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

 

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…  

Ninth Circuit Affirms $42 Million Fee Award in NCAA in Antitrust Suit

On April 17, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a $42 million attorney fee award despite objections from former NCAA athletes. As we have previously covered, in November 2017, former Division I NCAA athletes won a settlement of $208.7 million against the NCAA. In their suit, former NCAA athletes challenged the NCAA’s practice of capping student scholarships at values less than the actual cost of attendance. Previously, class member Darrin Duncan articulated that the “central issue in the…  

Alliance of American Football Update: Bankruptcy

On April 17, 2019, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas. The league announced: “We are deeply disappointed to be taking this action. The AAF was created to be a dynamic, developmental professional football league powered by an unprecedented alliance between players, fans and the game. The AAF strove to create new opportunities for talented players, coaches, executives and officials while providing an exciting experience for fans.…  

FIFA Bans Brazilian Soccer Official

On April 15, 2019, Jose Maria Marin, a Brazilian soccer official, was officially banned for life by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). In August 2018, the 86-year-old Marin was sentenced to four years in United States prison for racketeering, money laundering, and wire fraud. According to FIFA, Marin was also guilty of taking bribes linked to media and marketing rights for South American and Brazilian soccer competitions. During his 2017 trial, federal prosecutors said that Marin received $6.6 million in bribes and was…  

UPDATE: Fans Respond to NFL’s Move to Dismiss Controversial No-Call Lawsuit

On April 8, 2019, a group of New Orleans Saints responded to the NFL’s motion to dismiss the controversial no-call lawsuit. As you recall, a group of New Orleans Saints season ticket holders sued the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell with the goal of reversing the New Orleans Saints’ overtime playoff loss in the 2019 NFC championship game. According to their suit, Saints fans were “left bereft and with no faith in the National Football League for fairness despite the leagues own rules to…  

Astros Fan Sues after Injured by T-shirt Cannon

On April 8, 2019, Jennifer Harughty, a lifelong Houston Astros fan, filed a lawsuit against the Astros for an incident that occurred July 8, 2018. On July 8, 2018, Harughty was seated in the stands behind third base with her family, enjoying a game between the Astros and the White Sox. Suddenly, during a break in play, the Astros’ mascot, Orbit, emerged onto the field with high-powered t-shirt cannon. Orbit then began launching t-shirts, at high speeds, into the stands behind third base. At one…  

Supreme Court of New Jersey Ends NFL Super Bowl Ticket Suit

On April 4, 2019, the Supreme Court of New Jersey denied Josh Finkelman’s certification and seemingly his last attempt at legal recourse. As we have previously reported, Finkelman filed a proposed class action suit against the NFL for an alleged violation of a New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, which Finkelman claimed prevented event holders from withholding more than 5 percent of all tickets to a given event from “sale to the general public.” In 2014, Finkelman purchased two tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII for…  

Series on the Alliance of American Football: The Fall of the AAF

This is the second part of a two-part series chronicling the rise and fall of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). In the first part, we delved into the unprecedented growth of the AAF, much of which was based on an unsustainable dream to bring a successful professional football league to the United States. In this part, we analyze the ultimate collapse of the AAF, a reality of insurmountable debts and a lack of supporting investors. The Failed Hail Mary On April 2, 2019,…  

Mike v. Nike: Avenatti Strikes Again

Michael Avenatti, celebrity lawyer and notably outspoken President Trump critic, again struck back at Nike in a series of tweets alleging foul play. On April 6, 2019, Avenatti stated that he had turned over documents and other evidence to law enforcement, which shows Nike was involved in an illicit bribing scandal involving high school players and their family members. At 9:01 am on April 6, 2019, Avenatti tweeted, “1/2 – Here is a link to only SOME of the evidence showing Nike bribed players…  

Patrick Chung Sued over Posted Trash Talk

On March 27, 2019, a former Los Angeles Rams ticket executive, Matthew Hogan, sued Patriots safety Patrick Chung and Matthew Weymouth over trash talk that was later posted on social media. According to the lawsuit, Hogan was “forced from his job” and now cannot find a new job after Weymouth, the man who runs Chung’s social media account, posted a text message exchange, between Hogan and Weymouth, where Hogan said, “Patrick Chung is a b***h.” According to Hogan, the text message was a joke sent…  

Both the NCAA and Student-Athletes Plan to Appeal Ruling on NCAA Pay Rules

On Friday, April 5, 2019, the plaintiffs from the controversial NCAA antitrust suit filed a notice of cross-appeal in California federal court. The student-athletes seek a broader ruling than that of the lower court, which held that the NCAA’s player pay restrictions violate antitrust laws, seeking a holding that expands pay beyond education-expenses alone. The athletes’ cross-appeal follows defendant NCAA’s filing their own notice of appeal, two weeks earlier. The organization has criticized the district court’s ruling, accusing the courts of “micromanaging” its rules, and…  

Pepsi Moves for Summary Judgement in 2016 Super Bowl Ad Suit

On April 1, 2019, Pepsi moved for summary judgement in the lawsuit over its 2016 Super Bowl halftime commercial that featured artist Janelle Monảe. As we have previously reported, back in July 2016, Betty Inc., a boutique Connecticut advertising agency filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, and unfair competition against the soft drink giant PepsiCo. According to the lawsuit, Betty Inc. claimed that Pepsi’s 2016 ad was “fundamentally based” on an idea that Betty Inc. previously pitched to…  

Series on the Alliance of American Football: The Rise of the AAF

As a filmmaker and the son of legendary NBC television executive Dick Ebersol, Charlie Ebersol was motivated to create the Alliance of American Football (AAF) in late 2016 after producing the documentary This Was the XFL for ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series. The Xtreme Football League (XFL) was the 2001 brainchild of Vince McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The XFL, which aired on NBC, was designed to be an extreme version of spring professional football, but it was canceled after only one…  

Court Rejects Televisa’s Motion to Dismiss FIFA Bribery Class Action

On Monday, March 25, a New York judge ruled that Mexico’s Televisa Group will not be let off the hook for allegations of participation in a FIFA bribery scheme of over $15 million. The scheme was allegedly an attempt by the mass media company to obtain the broadcasting rights to FIFA World Cup soccer games. U.S. District Court Judge Louis L. Stanton determined that Televisa’s shareholders had described their allegations with necessary specificity, ruling that Televisa must face its investors’ claims of securities fraud. Originally…  

Avenatti Strikes Back at Nike

Just one day after being arrested and charged with numerous crimes, including conspiracy to commit extortion, bank fraud, and wire fraud, celebrity lawyer and outspoken President Trump critic, Michael Avenatti, proclaimed his innocence and struck back at Nike in a CBS interview and a string of tweets. As we just recently reported, on March 25, 2019, Avenatti was charged and taken into custody after federal prosecutors were tipped off about Avenatti’s attempt to extort up to $26.5 million from Nike. However, over the last twenty-four…  

Michael Avenatti Arrested for an Attempt to Extort up to $26.5 Million From Nike

On March 25, 2019, celebrity lawyer and outspoken President Trump critic, Michael Avenatti, was arrested and taken into custody after federal prosecutors charged him with numerous crimes, including conspiracy to commit extortion, bank fraud, and wire fraud. According to a federal criminal complaint, on March 19, 2019, Avenatti met with Nike representatives claiming to represent a youth basketball coach who had information that Nike employees made illicit payments to the families of high school athletes. Avenatti and his alleged co-conspirator Mark Geragos, a high-profile criminal…  

Former Northwestern University Football Player Sues NCAA

On March 18, 2019, former Northwestern University football player, Jay Tant, filed a proposed concussion class action lawsuit against the NCAA. In the class action suit, Tant alleged that the NCAA failed to protect the school’s players from the dangers of concussion and head injuries despite knowing the risks. According to Tant, the NCAA knew, since 1933, of the dangers of concussions and the long-term risks they posed to student-athletes however, the NCAA only began to implement concussion protocols in 2010. Tant, a standout tight…  

Texas A&M Wants out of the “12th Man” Copyright Suit

On March 15, 2019, Texas A&M University urged U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen that the Texas A&M Athletic Department is not a separate entity and therefore is entitled to immunity in the Texas A&M “12th Man” copyright suit. As we have continued to report, in 2014, Michael J. Bynum, an author, sued Texas A&M after it posted on its website the “heart” of Mr. Bynum unpublished book, 12th Man: The Life and Legend of Texas A&M’s E. King Gill. According to…  

Potential New Tax Law Would Allow NCAA Athletes to Profit From Their Image

On March 14, 2019, Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) introduced a bill that would allow NCAA athletes to profit from their image and likeness. The Student-Athlete Equity Act, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), would amend the definition of an “amateur” in the federal tax code and would allow NCAA student-athletes to get paid when they, or more specifically their image, appears in video games, advertisements, and other public media. In a statement, Rep. Walker said, “Signing an athletic scholarship with a school…