Showing posts with label Legal Matters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legal Matters. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bleeding Dennis Rodman Dry

If it was "all about the kids," Dennis Rodman wouldn't be where he is now. If it was all about his kids, her kids, those kids, some kids--Dennis Rodman would have taken a moment ten years ago and he would have figured out how to take care of his family obligations.

Instead, he has partied away millions and his health and now he is on the verge of having nothing. This does not excuse the fact that the women who are claiming child support are pursuing amounts well in excess of what is needed to raise a child. Their lifestyle choices mirror Rodman's. You cannot sustain the same lifestyle forever because professional sports careers do not last forever.

What is destroying former players like Rodman is not so much mismanagement but a delusional kind of thinking. At age 35, Rodman was making millions; at age 51, he is not making millions. It would stand to reason that reality has to take hold. A man making next to nothing is not going to be able to pay tens of thousands of dollars in child support.

If Rodman had set aside a few million dollars in a kind of protected trust, and then arranged for it to kick in and pay a reasonable stipend for his children each month, that fund would probably last for twenty years or more. It would eventually become depleted, but it would have created security and stability for his kids. Instead, he cashed out his NBA retirement for pennies on the dollar and left himself with nothing to give his kids.

It should be mandatory for professional athletes to create funds to pay out a kind of secondary pension in this manner. A portion of their income should be diverted into a kind of protected trust that can pay out a living wage or a child support payment or even money for a rainy day. Why it isn't is something I'll never understand.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

This is Not What a Fan Does

I don't know if this poor young man is just "misunderstood" or what, but he's anything but a "fan" of the game of golf:

A 36-year-old man attending the second round of The Players Championship was subdued by a Taser on Friday.

Travis Parmelee, of Jacksonville, was charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence, said St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Dave Messenger.

Messenger said course marshals notified officers that Parmelee was yelling at players and being belligerent near the 11th hole. Officers responded and attempted to calm Parmelee down, but they said he became more combative.

This is why I don't go to golf tournaments in Northern Florida--too many leering, hollering fools and way too much beer being served on the course. I have been known to be ejected from tournaments myself; I am banned for life from several facilities, most notably, Fenway Park; but heckling during a golf game is unseemly. That's a bit like enjoying something Jay Leno does on his little television program; it simply will not do.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How Important is Football Right Now For Big Ben?

You have to love the para at the end:
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spent last weekend undergoing a behavioral evaluation rather than at the team's minicamp, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday.

The paper, citing a team source, said that Roethlisberger, suspended for at least the first four games of the 2010 season by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for off-the-field conduct, will be evaluated for "days" rather than weeks. After that, the report said, Roethlisberger could either return to the team or undergo further evaluation.

Roethlisberger was ordered by Goodell to stay away from the Steelers' training facility until his evaluation was complete. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he didn't know when Roethlisberger would return.

"I have talked to him," Tomlin said, according to the Post-Gazette. "I will continue to talk to him, and I don't have a crystal ball in regards to when he's going to be back in the facility. A lot of that has to do with the things he needs to do and of course the judgment of the commissioner."

While Roethlisberger was in his evaluation, quarterbacks Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch were all on the field for the Steelers.

Do you know why the Steelers haven't outright gotten rid of Big Ben?

The answers are Leftwich, Dixon and Batch. Big Ben has job security, you see. But the real issue here is behavior.

If he's properly evaluated, and really given a chance, then who are we to judge him?

I think it comes down to this: the young man is an asshole. That's right. A douchebag. At least, in social situations and public places. He's difficult and demanding. That's what a lot of money can do to a young man.

What he needs is counseling, to show him that being an asshole and a douchebag are counterproductive. He can still be those things, but he needs to curtail his public activities with regards to assholery and douchebaggery because they are leading to legal jeopardy, lawsuits, and bad press. I will let you in on a little secret. Everyone with money is, to some extent, an asshole and a douchebag for a reason--everyone wants your money. How you deal with that aspect of life is where Big Ben has been wearing his ass for a hat.

Friday, April 9, 2010

North Dakota Needs a New Mascot

North Dakota needs a new mascot:

A state Supreme Court ruling and a Board of Higher Education decision have retired for good the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname after a four-year legal battle.

The court ruled Thursday that the board had the authority to dump the nickname at any time. The court rejected an appeal that sought to delay action.

A motion later Thursday at the board's regularly scheduled meeting in Mayville to reconsider its vote in May to retire the nickname died after nobody seconded it.

Claus Lembke, the board member who made the failed motion, said the board was "giving in to a minority of people on the issue."

Board president Richie Smith had said before the vote that he thought no further action was required to retire the nickname.

Board member and university alumnus Grant Shaft said afterward that he believes most people are tired of the controversy.

"I think people have moved to the point, for a number of reasons, that they wanted this to move along," Shaft said.

I guess that if you just give up, you won't get to maintain the tradition of your school. It must not be that big a deal if people are surrendering to the lawsuits and changing their mascots. Perhaps they can work on a hayseed farmer motif or a drunken Santa Claus mascot--both would be surefire winners. I love the alcoholic Santa theme, and I wish there was a team that represented the pathos of a drunken Kris Kringle, failing to deliver presents and clean himself after being sick.

That's me, though. I hate the holidays. This is my favorite time of the year. No holidays.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ben Roethlisberger Isn't Learning From Any of His Mistakes

There's nothing wrong with having fun, but when you're rich, famous, and known to be a bit of a party animal, you have to know when to control yourself:
Amber Hanley, a 21-year-old college student who met NFL star Ben Roethlisberger in a Georgia bar, says the Steeelers quarterback wanted more than a just a cute photo with the young co-ed, but she just rolled her eyes and moved on, earning a tongue lashing from Big Ben.

Later, she says, Roethlisberger was hitting hard on another girl.

Illegal, poor taste or just drunk fun?

Hanley's description of last Friday's events at the Capital City bar in Milledgeville, Ga., doesn't shed light on whether Roethlisberger sexually assaulted another woman during a night in which he visited several local bars. Police are now investigating the accusation made by a 20-year old student and the football player has denied it.

He really needs some sort of help, and not just of the legal kind. He needs someone to help him get off the path that he's on before he destroys his career. I have defended him in the past, but how do you defend a kid who is blotto? How do you defend a kid who is running around like a jackass in public?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Warren Sapp Ends His Own Career

Goodbye, Warren Sapp:
Sources have told FanHouse that Warren Sapp will no longer be an analyst for NFL Network following his arrest Saturday.

Sapp was scheduled to be part of the Super Bowl XLIV coverage for Sunday's game between the Colts and Saints.

The former NFL star was arrested after an alleged domestic violence incident at a Miami Beach hotel, police said. Sapp was charged with one count of misdemeanor domestic battery and is expected to appear before a Miami-Dade County judge Sunday.

Miami Beach police spokesman Juan Sanchez said the domestic violence allegation was reported around noon Saturday and detectives interviewed Sapp later in the day.

According to an arrest affidavit, the victim had a swollen knee and bruises on her back. She was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center following the alleged incident.

The woman told detectives that she was partying with Sapp and her friends at the hotel and asked for his room key when she grew tired. The woman claims that Sapp woke her up, and, following an argument, choked her and pushed her down on a couch.

The affidavit states that Sapp questioned her about men she listed on her cell phone before throwing her down again as the argument escalated. At one point, according to the woman's account, Sapp sent her a text message that said, "You whore."
Yeah, that's how you do it. Always send a text message so that you can't deny it later.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Is the NFL a Monopoly?

The National Football League exists as a monopoly--or does it? The NFL exists as a group of competitors who band together and form an entity that can be described as a monopoly--or can it?

The United States Supreme Court is having a look at the NFL and a case involving an apparel maker that was shut out of doing business with the NFL years ago. The Los Angeles Times weighs in with an editorial:

American Needle Inc. used to be one of several companies that provided souvenir sportswear for NFL teams. But it lost its franchise when the league reached an exclusive contract with Reebok in 2000 to manufacture caps bearing team logos. American Needle wants a trial to prove that the NFL is an alliance of separately owned teams subject to a federal antitrust law prohibiting monopolies and contracts or conspiracies "in restraint of trade and commerce."

The dispute has attracted unusual attention not only because of its connection to professional sports -- how many cases can be featured on both ESPN and C-SPAN? -- but also because a decision could extend beyond arrangements for the sale of caps and sweat shirts.
Players fearthe NFL's argument that it is a single economic entity could be used to prevent them from negotiating with individual teams for salaries and benefits. But that doesn't follow automatically from a decision in favor of the NFL in this case.

Can the NFL restrain trade and commerce? I would say, no, it cannot. The teams that make up the NFL are rooted in communities all over the country.

Cities and communities build roads and infrastructure to accommodate NFL teams; not just stadiums and the like. This is how an NFL team can derive enormous benefit from being in a particular location; the league, after all, has control over where a team can be located. The league can veto a franchise move if it wants to do so. That makes these teams more beholden, or as beholden, to the places where they do business as they are to the league. The NFL cannot then turn around and selectively do business with one group and shut out another. That is the definition of restraint of trade, since the NFL has team logos, likenesses, and profitable merchandise that it can use as a weapon to drive companies out of business if it uses those assets to favor one entity over another. How do you compete with someone who has the exclusive rights to Pittsburgh Steeler merchandise? If you can't tap into the huge market for jerseys and team apparel, you have a significant handicap.

The process of deciding who can, and who cannot, sell NFL merchandise comes down to "more is better" and I don't have a problem with quality standards. I think that, if you are going to manufacture NFL apparel, you should have to meet quality standards to ensure that "cheap knockoffs" don't tarnish a brand tied to the community in which it operates. It has to be open to competition and bidding, and it has to do business openly and honestly in the communities where the franchises are located.

I think there's also an issue with taxation. Specifically, if the item can be taxed, how can it be exclusively made and available from only one source? We're not talking about an exclusive item; we're talking about clothing. Can you have restraint of trade when something can be sold anywhere to anyone?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Michael Wilbon's Argument Collapses

This seems passionate enough, and I can certainly find myself in agreement with Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post more often than not, but I think that when he tries to make this case:
We've gone too far now, the way we always go too far these days. We've made Gilbert Arenas Public Enemy No. 1, which is absurd. Look, Arenas has, by himself, brought about the trouble he's in. And in short time it could be deemed criminal behavior, having those guns in the District of Columbia.

Still, is Arenas so evil that all the merchandise bearing his name and number has to be pulled from Verizon Center? And from the NBA Store in New York? And from, where you couldn't even customize a jersey and have Arenas's name on it? Is what he did so heinous his likeness has to be scrubbed off of every building in downtown Washington, like he's Al Capone?

I'm not about to back away from my earlier position, that if I ran the Wizards I'd try to have the remainder of his $111 million contract voided, and that I understand the league-ordered suspension for that ridiculous pregame pantomime in Philadelphia of firing pistols and his overall cavalier attitude about the offense. But don't tell me we have to go as far as Sethi saying in "The Ten Commandments": "Let the name of Moses be stricken from every book and tablet. Stricken from every pylon and obelisk of Egypt. Let the name of Moses be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of man, for all time."

Is that really what we want to do with Gilbert Arenas, which is the direction in which the ridicule seems to be taking us?

Having those guns in his locker is inexcusable and apparently unlawful, and Arenas may have to pay dearly for it. But is it the worst thing we've ever heard? Please. It isn't close. I looked up some, let's say, transgressions today of some recent NBA players. And while a stupid act can't be justified by a doubly stupid act, we still need some perspective when judging these things. I passed right over all the "possession of a firearm" charges against various players over the years, figuring they weren't fired in the actual locker room.

It falls flat because of this fact:
As a grand jury continues to hear the details of the gun incident involving Gilbert Arenas, WTOP has learned the Washington Wizards' star has -- at times -- owned several hundred guns.

Multiple sources tell WTOP that Arenas moved those weapons out of his Virginia home within the past year, long before the incident at the Verizon Center.

By all accounts, the guns in Arenas' collection were legally owned, yet it's unclear how many he actually owned or still owns.

Arenas has told investigators and the NBA about the collection, sources say.

Arenas said he brought four guns to the Verizon Center because he wanted them out of his house after his daughter was born. But two officials within the league who have been briefed on the investigation have said he incident stemmed from a dispute over card-playing gambling debts and a heated discussion in the locker room with teammate Javaris Crittenton.

Arenas said in a statement on Jan. 4 that he took unloaded guns from his locker in a "misguided effort to play a joke" on a teammate.

The guns turned over to police include a so-called 'Dirty Harry Revolver' and a gold-plated Desert Eagle -- which is so big and has such a powerful recoil -- no law enforcement agency uses them.

Now, you can defend the young man, and claim that he should be given a second chance, but, for right now, no.

As in, no, you don't get to play basketball. I'm sorry, but there are things that are way more important than sports at this point. There's a mental health issue here, a maturity issue, and a public safety issue.

To those who might say, well, he didn't shoot anyone.

Yes, but he owned hundreds of guns.


Where are they? Because I don't know about you, but if you own hundreds of guns, and you can't find anywhere to put them, so you bring them to the locker room, you have judgement issues well beyond anything a professional basketball franchise is going to be able to assist you with. They don't have gun wrangling flunkies in track suits, ready to help you out in the locker room (and if they do, wow, what a country).

It sort of makes the case that Gilbert Arenas has issues that playing basketball isn't going to help him solve when you can point to a fetish for guns and an inability to handle them responsibly.

Is there anything wrong with owning hundreds of guns? No. Of course not. But, being an immature young man who poops in shoes and sticks a gun in someones face is a problem, especially when he jokes about it later and treats it as if it's just another episode of the Gilbert Arenas show.

This is not what you want a young man with 111 million dollars doing in your community, it really isn't.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Another Scandal for Commentator Mike Smith

Ralph Lawler, left and Mike Smith, right

Back in November, I noted the ridiculous announcing actions of one Mike Smith of the Los Angeles Clippers, when he repeatedly made off-color ethnic jokes at the expense of an Iranian NBA player.

Smith is in hot water for being a crook, too:

Los Angeles Clippers commentator Michael Smith is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Orange County Superior Court on charges of stealing $735,000 from a retired schoolteacher in a development deal gone bad, authorities said.

Smith, 44, and Bruce Howard Furst, 57, both of Laguna Beach, are charged with grand theft in connection with the Dana Point project, the Orange County district attorney's office said.

Smith persuaded the former teacher, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to use his paid-off Dana Point home as collateral for the $735,000 loan on the project, according to prosecutors.

Smith and Furst are accused of promising the victim that his loan was guaranteed. The project never materialized, prosecutors said.

Mr. Smith has some ethical and moral blind spots, I see.

You wouldn't know this from looking at the website for the Clippers--on their main website, they have an ad feature of news stories that hasn't been updated in about six weeks.

How can you have a website and, during your season, have a feature in plain site that doesn't update for six weeks? What an organization.

Banned For Five Years?

I can't quite make the leap to a "lifetime ban" for Gilbert Arenas, and I can't quite accept a "rest of this season" or a one year ban. I think five years would suffice:
Gilbert Arenas' suspension came as new details emerged about the locker-room confrontation between Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, a Wizards teammate, on Dec. 21 that suggest a potentially far more volatile incident than was originally reported by Arenas to team officials. The two players had been arguing during a card game on the Wizards' flight back from Phoenix Dec. 19, and the dispute spilled into the team locker room at Verizon Center before practice two days later. Arenas has acknowledged bringing his handguns to the arena and displaying them in the locker room that morning in what he maintained was a playful gesture aimed at his teammate. According to two first-hand accounts of the confrontation, Crittenton responded to Arenas's action -- which included laying the four unloaded weapons in Crittenton's cubicle with a note that read, "Pick One" -- by brandishing his own firearm, loading the gun and chambering a round.

Crittenton should get a lifetime ban, starting right now. Arenas should face a similar penalty, and probably just get the same thing. Crittenton being a bit player and Arenas being a hundred million dollar player really shouldn't matter, but, in reality, it does matter. It matters to the franchise. I think that the NBA should void the contract Arenas is playing under, remove him from the league for an extended period, and review his case. I think the act of actually chambering a round indicates an escalation on the part of Crittenton that demonstrates criminal intent. Yes, you can argue that Arenas also had some sort of criminal intent to intimidate. Leaving four guns out like that is intimidation. The old joke about how it isn't armed robbery if the gun isn't loaded doesn't apply here--both players are head cases with severe problems. I just can't quite bring myself to make them equals, though.

Crittenton should never suit up again. Arenas should be given a second chance only if he can demonstrate substantive change in his lifestyle and attitude.
The NBA did try to hide the photo you see above--why? Wouldn't the existence of this photo serve as evidence that Arenas should legitimately be suspended and his contract should be voided? Or is the Public Relations fallout just too negative?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Wizards and Gun Play

Arenas, Left and Crittenton, Right

No, this is not about magical wizards and spells. It's about the pathetic and ridiculous state of the Washintgon Wizards and the new wannabe bad boy in the NBA, Gilbert Arenas. Arenas is starting to make Ron Artest look like David Robinson.

Specifically, the New York Post is running a sensational story about two NBA players and a confrontation that involved guns over a gambling debt:

Washington Wizards teammates Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other during a Christmas Eve locker room argument over a gambling debt, according to The New York Post.

Citing an anonymous source, the newspaper reports in Friday's edition that the standoff was sparked when Crittenton became angry at Arenas for refusing to make good on a gambling debt. That prompted Arenas to draw on Crittenton, who then also grabbed for a gun, league security sources tell the Post.

Asked by the Post about the confrontation, Arenas denied pulling a gun on Crittenton.

"This is unprecedented in the history of sports," Billy Hunter, executive director of the Player's Association, tells the Post. "I've never heard of players pulling guns on each other in a locker room."

The Wizards said on the night of Dec. 24 that Arenas had stored unloaded firearms in a container in his locker at the arena and that the NBA was looking into the situation. On Tuesday, Washington, D.C. police said they were investigating a report that weapons were found inside a locker room at the Verizon Center.

Now, the federal government is also involved. Ben Friedman, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in DC, tells the Post "we're working with the Metropolitan Police Department on the investigation."

After the shock sets in, you have to ask yourself--did they aim the guns at each other, as in Mexican standoff, and then bust a gut laughing at how silly they looked? Did they spend the rest of the night backslapping one another?

Boy, Mr. David Stern. That's some league you have there. On Christmas Eve, in the team locker room, one of your highest paid players is pulling a gun on another player over a gambling debt. And, of course, you don't have a gambling problem in the NBA, now do you?

Arenas, of course, showed class and poise in dealing with an issue as sensitive as this:

Arenas, who has three kids, reportedly told team officials he brought
guns to his Verizon Center locker so they wouldn't be close to his newborn at
their home in Great Falls, Va.

He denied pulling a gun on Crittenton and even mocked the suggestion he
would ever point a weapon at a teammate.

"You guys, I wanted to go rob banks, I wanted to be a bank robber on the
weekends," Arenas said sarcastically after a game this week.

The NBA doesn't have a problem, now does it?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

He said, She said

When this happens, all you can do is shake your head:
The woman who has obtained a temporary restraining order against Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is now suing the football player seeking $70-million in damages, and custody of the couple's two infant children.

WBAL News has obtained documents showing Candace Williams filed two lawsuits earlier this week in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. One seeks custody and one seeks damages.

In court papers, Williams and Suggs share a home in Windsor Mill.

Last Friday, Williams obtained a temporary restraining order which ordered Suggs from the home and ordered the football player not to abuse, contact, or enter the home. A hearing on a final restraining order is set for Friday afternoon.

In the court papers Williams alleges that Suggs hit her in the chest knocking her to the ground. Suggs is then alleged to have sat on top of Williams with an open bottle of bleach and one hand around her neck saying "Bitch, I'ma drown you with this bleach." Williams' statement goes on to say that she tried to cover the bottle with her hands as bleach came through and onto her and her son. Some of Suggs friends were also in the room telling him to stop.

Williams claims that Suggs finally got off and said "Bitch it's over." and "You better be out my house by the time I get back."

Williams says there were two incidents of alleged abuse in the last month.

Keep in mind that the key word here is "alleged."

Did he do it? I don't know. But you don't sue someone for $70 million dollars unless you want to take all of their money away from them and keep it for yourself.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What Happened Here?

The Buick Enclave, which was NOT the vehicle the Tiger Woods was driving when he crashed

Negligent, impaired, or just plain confused?

Tiger Woods was seriously injured early Friday when he hit a fire hydrant and a tree near his Florida home, authorities said.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the PGA star hit the fire hydrant and tree as he pulled out of his driveway in his 2009 Cadillac sport utility vehicle.

Mr. Woods was taken to Health Central Hospital. Officials there didn't have record of him as a patient, though the news release said Mr. Woods' injuries were serious.

The highway patrol said the crash is still under investigation, and charges are pending. However, the highway patrol said the crash was not alcohol-related.

Mr. Woods, 33 years old, owns a home in the exclusive subdivision of Isleworth near Orlando. Orange County property records indicate his home is valued at $2.4 million.

Woods was driving a Cadillac--and yet, he's the spokesperson for the Buick Enclave, pictured above. I would say that the pending charges are for negligent driving or driving while impaired in some way.

Pain killers? Is it wrong to suggest that Woods may have been under the influence of a pain killer of some type? Given his history of being injured, is that outside of the realm of possibility?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Frat Boy Pot Luck Rampage

I'm surprised there aren't more stories like this:
According to a report by the Michigan State student newspaper, 15-20 males entered a campus dormitory and assaulted an injured male and female students.

Among the assailants, the State News reported, were unnamed football players according to witnesses.
Brent Mitchell, a communication junior who said he was sent to Lansing's Sparrow Hospital after being punched in the face, said some of the men wore ski masks, but others were recognized as football team members.

"I walked up and said, 'It isn't worth it.' A guy with dreadlocks hit me and in the scuffle slapped, hit females to get them out of the way," Mitchell said.


Mitchell said members of his fraternity, Iota Phi Theta, had just finished a potluck event and were folding chairs in the lounge when the men entered. The men said they were looking for a man who had been involved in a spat with one of them the night before during an Iota Phi Theta event at The Small Planet, 16800 Chandler Road, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he was struck after the men realized the person they sought wasn't there. He said the altercation lasted for about a minute before the men left.

Neither university officials nor campus police would comment on the specifics of the incident.

Of course not--no one's going to comment on a Frat Boy rampage. The problem here is not athletics, although the involvement of football players will probably lead the simple-minded BACK to that conclusion. The problem here is not even alcohol or fraternity life. The problem here rests with the dubious idea of having a potluck.

A potluck?

No one--and I mean, no one--in this H1N1, cootie-sharing, hepatitis B-saturated nation should be going to a potluck. No one.

Monday, November 16, 2009

They Weren't Going to Win Anyway

As much as I believe the case had merit, and it certainly did, there was no way the United States Supreme Court was going to take this case:
A group of native Americans have lost their bid to force the Washington Redskins pro football team to change its name because they consider it to be a racial slur.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court, in a one-line ruling, refused to take up the case. The action lets stand a decision by a federal appeals court in Washington that the native Americans had waited too long to bring their challenge to the Redskins trademark, and thus forfeited any right to sue.

Some analysts view the case as political correctness run amok. But for nearly 40 years, native American organizations have been working to end the use of Indian names and symbols as sports mascots in the US – at high schools, colleges, and among professional teams.

They have had significant success at the college and high school levels, persuading officials that Indian names and mascots for sports teams are derogatory and demeaning to native Americans. For example, between 1991 and 2008, 11 high schools and two colleges discontinued the use of "Redskins" as their team name. They include Miami University in Ohio and Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma.

Similar efforts at persuasion have been aimed at the Washington Redskins football team, dating from 1972. But the team insists that its trademark team name does not disparage native Americans. The team has invested millions of dollars to enhance and promote the trademark name on telecasts, in advertising, and on merchandise.

The Redskins name originated in Boston in 1933. The football team was called the Boston Braves, but the owner decided to rename the team the Boston Redskins in honor of the team's head coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, who was a native American, writes lawyer Robert Raskopf in a brief filed on behalf of the team.

The name became the registered trademark of the team in 1967. The seven native Americans didn't file their lawsuit until 1992 – 25 years later.

You've heard of companies that are now too big to fail? The Washington Redskins are a marketing franchise too big to challenge. I don't buy the idea that it was a bunch of fans on the Supreme Court that slapped this down. I think the considered legal opinion of the court was, take this case, and that's going to open up a floodgate.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Erin Andrews Stalker Has Been Captured

Michael David Barrett is the man accused of being the stalker who surreptitiously taped ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews in her hotel room. Today, we get a good look at what a real dirtbag looks like:

An insurance executive accused of secretly making nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews apparently uploaded videos of other unsuspecting nude women to the Internet, a federal prosecutor said Monday.

Michael D. Barrett, 47, was ordered released on $4,500 bond but was ordered to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet, to adhere to a strict curfew and not to use the Internet. He is due in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Oct. 23 to face federal charges of Interstate stalking. Barrett is accused of trying to sell the videos to Los Angeles-based celebrity gossip site TMZ.

Barrett continues to be a danger to Andrews and "a danger to other women," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Grimes told U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys during Barrett's bond hearing Monday.

"Yes, Judge, there are other women," Grimes said. "He has used his computer to disseminate these videos to the world."

Grimes said the government has confiscated two computers and cell phones used by Barrett, and "feels strongly that those items will provide further evidence."

Like the Andrews videos, the videos of the other women were shot through a door peephole and uploaded to the Internet under a name Barrett used, "GOBLAZERS1," Grimes said.

Andrews appears in at least eight videos nude. An FBI affidavit said Barrett specifically asked for a room next to Andrews at a Tennessee hotel where seven videos were likely taken, apparently through an altered peephole. An eighth video may have been shot at a Milwaukee hotel.

Barrett was described by his attorney, Rick Beuke, as having plenty of money and a good track record at work. Beuke said his employer, the Combined Insurance Co., based in Glenview, where he is in insurance sales, is "very supportive."

Beuke told reporters after court that Barrett has many friends and that the person described in an FBI affidavit released Saturday "is certainly not the Mike Barrett that any of us know." He said he had spoken with Barrett's parents, who live near Portland, Ore., and "this is a tough time for them."

He had a fairly sophisticated operation going, and went so far as to modify the peephole for the hotel room with a hacksaw. Barrett crossed a line that needs to be reinforced from time to time. Being no stranger to having a love of beautiful women, I have to reiterate that this was a creepy invasion of privacy and a deviant act. There was nothing admiring about what he did--he is a criminal and he should be sent to prison. I have to admit that it does bother me to have my "safe for work hotties" gallery and to write about something like this.

Clearly, I cannot, nor would I, post something taken against someone's will, and I would certainly remove anything offensive, unless it humiliated a politician in such a way as to remind us all why we hold them in contempt or unless it was clearly taken in public, such as this shot of Kate Gosselin, which comes right up to the same line defined here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Roger Clemens is the Douchebag Who Won't Give Up

Some people just don't know when they've been humiliated and discredited:
Roger Clemens has filed an appeal of his dismissed defamation suit against Brian McNamee.

Clemens filed a notice Friday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decisions of U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison, who threw out most of Clemens' case in February and dismissed the remainder of the suit Aug. 28.

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner sued his former personal trainer in Texas state court in January 2008, a month after McNamee's accusations against the pitcher were published in the Mitchell Report. The suit was moved a month later to federal court in Houston.

I would say that there's very little hope that the case will be heard the way that Clemens and his legal team want it to be heard. It's a defamation suit where there is overwhelming evidence that the person claiming to have been defamed has no credibility. The law could ignore the facts, and give Clemens his day in court, but even if he were to climb the mountain and win, who's to say the judgement wouldn't be one brand new spanking dollar bill? There's no sympathy to be found in a jury; Clemens would be insane to put his hopes on a jury.
McNamee claimed in the Mitchell Report that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 times in 1998, 2000 and 2001. He also sued Clemens for defamation on July 31 in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Clemens said McNamee's statements, which the trainer also repeated to Sports Illustrated's Web site, were "untrue and defamatory."

Clemens and McNamee repeated their conflicting claims last year to a congressional committee, which then asked the Justice Department to launch a probe into whether the pitcher lied. A federal grand jury in Washington has been investigating Clemens.

By and large, Clemens is now an outcast, similar in a lot of ways to Rafael Palmiero, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds. The four of them were all big-name athletes, with endorsements, fans and All-Star game appearances to go along with being loved and cheered every day.

How does it mess with your head to lose all of that, and lose it by having all of your lies exposed for the world to see? In the case of Roger Clemens, it has left him thinking he can write his own facts and make people do whatever he wants them to do. He is acting like a deranged control freak, but, this time, the courts don't care. His douchebaggery is now in the public record. Somewhere, Jon Gosselin must be smiling, because if Clemens is in the news, it means a handful of people are making douchebag comments about Clemens and not about him.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Someone Needs to Get Delonte West Some Help

This story is a little deeper than just another "thug athlete with guns" incident:
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West was arrested Thursday after officers pulled him over for speeding on a motorcycle while carrying two loaded handguns and a loaded shotgun in a guitar case.

Prince George's County police spokeswoman Sgt. Michelle Reedy said Friday the Cleveland Cavaliers player was arrested about 10 p.m. Thursday.

Reedy said West was riding a Can-Am Spyder motorcycle north on the Capital Beltway in Upper Marlboro when he cut off an officer, who pulled him over.

Police said a handgun was found in his pocket, another in his pant leg and a shotgun in a guitar case strapped to his back.

Reedy said West "was very cooperative, there were no issues" during the incident.

The 26-year-old West, who lives in Brandywine, was charged with speeding and weapons counts. It is illegal to carry concealed weapons and to transport loaded guns in Maryland, according to police. Reedy said West was released on his own recognizance early Friday.

You could react with either indifference or disgust, and write it off as another offseason setback for a promising young man who has been corrupted by money, fame, or a slight lack thereof. However, a little sympathy is in order:
Last year, West left the Cavaliers' training camp to seek treatment for depression and a "mood disorder" he said he has battled his entire life. At the time, he said he was taking medication and attending therapy sessions. West said his mood problems date to his childhood.

West has said his mood swings seem to be most erratic when his life seems to be in order.

Now, I don't know about you, but when a young man has sought treatment before he has legal issues, I tend to come down on the side of a someone trying to get their life in order, rather than on the side of someone using mental issues to get out of being caught with guns. He needs more help, rather than condemnation and scorn. No question--he needs to be penalized and held accountable for having a crazy pile of lethal weapons. He needs those items to be taken away from him by a family member or someone who cares about his safety and well being. You don't excuse his conduct, but understanding it doesn't hurt a bit.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Of course it has been hell on your family, you moron

Louisville Mens Basketball Coach Rick Pitino is lucky to have a job, period. Were it not for the low standards and overwhelming emphasis on winning no matter what, no decent school would have kept him on for the upcoming season. That is not to say that he couldn't have signed on somewhere else in a few years and gone back to coaching. No, it's the lack of accountability for what he did that stings here. He's paid no price, other than a personal one, and, of course, he's complaining about that in the media:
Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Wednesday a sex scandal involving a woman accused of trying to extort him has been "pure hell" for his family, and that the airing of her claims made him angry enough to speak out against his lawyer's advice.

Pitino spoke at a hastily called news conference hours after Louisville police released audio and video recordings of phone calls and an interview with Karen Cunagin Sypher, the woman at the heart of the scandal. Pitino has told police that he had sex with her six years ago.

Sypher claims in the interview that Pitino sexually assaulted her. Prosecutors did not pursue charges against Pitino, and Sypher is now accused of trying to extort millions from the coach. She has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of extortion and lying to the FBI.

The coach lashed out at the media for again reporting on her accusations by airing clips of the interviews Wednesday.

"Everything that's been printed, everything that's been reported, everything that's been breaking in the news on the day Ted Kennedy died is 100 percent a lie, a lie," Pitino said. "All of this has been a lie, a total fabrication of the truth."

The married father of five, who's also a devout Roman Catholic, said the scandal has taken a heavy toll on his wife and family.

"It has been pure hell for her and my family," he said.

"I admitted to you I made a mistake, and believe me I will suffer for that mistake," he added.

If you're contrite and attempting to rehabilitate your image, you do not lash out at the media. You roll over and take it and try to behave in a humble way.

Not so with Pitino. This is becoming a farce. He isn't sorry about anything, other than the fact that his image has taken a hit. He's not the choirboy. He's like any other middle-aged man in America who has sex in public with someone who is not his wife and then has to pay hush money to in order to keep from being held accountable for his lapse in judgement.

It's also very, very clear that when you're the head coach, you get preferential treatment:
In an interview with police that was not taped but was summarized in a police report, Pitino said the encounter with Sypher was consensual. Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said Pitino's interview wasn't taped because his attorney accompanied him to the interview.

Why not? Is it because he was simply being asked questions and wasn't suspected of anything? Because I will bet you anything you want to bet that it was favoritism and it was designed to try to keep him from being held accountable or liable in a civil suit of some kind. When the police start treating lawyered up VIPs different from the rest of us, it means something is afoot. Good for Pitino--he was able to bring his lawyer to an untaped, friendly conversation with the police when he wasn't suspected of anything. People of means, they get all the special breaks. It certainly could be an innocent questioning procedure, now could it?

If I'm having any kind of conversation with the police and with my lawyer present, I think I'd want to have it taped, provided I was innocent. I think I would want to have that record of the proceedings in order to keep from being accused of something I didn't do, especially if I was innocent. Now, given all that, how innocent is Pitino, when you get right down to it? Why bring a lawyer and then why not tape it? Weird.

Is it asking too much for the NCAA to do something here? Perhaps gagging Pitino would violate his right to free speech. It's not like someone should keep him from speaking out--it's just that, every time he does, he reminds people of why Louisville should have fired him in the first place. He does not get that his public stance right now should be one of relief and humility, not defiance and anger at the media for simply doing their job.

If the NCAA can go after assistant coaches for minor recruiting violations as if the Republic is about to fall, perhaps they can look into how a big-time coach runs his affairs while professing to be a role model and an educator and a shaper of young men's character.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Steinbrenner Never Shot Himself, You Idiot

Really, how stupid can it get?
One day, he was as big a star in New York's sports galaxy as any. The next day, he was being jettisoned from it after being convicted of violating a federal law and faced with a possible jail sentence.

I'm not referencing Plaxico Burress just yet, however. I'm talking about Yankees owner George Steinbrenner back in 1974. The shipping magnate turned baseball owner was busted for making illegal contributions to President Nixon's 1972 campaign.

Steinbrenner, like Burress, agreed to a plea deal. Fourteen criminal counts against him were cut to one felony and a misdemeanor and The Boss wound up being fined $15,000 and never had to go behind bars. Fifteen years later, President Reagan, in one of his final acts, pardoned Steinbrenner.

Equating what Plaxico Burress did with what George Steinbrenner did is asinine. Violent crime vs white collar crime? Is that all you have to run with? That's some mighty weak tea right there.

I am not an advocate of treating Burress any more harshly than any other person who brings a loaded weapon into a nightclub and then shoots himself. I believe he should be treated as if he were someone who plead guilty to a felony. I believe that his character, his past actions, and his standing in the community should have been weighed by the judge before sentencing.

Of all the NFL players who you would want to go to bat for, Burress isn't one of them. An NFL team is really going to have to hear remorse from him if they decide to bring him back. If there's genuine remorse, by all means, let the man try to redeem himself and make a living. But saying that there's any similarity between what he did and what George Steinbrenner did is an inexcuseable and intellectually dishonest conflation of events. It's cheap race baiting, nothing more.