Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

January 2016 Archives

When video of snowboarder Christian Mares surviving a self-created avalanche came out last week, we thought, "Cool." When it turned out he could face criminal charges for snowboarding in a restricted area of Tahoe's Sugar Bowl Resort, we thought, "Less cool."

It also got us thinking about all the different legal liabilities snowboarders could face out on the mountain. Here are just a few of them:

Former Texas Longhorns and Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young was arrested in Austin after he was seen driving erratically last Saturday night. According to the affidavit for his arrest, Young's speech was slurred, his eyes were glassy, and he refused to provide a blood or breath sample.

Young was charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and released on $2,000 bail.

Another day, another state outlawing daily fantasy gambling. This time it was Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, saying that DraftKings and FanDuel were taking bets in violation of state gambling laws.

As opposed to his counterpart in New York, Paxton hasn't threatened criminal action or demanded his constituents' money back. This was an advisory opinion on what the Texas courts might rule if they ever took up the issue. But Texas is the eighth state to come out against daily fantasy sites and one of the biggest daily fantasy markets, so how long will daily fantasy remain unregulated?

International Track & Field Agency Blamed for Known Doping

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last week released the second half of a report on corruption among track and field athletes and agencies, and it did not limit its criticism to a single country. Instead, the report centers on the corruption of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which allegedly allowed athletes with dirty blood tests to continue competing.

Did the institutions fail intentionally? The new report indicates that they did, reports National Public Radio and that state and international agencies were involved in a corruption conspiracy.

Lawrence Phillips, former Nebraska Cornhusker, St. Louis Ram, Miami Dolphin, and San Francisco 49er running back was found unresponsive in his jail cell yesterday at Kern Valley State Prison in California. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital and prison officials are investigating his death as a suspected suicide.

Phillips was serving a 31-year sentence for various domestic abuse offenses, and had been charged with murdering his prison cellmate in September. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said that at the time he was found, he was in a single-person cell.

Electronic Arts' iconic Madden NFL franchise is probably the most popular football video game in history. The game debuted in 1988 and since the 90's has used actual players and teams from the NFL. By all accounts, it is the most realistic depiction of professional football in a video game.

And therein lies its problem. Former NFL players sued EA for using their likenesses without permission, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. Now EA is appealing to the Supreme Court, claiming the First Amendment protects their "right to create expressive works -- in any form -- that relate to real-life people and events."

By now we're pretty used to seeing ESPN reporters and personalities in commercials. John Buccigross and Stan Verrett shilled for Scion. Monday Night Football's Jon Gruden has hawked Hooters wings. And there's always the synergistic joy of SportsCenter movie tie-ins.

But what about when Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter took to Twitter to espouse their love of Domino's pizza? Well, that might have run afoul of Federal Trade Commission guidelines on deceptive advertising.

The NFL has been dangling a Los Angeles franchise as a carrot to owners seeking to leave their current locations and a stick to cities and fan bases to pony up for new stadiums to keep their teams. And the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and St. Louis Rams have each officially entered the three-way battle royale for L.A.

All three teams filed applications for relocation to the NFL on Monday, and league officials will begin meeting on Wednesday to decide which team(s) will begin the 2016 season in L.A., and a formal recommendation is expected by the owners meetings in Houston on January 12th and 13th.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman upped the ante in the state's battle against daily fantasy sites DraftKings and FanDuel. The state filed an amended lawsuit against the companies, asking for restitution of all profits made from New York consumers as well as a $5,000 per case civil penalty.

Schneiderman told Reuters the filing is based on "a determination by the State Supreme Court that DraftKings and FanDuel have been running illegal sports betting operations [and] seeks appropriate fines and restitution from the companies." Estimates place the amount New Yorkers bet on the two sites in the ballpark of $200 million in 2015 alone.