Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

October 2018 Archives

Temperatures might be cooling down, but legal action regarding heat stroke injuries may just be heating up. Those summer training sessions to prepare for fall competition can be grueling, but when do those sessions cross a legal line? Perhaps when the sun heat index on the field is north of 130 degrees and athletes don't have access to a trainer, cold water, shade, or rest breaks.

Those were the conditions of one summer training session for a Virginia high school soccer team, leading one player to suffer a heat stroke after he got home. The player, Patrick Clancy, is now suing the school's athletic director and head soccer coach, claiming their negligence caused him to sustain serious and permanent injury.

Harvard Diving Coach Resigns Amidst Class Action Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit

As the old saying goes, where there's smoke, there's fire. Harvard is learning the hard way that though it's great to give someone the benefit of the doubt, sometimes the risk is miscalculated.

Once the federal ban on sports gambling was overturned earlier this year, states have been scrambling to update their betting laws. While not all states are adopting open sports betting, those that are must put regulations in place governing everything from betting locations and wager limits to, of course, how winners get paid.

And if you're used to the old, buy and ticket, wait for the result, turn the ticket in method used in Vegas sportsbooks, the laws may be a little different in your state.

Depending on which television stats you cherry pick, the National Football League is either dying or it's immortal. But there's little doubt the NFL has been locked in a public relations battle the past few years. From a wave of domestic violence and assaults, to concussion and painkiller class action lawsuits, and now the (mis)handling of player protests, the league -- regardless of burgeoning income -- has been working overtime to burnish its image.

So it's likely with open arms that the NFL welcomed a report from USA Today showing a significant decline in player arrests since 2014. So, are the numbers really that good? And, if so, why?

According to a Kentucky sixth-grader's lawsuit, a rule that limits the movement of boys (but not girls) basketball players between class-delineated teams violates equal protection laws and Title IX. Under the so-called "play up, stay up" rule, male students who play for a higher grade team can never play for a lower grade team, but female players can play up or down without any restrictions.

"Specifically," the lawsuit claims, "this rule unfairly subjects male basketball players to a harsh restriction on the number of grade levels at which they may play, but expressly exempts female basketball players from the restriction," thus resulting in "gender-based discrimination against middle school male student-athletes."

When NFL legend Junior Seau fatally shot himself in the chest in 2012, his death had all the markings of other brain injury-related suicides by ex-football players, most notably that of Dave Duerson earlier the same year. Duerson had written down a request that his brain be examined for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a neurodegenerative disease found in people who have had multiple head injuries that can cause behavioral problems, mood problems, and problems with thinking, and, late in life, dementia. Though Seau didn't make the same request as Duerson, his family submitted his brain tissue to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, who determined his brain showed definitive signs of CTE.

Seau's family opted out of the massive concussion class action lawsuit against the NFL (and the massive settlement), choosing instead to file a separate wrongful death claim against the league. The family and the NFL settled that suit last week, for an undisclosed amount.

One would think that if a parent were to file a federal lawsuit over a child failing to make a school sports team, they would at least try to get them varsity status. After all, Rudy Giuliani's son sued Duke University for a spot on their varsity golf team. But it's actually the absence from a JV squad that had a St. Louis mother up in legal arms last week.

The woman filing the suit is not named, as her son is referred to only as John Doe in a legal filing claiming the child's absence on a high school junior varsity soccer team amounts to age discrimination. The school allegedly had a policy against placing juniors who fail to make the varsity team on JV, reserving those spots for developing freshmen and sophomores. The mother's request for a temporary restraining order allowing her son to play on the JV team, however, was denied.

Like the NFL, the NBA has pretty strict rules when it comes to player uniforms. Shorts can't be too baggy, shirts must stay tucked in, no tights allowed (compression sleeves are OK), and if you're going to wear a headband, it must be a league-issued headband and not inside out or upside down. And NBA players, due to the nature of those uniforms, have some of the most prominently displayed tattoos in sports.

So it's no surprise that, at some point, all those written regulations and all that ink would come into conflict. And it's probably no shock that JR Smith is at the center of that conflict. According to Smith, the league has warned him to cover up a brand new tattoo sporting the Supreme streetwear logo, lest he be fined. Can they really do that?