Ex-Softball Coach Sues FDU; Alleges Termination Based on Bisexuality

On November 7, 2016, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s (FDU) former softball coach, Katherine Kelley, sued the university in New Jersey state court for alleged discrimination against her for being bisexual, and that she was fired for speaking out against bullies on the team. Kelley is seeking compensatory damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress for the university’s actions against her, and alleged FDU violated New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act and Law Against Discrimination, as well as breached her employment contract. Kelley also claimed FDU did not follow its own policies and procedures for harassment and discrimination complaints. Kelley alleged that the issues that eventually led to her termination began shortly after she became the Division I softball coach in November 2015. She stated FDU employees clearly perceived her as bisexual ...
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Eight People Indicted in NCAA Bribery Scandal

A series of indictments unsealed on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 reveal more of the iceberg of the dark underbelly of college basketball. The scandal was publicized in September when ten individuals were arrested. The new indictments named Adidas executive Jim Gatto, sports agent Christian Dawkins, Auburn University associate head coach Chuck Person, Oklahoma State University assistant coach Lamont Evans, University of Arizona assistant coach Emanuel Richardson, University of Southern California assistant coach Anthony Bland, former Adidas adviser Merl Code and former NCAA referee Rashan Michel. The University of Louisville had already effectively fired Rick Pitino at the end of September after he was charged in the scandal. Pitino was the nation’s highest paid college basketball coach. One indictment alleges that Dawkins asked Pitino to call Gatto and ask Adidas to ...
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Al Jazeera America Argues MLB Players Must Subpoena Reporter in Libel Suit

On November 6, 2017, Al Jazeera America LLC moved that it does not need to provide documents in response to the MLB players’ motion to compel the company to give information an undercover reporter gathered in 2015. The move is the latest in the libel case filed by MLB players Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard in January 2016 that alleged Al Jazeera America recklessly published the 2015 documentary “The Dark Side” and an accompanying article, and damaged their reputations. The documentary revealed the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, which led to several sports leagues conducting investigations, including the MLB. Specifically, the documentary portrayed pharmacist Charles Sly claiming Zimmerman and Howard, amongst others, had ordered shipments of performance-enhancing drugs. Sly recanted his claim since the documentary was released, and both ...
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WWE Asserts Wrestler Admitted to Attorney Solicitation in Podcast

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) made another move on November 6, 2017, to further its allegations that attorney Matthew Peterson solicited Marcus “Buff” Bagwell and Scott “Raven” Levy to file suit against WWE for royalties. WWE made a motion to compel phone call records and information that was allegedly improperly redacted from the phone records previously given to WWE in discovery. WWE focused on an interview Bagwell had last year on the podcast “Pancakes and Powerslams” where he stated he would not have sued WWE if Peterson had not called him and asked him to look into his contract. The interview also is alleged to contradict Bagwell’s answers on how he and Levy became plaintiffs in the suit for royalties connected to the WWE Network on-demand streaming service. Specifically, in ...
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Three UCLA Basketball Players Arrested in China

Three UCLA men’s basketball players were arrested Tuesday, November 7th in Hangzhou, China for allegedly shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel. Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill were kept for a number of hours at a police station and questioned, but treated “with the utmost respect,” and were released on bail around 4 a.m. on Wednesday. Ball is the younger brother of NBA rookie Lonzo Ball of the L.A. Lakers, and the son of LaVar Ball, the CEO of athletic apparel maker Big Baller Brand. Three Georgia Tech players were also questioned, but were later released after authorities determined they were not involved. The players are confined to their hotel until the legal process is over. The players could be detained for ...
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Student-Athletes Square Up Against Lone Objector to Attorneys Fee Award in $209 Million NCAA Settlement

The fight over legal fees from the second-largest class-action settlement in NCAA history continues. One sole student-athlete objected to the $41 million attorneys’ fee award, which is 20 percent of the $208.7 million settlement. NCAA Division I football player, Darrin Duncan, called the fee award unfair and wanted to apply to the “mega fund rule,” which decreases fee awards as the settlement total increases. Plaintiffs’ class counsel had argued back in September that the fee request was reasonable considering the Ninth Circuit’s 25 percent fee benchmark, the risk the lawyers took in not receiving any compensation, and the enormous amount of work that went into the litigation. Counsel for the class filed a response to Duncan’s objection on November 3, 2017, calling the objection “absurd” and pointing out “the fact ...
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Ex-Wrestlers Try Again at WWE Head Trauma Suit

On November 3, 2017, former World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) wrestlers filed an amended complaint for their concussion suit against WWE. The amended complaint is in response to a Connecticut federal judge allowing the wrestlers last month to file more succinct pleadings, despite stating she was more inclined to side with WWE. The case goes back to 2015 when WWE faced several lawsuits that alleged WWE concealed long-term health risks of repeated blows to the head and increased that danger by misleading injured wrestlers into performing. Six cases brought by wrestlers were consolidated in Connecticut, with the Laurinaitis case as the most recent addition in September 2016. The ex-wrestlers alleged that WWE routinely failed to care for their repetitive head injuries in any medically competent way throughout their careers. Further ...
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Ezekiel Elliott Gets Hail Mary; Set to Play on Sunday

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals granted the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) emergency motion for a temporary order blocking Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension. The order blocks the six-game suspension for domestic violence that Elliott has faced all season and will allow Elliott to play in Sunday’s (November 5, 2017) game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Second Circuit Judge granted Elliott’s request to stay his suspension and the issue will be referred to the next available three-judge panel to expedite the appeal process. The National Football League Management Council claimed there was nothing unfair about the original arbitration decision and that blocking the suspension could lead to issues in enforceability of the collective bargaining agreement. In its motion for the temporary order blocking the suspension, the NFLPA argued, “[a]bsent expedited relief from ...
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NCAA Dribbles the Idea of Fundamental Internal Change

NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics on October 30, 2017 and asserted that major changes are needed in college basketball to demonstrate to the public that the NCAA can properly run the sport. “We cannot go to the next basketball season without seeing fundamental change in the way college basketball is operated,” Emmert said. “The public doesn’t have sufficient confidence in any of us in terms of our ability to resolve these issues.” Emmert cited to a recent NCAA-commissioned poll, which found widespread distrust in both the NCAA and its schools, with 79 percent of Americans agreeing with the statement that major colleges put money ahead of the interests of their athletes. His comments come in the wake of a bribery scandal that ensnared ...
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NFLPA Fumbles Emergency Stay of Ezekiel Elliott’s Suspension; Appeals to Second Circuit

In yet another move to try to delay Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension, the NFL Players Association made an emergency motion seeking a temporary order blocking the suspension. The motion came less than a day after U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla, on October 30th, had denied the NFLPA’s motion for a preliminary injunction to block the suspension while the appeals process continues. Judge Failla quickly denied the request, saying it would “in effect … reverse [her] decision of [Monday] evening denying the NFLPA’s motion for injunctive relief.” Judge Failla wrote she was “surprised” by the motion, as she had explicitly provided a 24-hour stay in her Monday Order to give the parties the chance to appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. She refused to question her ...
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