Sports in the Courts Blog

Sports in the Courts Blog

Commentary on the Intersection Between Sports and the Law

Recent Updates

Not Every Lesson Has To Be Learned The Hard Way, Mr. Kaepernick

Well, here we go again.  A star athlete, an unknown female, allegations of alcohol and drug use, a potential sexual assault and the resulting police investigation.  However, this time there ...

What Happened to the Captains of ARod’s Legal Ship?

So now a Florida federal grand jury may be investigating whether suspended Yankee, Alex Rodriguez, impeded a criminal investigation into his use of  illegal performance enhancing drugs as reported by ...

The NCAA Should Be Impressed by these Northwestern “Student-Athlete-Employees”

What if there really are "student-athletes" at the NCAA Division 1 level?  No, really, if it was true? In what's been called a "stunning" and "shocking" outcome, the college football players ...

So is ARod Mad at His Lawyers?

There have been multiple reports in the NY media, including the NY Daily News, that suspended Yankees' third basemen, Alex Rodriguez is not paying his lawyers and may owe them about ...

Not Every Lesson Has To Be Learned The Hard Way, Mr. Kaepernick

Posted in 49ers, Kaepernick, Lakers, NFL, Steelers

Well, here we go again.  A star athlete, an unknown female, allegations of alcohol and drug use, a potential sexual assault and the resulting police investigation.  However, this time there are denials of  any wrongdoing by the star athlete, 49er’s Quarterback Colin Kaepernick on already posted on Twitter (who ever allowed him to write anything about this on the internet is a good subject for another post).

Whether its Kobe Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger, Jameis Winston or now Kaepernick, certain star athletes continue to fail accept two critical aspects of their celebrity status. First, they are targets, big rich ones. Second, they simply cannot make a bad choice with a stranger.  Let’s accept for the moment that Kaepernick is completely innocent of any sexual misconduct.  Given that assumption, he still left himself open to a very bad and unnecessary scene that is his fault.

If the star quarterback did drugs with a woman, he just met, and brought her back to his room, he was playing with fire.  The lesson that must be learned for these young and rich stars is that a bad choice can cost you everything in an instant.  You must respect yourself enough to protect what you have achieved and your future, even if that means hiring a bodyguard to make sure that strangers cannot get to you.  This may be a difficult and unfair way to live but downside alternatives are so much worse.

As crass as it sounds, no matter what happened here, was a potential one night stand worth the resulting police investigation for Kaepernick?  We  know that Kaepernick is looking for a $20 million pay day, the 49er’s want to make sure their QB is around to collect it.

What Happened to the Captains of ARod’s Legal Ship?

Posted in MLB, Uncategorized

So now a Florida federal grand jury may be investigating whether suspended Yankee, Alex Rodriguez, impeded a criminal investigation into his use of  illegal performance enhancing drugs as reported by The New York Daily News.

To its credit, The Daily News has been at the lead of reporting the ARod legal fiasco while other NY sports radio hosts were repeating the nonsense propaganda that we were supposed to believe.  Once again reports have surfaced that ARod is extremely  unhappy with his legal strategy (if you really want to stretch the meaning of that word) and wants deep discounts concerning the millions of dollars he allegedly owes his various lawyers. There have also been suggestions that ARod received advice on legal strategy from a person that runs a popular night club.

The problem is that ARod’s reliance on a night club worker for legal advise should not be story.  Assume, for the moment that’s all true, it doesn’t change a thing.  ARod had a prominent legal team who concocted a bizarre legal strategy that led straight to disaster. At no time did ARod’s celebrated lawyers quit before the ship sank.  In short, a bartender should not have taken control over the legal situation from a member of the bar.

Let’s be clear that there is no proceeding between ARod and his lawyers over a fee dispute.  At this point, we are left to wonder if the client mutiny  (if this is true) should have came before the legal ship hit ran aground.

The NCAA Should Be Impressed by these Northwestern “Student-Athlete-Employees”

Posted in NCAA, NFL, Northwestern, Uncategorized

What if there really are “student-athletes” at the NCAA Division 1 level?  No, really, if it was true?

In what’s been called a “stunning” and “shocking” outcome, the college football players convinced the NLRB that they were employees of Northwestern University and deserve the right to unionize for collective bargaining rights.  Well, how many billion dollar industries, like the NCAA,  do you know of that don’t have employees?  The modern NCAA with its TV contracts, bowl games and March Madness brackets is flush with money while “student-athletes” are told to take their relatively small scholarships and keep the fantasy going.

Now the conventional wisdom is that this NLRB ruling will be appealed to the bitter end and should the players prevail, Northwestern will simply drop football and paint the players as the culprits.  These clever student-athletes have already been branded as “troublemakers”. While protecting the greed of the status quo is the likely choice, it shouldn’t be.  These players are not troublemakers but instead young men wise and brave beyond their years.

The NCAA should a step back and be impressed with how these Northwestern players (in effect) beat them.  Many commentators have noted that the present NCAA system of non-compensation for athletics is grossly unfair.  Some have referred to the NCAA as “dead man walking” without immediate reforms.  This criticism is on the money.

Instead of fighting players to the bitter legal end, the NCAA must institute major common sense reforms.  First, a realistic stipend must be given to Division 1 athletes. I would have no problem if the stipend didn’t kick in until Sophomore year to protect a university from  the “one and done” player.  In addition, all scholarships must good for 10 years.  This will protect athletes who do not make it in the pros or sustain a career ending injury.  Finally, a trust fund must be established to pay players (over time for their protection) for use of their likenesses in video games and other media.

The NCAA and universities need to learn the lessons the Northwestern athlete-employees are trying to teach us all.

So is ARod Mad at His Lawyers?

Posted in MLB, Uncategorized

There have been multiple reports in the NY media, including the NY Daily News, that suspended Yankees’ third basemen, Alex Rodriguez is not paying his lawyers and may owe them about $3 million.  While these reports have been denied, you have to wonder with this pretty awful outcome for ARod and the head scratching strategy used in the litigation whether ARod is steamed at his vast array of lawyers.

The first factor to consider is who was really in charge of the “strategy” to vindicate ARod from PED allegations?  We have learned from ARod’s employment law epic fail that if you’re really going to put the whole “system on trial” its a lot better to actually do that in a courtroom instead of running on to sports talk radio to plead your case.  You probably also need to make sure you have some facts on your side also before you get crushed by an arbitrator’s decision.  It might be me but heading for the exits when its your turn to testify (under oath) may not be the best plan either.

If ARod is angry with his lawyers, the blame bottom-line my rest with who made the final decisions at critical junctures with his cases.  If ARod took it upon himself to flee his own arbitration, he should quickly settle up with his lawyers and look in the mirror.  I understand he likes doing that anyway.

Video Interview: Discussing the Biogenesis scandal with LXBN TV

Posted in MLB

Following up on my recent post on the story, I had the opportunity to speak with Colin O’Keefe of LXBN regarding the recent litigation filed by Major League Baseball against anti-aging clinic Biogensis. In the brief interview, I explain why MLB is suing Biogenesis and what I believe is their ultimate goal.

The MLB Lawsuit Against Biogenesis: The League Wants Paper

Posted in MLB

Last week, Major League Baseball sued the notorious South Florida "health" clinic known as Biogenesis of America. Most civil lawsuits are about one thing and one thing only – money. Soon we will learn that the MLB wants "paper" too, it wants all the documents about Biogenesis’ past clients which may include Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and Gio Gonzalez (and others).

The first thing to understand is Biogenesis is closed and its principal, Anthony Bosch is now reportedly out of the country. This is not what I would call a "target defendant" for a big pay day. But this lawsuit is not about money (at least not yet).

The MLB is claiming that Biogenesis peddled banned substances to players such as testosterone and HGH. The MLB alleged that these drugs caused players to violate their contracts with their teams. Here, the goal is discovery and documents not money (and maybe contract voiding later).

This lawsuit gives the MLB a power is has been craving since the steroid ban came into the game, subpoena power. This lawsuit allows the MLB to collect documents and subpoena individuals for depositions under oath (maybe even players).

The bottom line here is that Biogenesis couldn’t print enough money to have the MLB dismiss this case. The MLB wants this potentially damaging information about players much more.

The Penn State Scandal; Joe Pa’s Family’s Sad Attempt to Strike Back

Posted in NCAA

We understand that Joe Paterno’s wife, Sue Paterno, and his family believe that the former Penn State coach’s legacy was wrongly tarnished by the NCAA and the media. Obviously, they believe Paterno was a good and decent man and was another victim of the convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky.

In support of their beliefs, the Paterno family has released its own investigative report which claims that Joe Paterno was the victim of a "rush to injustice." All you really need to know about the Paterno Family report is there is nothing that Former FBI Director Louis Freeh could have done that would have been good enough for the Paternos.

When you continue to open the Sandusky can of worms, the same disturbing facts reappear. Joe Paterno knew of allegations of child abuse connected to Jerry Sandusky from a 1998 incident. He was also told by Mike McQueary of another incident in 2001. In your life, how many people do you know that have been accused of pedophilia twice in two years? No way. The very premise that the all powerful Coach Paterno could do nothing or was a victim here was and is incredible.

As for a "rush" to "injustice", common sense dictates the opposite conclusion. Fifteen years ago, there was proof that Sandusky was abusing young boys. In 2013, Penn State officials still await trials on their alleged roles in covering up Sandusky’s crimes. I am missing the "rush" here?

Likewise Jerry Sandusky was allowed to abuse boys for over a decade while Paterno and Penn State officials did nothing. Looks like the "injustice" was allowed to flourish for a sickening about time.

Lance Armstrong’s Admissions Are Slap in the Face of Justice

Posted in Cycling

So we know Lance Armstrong lied. According to Lance Armstrong his Tour de France victories were all based on "one big lie" that involved a scheme of blood doping and taking performance enhancing drugs ("PED"s). Armstrong can now take his place among the great sports liars of our time, Bonds, Clemens, McGuire and all the rest in sports. There are so many.

But Armstrong went further then the rest (even Roger Clemens). To preserve his "one big lie" and financial empire, he sued countless people, newspapers and companies who dared to challenge Armstrong with the truth. Armstrong ruined reputations and actually took millions of dollars in awards based on false defamation suits. He hid behind is cancer charity and used it as a shield against his detractors. For Armstrong to accomplish this feat, he had to take his lying to highest level, perjury.

Now, perjury (or lying under oath crimes) can be difficult to prosecute. Just ask the Justice Department in the criminal case against Roger Clemens. Any lie under oath can be potentially explained by not understanding the question posed or answering a "bad question" with a shady answer.

The problem is that the fundamental principle of our justice system is that the oath to tell the truth is sacred. Think about it, if we allow perjury to be accepted and routine then the entire system has no chance. Everyday, people take the oath to tell the truth and testify in criminal and civil cases. We expect the once under oath, a witness will not lie. We believe that truthful testimony is at the heart of our court system.

Given this fact, every prosecutor (state and federal) in every jurisdiction where Armstrong has given testimony under oath has an affirmative responsibility to investigate a perjury charge. Armstrong cannot be allowed to get away with wholesale lying just because prosecutors are busy with bigger issues and cases.

If we cannot trust the system to demand the truth, then justice has been the biggest victim that Armstrong cheated.

Ok, so Lance Armstrong was a really big doper and cheater …

Posted in Cycling

Now, that we all recovered from the shock, the question is what can be done to deter this type of embarrassment and disgrace in the future? Right on cue, the racing organizations, sponsors and corporations that helped create Armstrong are peddling as fast as possible to distance themselves from him. In that vein, the always righteous International Cycling Union has now demanded that Armstrong return the prize money that he won in the Tour De France. The ICU also now intends to investigate itself on whether it helped to cover-up Armstrong’s positive tests. Don’t hold your breath on that one.

But the concept of the return of prize money, by a doper, can also raise a possible proactive solution to the problem. Why should a race winner get the prize money all at once? Given the continuing scandals in cycling (as well as many other sports), why shouldn’t the winner prove that he didn’t dope over time? We all know how cycling works, someone wins a race (see Floyd Landis) and then the whispers and rumors start about drug use. So from now on, why shouldn’t prize money be held for safe period time (like ten years) in an interest bearing account until we have some certainty that the winner actually won? Due to the cheating of too many riders, the public can have no confidence in the outcome of a race.

This type of sacrifice of prize money might restore some lost faith.