Sports Law Roundup – 5/12/2017

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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:

  • NFL draft suit: A man has sued two members of the Tennessee Titans, Tajae Sharpe and Sebastian Tretola, claiming that the players beat him “unconscious” after he argued with the players at Tin Roof, a Nashville bar, about a potential reduction in playing time for Sharpe in light of the Titans’ decision to draft Corey Davis, who plays the same position as Sharpe. The man is seeking at least $500,000 in his civil lawsuit, the filing of which supports my theory that nothing good happens at Tin Roof after midnight.
  • Arena football head injuries: This spring, a former Arena Football League player sued the league, claiming he had “direct evidence” of the league’s intentional refusal to pay expenses related to his concussion-related injuries. He also asserted that evidence of his specific targeting by the league for injury existed. The AFL sought summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff was required to pursue his claims under the applicable state workers’ compensation statute, and the player countered that the evidence of intentional misconduct placed his claims outside the workers’ compensation regime. Yesterday, the court granted the AFL’s motion and dismissed the case against the league. Judge Eldon Fallon, one of the country’s most prominent trial judges, determined that, in order to avoid the workers’ compensation statute, the former player needed to demonstrate that playing football was “substantially certain” to cause a concussion and could not do so: “Though this court acknowledges that it is not uncommon for football players to experience brain injury, such injury is not ‘inevitable’ as is required to meet the exception to the” statute. Judge Fallon also rejected as unsubstantiated the plaintiff’s claim that the AFL intentionally refused to pay medical expenses.

Sports court is in recess.

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Tuesday Afternoon Inside Linebacker

fairleyALDLAND’s weekly football roundup is back, taking a look at all the highs and lows of the latest round of football action.

College Football

Pregame:

  • In anticipation of the LSU-UGA game, a secret-recipe cheesy bean dip was made. So much was made, in fact, that it lasted much longer than the game, although not quite as long as Georgia coach Mark Richt spent kissing his wife following a win over Kentucky.

The games:

  • LSU-Georgia was a thriller. Georgia continues to lose important players to injury, but it doesn’t seem to slow them down. This week, star running back Todd Gurley sprained his ankle in the second quarter, but backup Keith Marshall filled in and had a career day. In the end, the Dwags outgunned the Tigers 44-41 and are in the driver’s seat on the road to the SEC championship game in Atlanta.
  • I also thought Ole Miss-Alabama would be a good game, but it was not. The Rebels limited Alabama’s scoring early, but they were unable to do any scoring of their own, which is an easy-bake recipe for a loss. Ole Miss 0, Alabama 25.     Continue reading

Tuesday Afternoon Inside Linebacker

tail3ALDLAND’s weekly football review returns after an infamous fall wedding weekend. Bear with us as we attempt to piece together the happenings of the last few days.

College Football

Pregame:

  • After the Game of the Century of the Season of the Week last week in College Station, everybody predicted a scheduling letdown this week. Sports predictions have become (always were?) completely useless and devoid of meaning, but once in a while, the wisdom of the crowd gets it right. Throwing out expired food? No, actually. A soft slate of week-four matchups? For the most part, yes.

The games — That 70s Show:

  • Clemson opened the week of play by getting punchy on Thursday night in a closer-than-it-should-have-been win over North Carolina State. So far as I can tell, the Tigers have played only fellow Carolinians to this point in the season. A check of their schedule confirms this, and the trend will continue this weekend. (EDIT: Except for that little game against UGA in week one.) Clemson 26, North Carolina State 14.
  • A number of teams posted gaudy scores and spreads. Since they already had their fun, they’re all getting grouped in this one paragraph. Ohio State 76, FAMU 0. Louisville 72, FIU 0. Miami 77, Savannah State 7. Washington 56, Idaho State 0. Baylor 70, Louisiana-Monroe 7 (that one’s actually a little surprising). Florida State 54, Bethune-Cook 6. Wisconsin 41, Purdue 10. UCLA 59, New Mexico State 13. Texas A&M 42, SMU 13. And others.

Tuesday Afternoon Inside Linebacker

tailALDLAND’s weekly football roundup is back following week three of college football and week two of the NFL.

College Football

Pregame:

  • I caught snippets of ESPN College Gameday and Fox Sports 1’s college football pregame shows. Gameday remains the leader of the pack, but I’d like more time to see how FS1’s show develops. In the meantime, I’ll join FS1’s Joel Klatt in sending good wishes to the folks in Colorado dealing with major flooding right now.

The games — excitement building:

  • With a couple East Carolina fans in town, we watched the Pirates hang with Virginia Tech for about three quarters. The Hokies did all they could, including badly missing a bunch of close kicks, to hand ECU the game. Frank Beamer looked like he wanted to puke, but his team managed to hold it together in the end. Virginia Tech 15, East Carolina 10.
  • We were flipping between that game and UCLA-Nebraska. When I first checked in on this one, Nebraska had a 21-3 lead, and it looked like the best early game of the day would not materialize into a competitive affair. That turned out to be sort of true, but not in the way I expected. UCLA scored thirty-eight unanswered points to beat the now-mythological blackshirt defense in Lincoln 41-21.
  • The game of the day belonged to Alabama and Texas A&M, and it lived up to the hype. Johnny Manziel and the Aggies started very hot, jumping out to a 14-0 lead and choking the Tide’s early drives. A&M scored touchdowns on its first two drives, which averaged 71.5 yards and 2:06 off the clock. Alabama responded, though, methodically amassing thirty-five temporarily unanswered points and carried a 42-21 lead into the fourth quarter. The Aggie defense had yielded to The System, but Manziel wasn’t through, although twenty-one fourth-quarter points wouldn’t be enough to top Alabama. The Crimson Tide remain undefeated, winning 49-42, but Manziel unequivocally proved that he is must-see football every time he plays, and his cohort, receiver Mike Evans, deserves some credit too.     Continue reading

Tuesday Afternoon Inside Linebacker

tailSince “Monday Morning Quarterback” and “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” are taken and uninspired, and because I’m preempting my own exhaustion of “Monday“-themed alliterations, ALDLAND’s regular football/weekend roundup will move to Tuesday afternoons, which also permits incorporation of the Monday night NFL game. With week two of college football and week one of the NFL in the books, here goes:

College Football

Pregame:

  • Brendan and Physguy were in Ann Arbor for ESPN College Gameday, and the only evidence is a couple cryptic tweets from Brendan.

The games — No surprises:

  • I was able to find Michigan State’s game against South Florida on television in the Southeast, which may be thanks to USF’s participation in the game, but which also felt like finding a unicorn in the wild. MSU’s defense continues to outscore their offense, and that’s with three quarterbacks! Even Sparta only ever had two kings at once. Michigan State 21, South Florida 6.
  • I also found Vanderbilt-Austin Peay on TV, which is a reminder that it’s week two for the broadcasters as well. VU had no problem with its Middle Tennessee neighbors, winning 38-3.

Mark 2011 as the year the Lord took on NFL player contracts

It is said that the Lord works in mysterious ways, but this summer, He has been stepping out a bit more, seemingly bearing a new cross for those who praise Him. The Almighty has tackled public works projects before– the Great Flood, liberation of his people from bondage in Egypt, urban renewal in cities like Sodom and Gomorrah, descending to Earth in human form, etc.– but this campaign feels different, perhaps because of its apparently limited, if no less public, scope. Mark 2011 as the year the Ancient of Days took on high-profile NFL player contracts.

Yahweh’s first target was in the Arizona desert, where He helped Larry Fitzgerald secure an eight-year, $120 million deal with the Cardinals. After Fitzgerald’s new contract became public, Chris Johnson, holdout running back for the Tennessee Titans, praised the Everlasting Father for His accomplishment: “Congrats to Larry Fitzgerald. God is good.” Indeed.

Luke, the Gospel writer, tells us that there is more rejoicing in Heaven when one sinner repents than there is for ninety-nine other righteous people who need not repent, and so it should come as no surprise that the Wonderful Counselor would take the case of the once-disgraced, now-redeemed Michael Vick (f.k.a. Ron Mexico). Just this week in the City of Brotherly Love, Vick signed what his head coach called “a beautiful contract,” which may or may not be worth $100 million. In response, Vick said, “I want to thank God for the opportunity that I’ve been presented.” And so we can assume he did.

Numerically, if there’s a digit more biblically favored than four or seven, it would have to be three, and so we should expect Elohim to be involved in at least one more blockbuster deal before the season starts next week, and the smart talents are on Johnson himself. Johnson believes the Titans should compensate him on a scale comparable to the highest-paid players in the league, and not merely as the highest-paid at his position as the team has offered to do. On Wednesday, Johnson said, “I like to thank everyone who have me in their prayers thru my situation, it’s much needed.” It just might be.

Can the Holy Spirit reach this man on behalf of Chris Johnson?

The Weekend Interview: Chris Johnson

After heading north of the border for last week’s interview, it only seemed right to turn things around and seek some warmer weather and talk to a current– if temporarily, but willfully inactive– player named Chris: Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson.

Arguably the league’s fastest and best running back since the Titans drafted him out of East Carolina University prior to the 2008 season, Johnson currently is holding out from this year’s lockout-compressed training camp in the hopes of securing something around $30 million in guaranteed money.

This isn’t CJ’s first contract dispute either. 2009 was a record-setting year for him (2,006 rushing yards, 2,509 total yards, 14 touchdowns, 5.6 yards/carry), and he demanded a restructured contract before the 2010 season, and the Titans ultimately gave in. Johnson’s prediction that he would shatter Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record (2,105 yards) by rushing for 2,500 yards in 2010. Instead, he had 1,364 yards on the ground (1,609 total), well short of the record and his personal goal, though still good numbers.

For this imagined interview, I agreed to meet Johnson for lunch at McDougal’s in Nashville…  Keep reading…