Crime, Free Speech, Sports, United Kingdom / Great Britain

Sports Law, Spaw, Lorts: An Introduction

Ed. note: This column will be about sports. And the law. And the intersection of those two things. And whatever the hell else Juggalo Law can come up with.

One summer during my childhood, I wanted nothing more than five copies of X-Force number one. I must have spent a solid two months harassing my mother and, when she finally had had enough, she relented, saying she’d buy the comic book for me if I hit a home run in my next little league game. She could have just said no. Because I didn’t stand a chance that summer. I was afraid of the ball and would flinch ever-so-gently as soon as the ball was pitched towards the plate. I’d try to catch up to its trajectory, but I was toast every single time. When the next game arrived, I had forgotten about my mom’s promise. And, in my last at-bat, I flinched, closed my eyes, and then swung at what I could only hope was the ball. Home run. My only home run. My sweetest accomplishment ever in baseball. My only accomplishment, really. As we walked into the house after the game, I loudly reminded my mom of her promise. She shrugged and continued inside. And that’s when my sister asked me one seemingly innocuous question. “What’s that on your pants?” Do I have to tell you, dear readers? Do I have to confess to you that there was urine on my otherwise clean and unfortunately bright white pants, a memento left in loving memory of my fear or my relief or my pride?

Fact is, I can’t really remember why I peed a little. LET’S TALK SPORTS!


The Olympics are probably the finest collection of sports I don’t care about ever assembled. From running to swimming to judo to badminton, every four years provides a feast for the senses and, most importantly, a time to learn something. For instance, did you know that trolling is illegal in the United Kingdom? Just this week, a man was arrested for being cybermean to a British diver:

Police arrested a 17-year-old man on suspicion of malicious communication after British diver Tom Daley received tweets saying he had let down his deceased father by finishing fourth and failing to win a medal.

Now, I have no idea about the veracity of this poor troll’s claims. If anything, the dead dad was likely waaay more pissed when his son chose a weird sport like diving over soccer (sorry, football). At any rate, the fact that the UK outlaws trolling is a fascinating reminder that Mitt Romney was right when he said Great Britain was a disgusting little island overrun by cretins and werewolves. Lawyer Trevor Watkins explains the queer British statute:

“The rules are very clear on what you can and cannot do and say,” Watkins said. “But we are now living in a different world from before where we are dealing with instant communication and anything said is repeated again and again and around the world. There needs to be flexibility and adaptability to handle this.”

Britain’s Malicious Communications Act makes it illegal to send or deliver letters or other articles to cause “distress or anxiety.” This also applies to electronic communications.

The article ends without mentioning once whether the mens rea of “wanting lulz” factors into sentencing.


Marc Edelman addressed the last interesting thing about the Sandusky fallout at Penn State yesterday. While L’Affaire Sandusky swallowed up all the oxygen in the sports and child molestation media universe, another case of assistant coach misbehavior got comparatively little attention. But what attention it did get is now the basis of a lawsuit. If you’re not familiar with the Bernie Fine case, go here. The investigation is ongoing and, due to unreliable accusers and statutes of limitation, it’s unclear what the result of it all will be. Save for sadness. Plenty of sad people saying really sad things and behaving sadly. The latest sad person is Bernie’s wife, Laurie, who is suing ESPN for their reporting on the case. A libel suit is difficult to win in this country and ESPN moved just last week to dismiss part of Laurie Fine’s lawsuit:

In the motion, ESPN stands by its reporting of the telephone conversation taped by Davis. Fine and her lawyer, Lawrence Fisher, have said that the full 47-minute conversation would show that Fine was defending her husband, not incriminating him.

ESPN argues that the additional excerpts from the full conversation are even more damning of Laurie Fine than the excerpts published. The motion includes several sections of the transcript — sections in which Davis claims to descibe how Bernie Fine molested him and Laurie Fine does not protest that contention.

Like I said, sad. Now, I would like nothing more than for ESPN to be burned down to the cold Bristol ground for an offense like this. The network has been the most terrifying, homogenizing and fascistic creation in the entire sports world, rivaled only by your typical high school football coach. As far as I can tell, the only difference between the two is that ESPN would never suspect you of selling weed to its players. But I digress. ESPN’s motion is scheduled to be heard on September 7th. On the 8th, Penn State squares off against Virginia. Not that they’re related or anything.


The NCAA is a crooked, morally bankrupt institution run by fools and hypocrites. Anyone who comes into contact with the organization inevitably comes out smelling like Andy Dufresne after his escape from Shawshank. And the legal profession is no exception. All the great work Jerry Maguire did in rehabilitating this profession’s image has been eroded by the slow and steady drip of news stories about sports agents. This week, it was Central Florida that got hammered for allowing the ideal of amateurism to be sullied. has a useful summary of the charges and they’re pretty much what you’d expect. Some broke-ass kids got a little money and now Michael Jordan’s son can transfer to another school. Typical stuff. Less typical is the video Deadspin unearthed yesterday, showing the runner at the center of the UCF scandal practicing his mad vlogging skills. Put yourself in professional reading room and watch the whole thing. And if you’re considering dipping your toe into the sports agent pool, don’t hire this guy:


* Arizona Cardinals defensive end Ronald Talley stands accused of beating a man with a champagne bottle. The man’s well-spoken attorney had this to say, “The scalp has healed but the insides of his head will never be the same.” Hahahahaha. The insides.

* Former running back Jamal Lewis was arrested this week for failure to pay child support. Lewis chalks it up to a misunderstanding. He thought she was on the pill.

* This happened last week, but it’s still worth noting. Oklahoma State basketball player Darrell Williams was convicted of something called rape by instrumentation. I don’t have a joke here.


Listen kids, I don’t want this to be a one-way street. This sports law thing. I want it to be interactive and fun. I want to be like Peter King and tell you about the cup of coffee I drank at the Ramada Inn in Latrobe, PA last week and I want you to actually be able to taste that f**king cup of coffee. So in service of that goal, I’m going to end this post with a fun quiz that you can take hacks at in the comments section. This quiz is going to be real simple. Just a beginner’s level test for those brave souls who made it through this godforsaken post. Okay, here goes. I’m going to list four quotes for you. A, B, C, and D. Your job is to guess whether the quote listed is from infamous superagent (and inspiration for Jerry Maguire) Leigh Steinberg, or noted Bohemian-Austrian poet and author of Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. Okay, here’s the quotes!

A) “I’d like to add that negotiating is not something to be avoided or feared – it’s an everyday part of life.”

B) “But the truth is, growing up in California, we knew nothing about hockey.”

C) “Ich bin auf der Welt zu allein und doch nicht allein genug”

D) “As for football in L.A., it’s going to take a loooong time before another team comes here.”

Cyberbullies targeting athletes told to back off [The Daily Star]
ESPN files motion to dismiss part of Laurie Fine’s libel lawsuit []
Central Florida hit with one-year postseason ban in both sports []
Rainer Maria Rilke [Wikiquote]

(hidden for your protection)

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