our own, you might have gotten it when Oscar Pistorius was only found guilty of culpable murder in the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and spent just one year in prison before being released to house arrest. It seemed like the justice system was giving favorable treatment to a star athlete.

But it turns out South Africa's appellate system is quite different from that in the U.S., as prosecutors were able to appeal that verdict, and an appeals court upgraded Pistorius's conviction to murder.

When states started banning daily fantasy sites and the lawsuits started flying, many thought the days of DraftKings and FanDuel were numbered. But it might not be so simple. Because it's not just the websites themselves that are after your sports gambling dollars -- it's also the sports leagues and media conglomerates that have invested in and partnered with the sites.

And as several recent lawsuits against daily fantasy sites have shown, those investors and partners are getting dragged into court as well.