Sports Law Roundup – 9/8/2017

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I used to write the sports technology roundup at TechGraphs, an internet website that died, and now I am writing the sports law roundup at ALDLAND, an internet website.

Here are the top sports-related legal stories from the past week:

  • Athlete advisor fraud: In February, Brian J. Ourand, who worked as a financial advisor to athletes, including Mike Tyson and Glen Rice, admitted stealing over $1 million from his clients and pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges. On Wednesday, a federal trial judge sentenced Ourand to thirty-three months in prison, less than the thirty-seven months federal prosecutors requested, but more than the year (plus some home confinement) Ourand sought.
  • Radio host ticket fraud: Earlier on Wednesday, FBI agents arrested Craig Carton, who cohosts WFAN’s (New York City) morning sports talk program with former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, on fraud charges based on allegations that Carton was operating an event-ticket scam. According to federal prosecutors, Carton induced investors to fund a concert ticket resale venture by claiming that he had special access to purchase the tickets when, in fact, he did not. Carton and an associate instead used the investors’ money for themselves, including to repay casino debts and some initial investors in a Ponzi-style arrangement.
  • Rockets sold: Tilman Fertitta bought the Houston Rockets on Tuesday for $2.2 billion. Fertitta, a Houstonian, is the owner of Landry’s, Inc., a corporation that owns restaurants and other commercial properties including Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, the Golden Nugget casino, and multiple aquariums in Texas, Colorado, and Tennessee, among many other things. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer set the previous record for the purchase price of an NBA franchise when he bought the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion.
  • NFL sanction standards: In light of the ongoing Ezekiel Elliot saga, PFT’s Mike Florio (who, people forget, is a lawyer) penned an essay on the NFL’s low standard of proof used in determining violations of its personal conduct policy, which concludes: “As long as the league has the power to impose discipline based on the very lowest legal standard of proof, any player who finds himself under scrutiny had better be able to show that there is no credible evidence of any kind that could be viewed in any way as suggesting that he has any responsibility for anything that happened.”

Sports court is in recess.

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Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension appeal reveals important information about NFLPA lawyer

The material facts in this matter are undisputed, and those facts are these:

  1. On August 11, 2017, the NFL suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot for six games due to a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. The specific basis of the suspension was “persuasive” evidence of Elliot’s physical abuse of a former girlfriend on at least three occasions in July 2016.
  2. Elliot has not been charged with a crime in connection with any alleged abuse of his former girlfriend.
  3. On August 15, Elliot appealed the suspension.
  4. On August 31, Elliot joined the NFLPA in suing the NFL, seeking a court order rejecting an anticipated adverse ruling on his suspension appeal and a temporary restraining order preventing the league from imposing the suspension.
  5. On September 5, Harold Henderson, a former NFL executive serving as the league’s appointed arbitrator, denied Elliot’s appeal.

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