Joseph M. Hanna

Joseph M. Hanna is the founder and chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Practice Group and editor of the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog. With a national practice and industry-wide reputation for leadership, Joe is consistently ranked among the top 10 attorneys based in Western New York in Business First’s annual Legal Elite, and in 2015, Joe was the youngest honoree ever to be named Lawyer of the Year in the Bar Association of Erie County’s 130-year history. He was named a Rising Star by Law360 in 2014 and is also a member of the Mediator Panel for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.

All articles by Joseph M. Hanna

 

California NCAA Athletes Inch Closer to Earning Compensation

As previously reported, a California bill that would allow student-athletes to be paid for their likenesses has cleared yet another legal hurdle. The closely followed bill would allow college athletes to enjoy the capital gained from their name, images, and likeness. Under current NCAA rules, student-athletes are not permitted to accept payment for, or permit, “the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend, or promote” the commercial sale of goods, or use their likeness to promote a service or product.…  

NFHS Argues Paying Student-Athletes Will Erode School Spirit at All Levels

On August 23, 2019, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) asked the Ninth Circuit to grant leave and allow it to file an amicus curiae brief (non-party brief) in the Alston v. NCAA case. As we have previously reported, this case was brought by a class of college athletes in the wake of the O’Bannon decision, where a court held that NCAA rules prohibiting college athletes’ abilities to profit from their likenesses were anti-competitive. O’Bannon held that compensation for college…  

Ex-Penn State Doctor Alleges Football Coach Pressured Him to Clear Injured Players

A former Penn State football team doctor filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court on August 23, 2019,  alleging that the school’s football coach, James Franklin, pressured the doctor into clearing injured players and allowing them to return to the field. Allegedly, Dr. Scott A. Lynch reported Coach Franklin’s actions to various Penn State department heads. It was after he reported those actions, though, that Dr. Lynch was removed from two positions in Penn State’s athletic department in March 2019. In his lawsuit, Lynch is…  

Junior College Sued Over Controversial “Oklahoma Drill”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on August 20, 2019, that Lackawanna Junior College had assumed a duty to care for the well-being of two of the school’s football players, Augustus Feleccia and Justin Resch. On March 29, 2010, Feleccia and Resch were injured while participating in an Oklahoma Drill during the team’s football practice. An Oklahoma Drill has several variations, but it commonly involves two players lined up three yards opposite one another. At the sound of the whistle, the players run at one…  

Former NFL Player Moves to Stay Third Circuit Appeal

On August 2, 2019, Amon Gordon, a 37-year-old former NFL defensive end, asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to stay his appeal to the Third Circuit in order to give himself a chance to file a Rule 60 Motion against Judge Anita B. Brody’s August 2019 ruling. As we have previously reported, Gordon moved to appeal to the Third Circuit in his legal battle against the NFL for not alerting its players of the long-term medical impact of concussions.…  

Mr. T Sues Popular Marijuana Website

On August 22, 2019, Laurence Tureaud, most commonly known as Mr. T, sued Leafly, a digital cannabis company. In his lawsuit, Mr. T claimed that Leafly, the largest cannabis website in the world for people in legal cannabis markets, infringed on his trademark rights by abbreviating one of their product names, called Mr. Tusk, to “Mrt.” Mr. T became famous in the 1980s for his roles in the “The A-Team” and “Rocky III.” According to Mr. T, the abbreviation of Mr. Tusk to “Mrt”…  

Ninth Circuit Rejects Lamar Dawson’s Bid to Revive Lawsuit

On August 12, 2019, a panel of Ninth Circuit judges rejected Lamar Dawson’s bid to revive a proposed class action lawsuit, which claimed that the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference improperly denied student-athletes minimum wage and overtime. In their ruling, the panel noted that the Pac-12 and NCAA did not provide Dawson, a former University of Southern California linebacker, with a scholarship or have the power to hire or fire him and, thus, they were not his employer, nor was he their employee. According to Chief…  

Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets Have New Owner

On August 16, 2019, it was announced that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to sell the Barclays Center and his controlling stake in the Brooklyn Nets to Joe Tsai, co-founder and Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group. The deal was reportedly worth $3.5 billion. It was long anticipated that Tsai, one of the world’s 150 richest people, would purchase the Nets as he already owned 49 percent of the franchise. The change in ownership continues what has been an already transformational summer for the Nets. The…  

NFL Running Backs Could Break from Players’ Union

On August 9, 2019, a group called the International Brotherhood of Professional Running Backs (IBPRB) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking that NFL running backs be severed from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and formed into a new union. According to the IBPRB, NFL running backs “have unique career structures; and the current one-size fits all [approach to players contracts] is inappropriate.” The petition looms over the ongoing talks between the NFLPA and the NFL over a new collective bargaining…  

The Historical Significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin

On January 17, 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin. Historically, the court has often strayed from sports-related disputes, although there are some landmark cases which were exceptions and shaped the national landscape of sports. However, the dispute in Martin spanned greatly beyond a mere sports-related dispute. The issue was simple: does using a golf cart fundamentally alter a tournament? However, the larger legal question was whether the American Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) supersedes the rules of…  

NCAA $75 Million Settlement Gets Final Approval with $14 Million in Fees

On August 12, 2019, U.S. District Judge John Lee granted final approval to a $75 million settlement and awarded more than $14 million in attorney fees. As we have continued to report, the suit began in 2011 when former Eastern Illinois football player, Adrian Arrington, and three others, sued the NCAA because they suffered from seizures, which were a byproduct of repeated head trauma. Of the $75 million settlement initially approved by Judge Lee in July 2017, $70 million of the settlement will go…  

The “Greek Freak” Freaks over Trademark Infringement

Giannis Antetokounmpo, a member of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, recently filed a lawsuit against Viral Style LLC, a clothing company. According to Antetokounmpo, Viral used the trademarks “Greek Freak” and “Greek Fr34K” without Antetokounmpo’s permission. Antetokounmpo earned the nickname “Greek Freak” and later trademarked the name and an accompanying image related to his nationality, skill, and household notoriety. The nearly seven-foot-tall Bucks star claims Viral infringed on and counterfeited his trademarks by “designing, selling and distributing various products, including tees, hoodies and T-shirts, under the…  

Judge Recuses Himself from TCPA Lawsuit Against Tampa Bay Rays

After consulting with an ethics opinion, Florida U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli recused himself from a proposed class action lawsuit, which accuses the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending spam text messages. According to the order, Judge Porcelli stated that he “. . . find[s] it appropriate to recuse myself from these proceedings, as my impartiality might be reasonably questioned.” Specifically, Judge Porcelli admittedly communicated with several members of the Rays organization when he was…  

Former NFL Defensive End Appeals to Third Circuit in Concussion Lawsuit

Amon Gordon, a 37-year-old former NFL defensive end, appealed to the Third Circuit in his legal battle against the NFL for not alerting its players of the long-term medical impact of concussions. Specifically, Gordon played eight seasons in the NFL and is fighting for his entitlement to a 2015 uncapped settlement of roughly 20,000 players to awards of up to $5 million, depending on the age and severity of their football-related injuries, according to Law360. There is a belief among the legal community that…  

Raiders Prevail in Lawsuit Against City of Oakland

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero granted the Oakland Raiders, the NFL, and 31 other NFL teams their motion to dismiss a lawsuit from the City of Oakland on Thursday. In a 30-page order, Judge Spero found that a city cannot recover damages based on tax revenue from the “broad scope of economic activity associated with the presence of a professional football team.” The Raiders previously claimed the City of Oakland could “lose significant tax and other income” associated with the Raiders’ pending move…  

Detroit Pistons and NBA Settle Lawsuit Over Player’s Death

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Detroit Pistons organization have agreed to an undisclosed settlement with Gene Upshaw, the mother of Zeke Upshaw, after her son suffered a heart attack on the court during a G-League basketball game with the Pistons’ affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive. He died days later at a local hospital. Upshaw subsequently filed a lawsuit on behalf of her son against the Detroit Pistons organization, the NBA, DeltaPlex Arena, and the co-owner of the Drive, SSJ Group LLC. The lawsuit…  

“NBA Last 90” Foreshadows the Potentially Lucrative Intersection of eSports and Sports Betting

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has, in many ways, led the way in navigating both the legal logistics of legalized sports betting and the growing industry of eSports, a recently popular form of competition using video games. The recent release of the first-ever NBA virtual sports betting game, NBA Last 90, conceivably foreshadows the future of how two of the most potentially lucrative sports-related industries could intertwine in a meaningful and profitable manner. Since the 2018 Supreme Court decision of Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic  

ADA Lawsuits Regarding Sightlines Could Lead to Expensive MLB Stadium Renovations

Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations and their stadiums are facing expensive potential renovations to adhere to The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)  guidelines following numerous lawsuits. This includes a lawsuit filed on behalf of four disabled Seattle Mariners fans in 2018 along with separate lawsuits against the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs. The ADA requires qualified employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations. The lawsuits allege that some MLB stadiums fail to comply…  

The Collective Bargaining Agreement: The Financial and Logistical Guide to the Modern NBA

National Basketball Association (NBA) fans have been glued to their phones lately wondering which players will sign where. The start of the NBA free agency period has become somewhat of a sports holiday when players announce their new (or same) destinations. Teams often resort to buying billboards, hiring celebrities, and even offering players free food for life to convince these free agents to sign with them. The contract and monetary amounts for players can be staggering. Players are accumulating generational wealth and are constantly…  

Defunct AAF Chairman Argues Lack of Personal Jurisdiction in Contract Breach Lawsuit

Thomas Dundon, the former chairman of the Alliance of American Football (AAF), filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction on July 1, 2019 in a California Federal Court. The initial claim alleges that Dundon, who is the now-defunct league’s primary financial backer, “tanked” the AAF mid-season despite committing to fund the league throughout the year, according to Law360. Rule 12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure asserts that “[e]very defense to a claim for relief in any pleading must be…  

Former College Basketball Players Sue Fortnite Creators for Use of “Running Man” Dance

Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens, former college basketball players for the University of Maryland Terrapins, are suing Epic Games, along with game creators, over the use of the “Running Man” dance in the popular video game, Fortnite. In this game, players can unlock this Running Man dance for $5 to use for their own characters. The Running Man dance became popular on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2016 when Brantley and Nickens appeared on the show to perform the dance. According to the Baltimore  

Texas Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Former Cowboys’ Linebacker Robert Jones’ TMZ Libel Suit

The Texas Supreme Court agreed on Friday to review whether a lower court was correct in allowing former Dallas Cowboys’ linebacker Robert Jones to sue TMZ and Warner Brothers for a story claiming he allegedly attempted to hire a hitman to kill his agent, Jordan Woy. The initial story, released on the sports section of TMZ.com on June 18, 2014, stated that a 47-year-old man named Theodore Watson told police that Jones approached him and tried to hire him to kill his agent. Watson then…  

Widow of Victim Locked in Cooler at Sun Trust Park Sues Atlanta Braves

Angela Keeling, the widow of Marvin “Todd” Keeling, has sued the Atlanta Braves, as well as more than a dozen other companies that provide services at SunTrust Park, for his death after being locked inside a stadium cooler. The complaint states that the Braves knew the cooler door release mechanism was “faulty . . . improperly constructed, assembled, maintained, and allowed to exist despite notice . . .” but never fixed it. On June 26, 2018, Keeling was an “invitee servicing and finalizing the installation…  

Rams to Pay $7.2 Million in Attorney Fees in Class Action Lawsuit by St. Louis Fans

A federal judge approved a settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit brought by football fans who bought personal seat licenses for St. Louis Rams home games before the team was moved to Los Angeles in January 2016. U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., a Missouri federal judge, granted the plaintiffs $7.2 million in attorney fees after approving two $3.6 million awards. Each of these awards are to be paid by the St. Louis Rams LLC to counsel. Judge Limbaugh also released an order…  

Former Rice College Football Player Charged in Death of Teammate

Texas federal prosecutors in Houston indicted a former Rice University football player, Stuart “Mooch” Mouchantaf, for possessing and distributing a potent opioid, carfentanil, to his teammate, Blain Padgett, who died of an overdose in March 2018. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas took Mouchantaf into custody, following a three-count federal grand jury indictment on Wednesday. Padgett was a Rice University football player who, according to the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, died on March 2, 2018 in his sleep due…  

NCAA Referee Appeals Dismissal of Death Threats Lawsuit

NCAA referee John Higgins asked the Sixth Circuit to accept his case against a Kentucky radio station, as well as two of its hosts, in a brief filed on Monday. Higgins alleges that the hosts deliberately incited fans to attack his roofing business and send him death threats following a March 26, 2017 NCAA tournament game between the University of Kentucky Wildcats and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in which the Wildcats lost, 75-73, ending their season. According to the lawsuit,…  

NBC and Carrie Underwood Face Lawsuit Over NFL Sunday Night Football Theme Song

The common phrase among NFL fans of wanting to make it home “before Carrie” comes on might be in jeopardy now that Carrie Underwood and NBCUniversal Media are facing a copyright lawsuit by songwriter Heidi Merill. Merrill claims she pitched her song “Game On” to Underwood’s producer, Mark Bright, in 2017 at a conference, where he suggested she should submit the song to his office. After submitting the song, his office responded to her with an email telling her that they were “going to pass”…  

Adidas Falls Short in Protecting Trademark Registration of “Three-Stripe Mark” in EU Court

Adidas AG fell short in its efforts to protect broader trademark rights to its three-stripe mark, as the European Union ruled the design was not distinctive enough for protection. This decision invalidated its 2014 trademark registration on “three parallel equidistant stripes of identical width” which are applied on products “in any discretion.” “Adidas does not prove that that mark has acquired, throughout the territory of the EU, distinctive character following the use which had been made of it,” the court wrote in its decision summary 

Somerville Mayor Sues Barstool Sports, Kirk Minihane for Lying to Conduct Interview

Joseph Curtatone, mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts, filed a lawsuit against Massachusetts-based sports media company, Barstool Sports (Barstool), as well as Kirk Minihane, a podcaster who Barstool recently hired. The lawsuit alleges that Barstool and Minihane violated Massachusetts’ wiretap statute by recording an interview with the mayor via “fraud,” according to the complaint filed on June 17, 2019. Mayor Curtatone announced the lawsuit himself via Twitter. In the video recording, which Barstool posted on its website and two of its social media platforms, Minihane pretended…  

D.C. Circuit Opinion Rules That Lacrosse Officials in Pennsylvania Are Independent Contractors

The D.C. Circuit ruled on June 14, 2019, that lacrosse officials working for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) are independent contractors and not employees. This ruling deems the officials ineligible to organize under the National Labor Relations Act, according to an opinion filed by Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith last Friday. Despite the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) agreeing to declare the workers “employees” under their own standards, a three-judge D.C. Circuit panel determined that the NLRB did not account for the infrequency…  

Stephen Curry’s “Holey Moley” Faces Trademark Complaint in California Court

Fun Lab IP Co. Pty. Ltd. filed a trademark complaint in California federal court against Los Angeles-based Eureka Productions, claiming that the title of Eureka’s upcoming ABC game-show, Holey Moley, infringes on a popular Australian mini-golf chain of the same name. The show, which is hosted by two-time NBA Finals MVP and executive producer, Stephen Curry, and is advertised as a competitive mini-golf competition, will involve head-to-head matches between 12 contestants. Each episode, contestants will compete for a $25,000 prize on what an  

NFL Insurers Seek to Avoid Reimbursing the NFL for Concussion Settlement Due to Missing Discovery

Insurers for the National Football League (NFL) petitioned a New York state court judge on June 14, 2019, demanding “underlying documents” from the NFL’s litigation and settlement in the class-action lawsuit involving over 1,000 former professional football players and their families regarding concussions and chronic brain trauma. The insurers are seeking to escape reimbursing the NFL, which could prompt further litigation. In oral arguments, a coalition of 28 insurers claimed that the NFL did not produce adequate discovery during litigation after its concussion settlement  

Bills to Permit Sports Wagers at NYC Arenas Being Discussed

Legislation is on the New York Assembly floor that would allow betting at sporting venues like Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and The Barclays Center. Assembly Bill A06113 was amended on June 6, 2019 to allow a sports stadium or arena in a county without a horse track or casino to offer sports betting. The bill is sponsored by Gary Pretlow, the chairman of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee. The amendment would revise Bill S 17, which dealt with mobile sports gambling,…  

Former Michigan State Dean Found Guilty of Misconduct and Willful Neglect of Duty in Nassar Case

Former Michigan State University Dean William Strampel was found guilty on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 of misconduct in office and two counts of willful neglect of duty. This conviction derives from Strampel’s failure to oversee convicted serial molester Larry Nassar as an orthopedic physician at Michigan State University. The charges come from Michigan Special Prosecutor William Forsyth’s investigation into Nassar abusing over 200 young girls and women over the span of multiple decades. Nassar pled guilty to charges of criminal sexual conduct and child…  

Plaintiffs File Lawsuit Against Seattle Mariners and Ballpark for Allegedly Providing Inadequate Accommodations for Those With Disabilities

A nonprofit disabilities-rights law firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of four disabled Seattle Mariners fans in October 2018 against the Mariners and the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District, which owns the team’s ballpark, T-Mobile Park. The four plaintiffs claim that the ballpark violated state and federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 (ADA). These plaintiffs are Washington residents who claim they encountered issues with seating, food service, or access to certain parts of the stadium and endured…  

New York Gaming Commission Approves Rules for Licensing and Operating Sports Wagering Facilities

The New York Gaming Commission (Commission) unanimously approved rules for licensing and operating sports wagering facilities across upstate New York on Monday, June 11. This is a major step toward the allowance of sports betting in New York, which is now the fourteenth state to legalize some form of sports betting following the May 2018 Supreme Court ruling that struck a law federally banning sports betting in the United States. Legal experts estimate that New York sports books will be fully operational by the beginning  

Judge Sentences Former Arizona Basketball Coach to Three Months for His Role in Bribery Conspiracy

Former University of Arizona basketball assistant coach Emanuel Richardson was sentenced to three months in prison on a bribery charge on June 6, 2019. Richardson, who was with the team from 2010-2016, pleaded guilty in January to charges that he accepted $20,000 in bribes to influence certain Arizona players to hire agent Christian Dawkins. Richardson was one of several people caught on wiretaps involving Dawkins. Richardson’s sentencing came just one day after Tony Bland, a former assistant coach for the University of South Carolina,…  

AP Photographers Moving Closer to the End Zone as a Deal in Their Copyright Battle is Close

The National Football League (NFL) appears to be close to finalizing a settlement with a number of Associated Press (AP) photographers regarding an ongoing dispute stemming from royalty payments. Counsel notified U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty on June 3, 2019 that the parties are in the process of finalizing a confidential settlement agreement. According to the letter, a motion to dismiss is expected within the next 45 days. The suit, brought by Paul Spinelli and six other photographers, alleged that the NFL exploited thousands…  

Evans Sentenced to Three Months for Bribes

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos sentenced former South Carolina and Oklahoma State assistant men’s basketball coach Lamont Evans to three months in prison on June 7, 2019. Evans has been charged with accepting bribes to direct players to a government informant whom he thought was a financial adviser. Last week, Judge Ramos also sentenced former University of Southern California coach Tony Bland with two years’ probation, while former Arizona coach Emanuel Richardson received three months in prison. In January, Evans pled guilty to accepting $22,000…  

Former USC Basketball Coach to Serve No Prison Time for NCAA Bribery

The U.S. District Court ruled on June 5, 2019 that ex-University of Southern California assistant basketball coach Anthony “Tony” Bland will not be serving prison time for his involvement in the NCAA bribery scheme. Instead, the former coach will serve two years of probation and will forfeit the $4,100 sum he accepted as a bribe back in July 2017. Bland pled guilty to taking bribes from various financial advisors and business managers to influence young athletes to retain their services  He originally faced six months…  

School Found Not at Fault for Cheerleader’s Head Injuries

A California appeals court has rejected Shelbie Stevens, a former Azusa Pacific University cheerleader, in an attempt to revive her suit for negligence against the university and her former coach, Rosie Francis. Stevens suffered three head injuries from participating in the sport that she claims have caused neurological issues. A three-judge panel consisting of Judges Jeffrey W. Johnson, Helen I. Bendix, and Superior Court Judge Gregory J. Weingart disagreed with Stevens on May 29, 2019. The California appeals court determined that Stevens assumed the risk…  

Three Former UCLA Football Players Sue for Injuries

Three former UCLA football players are suing the school for injuries they suffered while playing under head coach Jim Mora. John Lopez, Poasi Moala, and Zach Bateman are seeking in excess of $15 million in damages from the mishandling of their injuries. All three lawsuits, filed June 5, 2019 in Los Angeles Superior Court, name Mora, former offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, associate trainer Anthony Venute, and the university in their suit. Lopez and Moala each name the NCAA in their suit as well. The…  

UFC Fighter Wins 27.5 Million in Lawsuit over Tainted Supplement

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Yoel Romero (Romero) has won $27.45 million in damages after New Jersey Superior Court Judge Carlia Brady entered a default judgment for him against Gold Star Performance Products (Gold Star). The lawsuit stems from a failed drug test by Romero in 2015 for the banned substance, Ibutamoren. This led to a six-month suspension from the UFC by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Throughout the process, Romero has maintained that the New Jersey-based supplement company misrepresented ingredients of its Shred RX…  

Judge Rules that Documentary’s Use of “Super Bowl Shuffle” Didn’t Violate Copyright

The U.S. District Court ruled on May 30, 2019 that a documentary’s feature of the “Super Bowl Shuffle” song in its film did not violate the song’s copyright. The fan-favorite rap song, performed by Walter Payton and other Chicago Bears players, was originally made famous in 1985, when the Bears won Super Bowl XX. Snippets of the song were used in the documentary “85: The Greatest Team in Football History,” a 2016 film by Scott Prestin celebrating the Chicago Bears’ championship season. The lawsuit was…  

NCAA Athletes Move Closer to Receiving Pay from Their Names, Images, and Likeness

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, the California Senate voted (31-4) to pass the Fair Pay to Play Act to allow college athletes in the state to earn income from endorsements or sponsorships. The bill would protect college athletes in the state from losing eligibility for receiving such compensations. “The California Senate has spoken loud and clear: Student-athletes should enjoy the same right as all other college students – to earn income from their talent,” California State Sen. Nancy Skinner, who introduced the bill, said in…  

Former NFL Players Challenge New Rules in Concussion Settlement Case

On April 24, 2019, a group of former NFL players challenged newly adopted medical rules in the ongoing NFL concussion settlement. As we have previously reported, in April 2015, Judge Brody approved a settlement between the NFL and almost 22,000 former players. The settlement established a 65-year uncapped monetary fund for players who could prove certain neurological diagnoses. The settlement provided a $75 million “baseline assessment program” that provided eligible retired players with neurological examinations, a $10 million education fund to promote safety and…  

Michael Avenatti Accused of Embezzling $2 million From NBA Player

Michael Avenatti, celebrity lawyer and notably outspoken President Trump critic, is once again in the spot light. On April 21, 2019, the Los Angeles Timesreported that, in 2017, Avenatti embezzled $2 million from NBA player Hassan Whiteside. Back in 2017, Avenatti was representing Alexis Gardner, Whiteside’s ex-girlfriend, in order to negotiate a settlement of a potential lawsuit against Whiteside. The public does not know the contents of an alleged potential lawsuit; however, Avenatti was able to negotiate a $3 million settlement. Both Gardner and…  

Damaging Video Recording Played in Second NCAA Basketball Corruption Trial

On April 24, 2019, a video recording of Christian Dawkins endorsing his connections to top NCAA basketball coaches, including the University of Arizona’s Sean Miller, was played in front of the jury in the second trial over NCAA basketball corruption. As we have previously reported, the trial is essentially a spin-off of a major NCAA corruption scandal. In October 2019, a Manhattan federal jury convicted former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager and aspiring sports agent Dawkins, and former Adidas consultant Merl Code of fraud…  

NCAA Head Coaches Sean Miller and Will Wade Likely Won’t Testify in Upcoming Federal Basketball Corruption Trial

On April 19, 2019, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that two high profile NCAA men’s basketball coaches, accused of corrupt recruiting practices, are not likely to testify in an upcoming federal corruption trial. As we have previously reported, in February 2019, reports began circulating that Sean Miller, head coach at the University of Arizona, and Will Wade, head coach at Louisiana State University, were subpoenaed to testify in an upcoming trail. The trial focuses on alleged bribes paid to assistant coaches at Arizona,…  

Jury Selection Begins in Second Trial Over NCAA Basketball Corruption

On April 22, 2019, jury selection was conducted in the trial of aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins and former Adidas consultant Merl Code. Dawkins and Code stand accused of bribing major NCAA D1 basketball coaches in order to facilitate a relationship with high-profile amateur basketball players. The current trial is essentially a spin-off of a major NCAA corruption scandal. Previously, in October 2019, a Manhattan federal jury convicted former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager and aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins, and former Adidas consultant…