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Defamation actions can be the most emotionally driven court cases, where one party charges another for communicating (either orally or through written means) a false statement of fact that results in reputational harm. These cases can also be some of the toughest for plaintiffs to prevail on after paying their filing fees, and at times extremely lucrative when the evidence plays in the plaintiffs’ favor. Here, we look at what could occur should a high profile sports battle be waged in a court of law, with the focus on an alleged defamatory statement.
The Incident That Led To Myles Garrett’s Suspension.
Defensive end Myles Garrett ripped quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet off of his head and swung it at him near the end of a Thursday Night Football matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. After the game, Garrett admitted to his wrongful action, stating, “I lost my cool and regret it. It’s going to come back to hurt our team.”
But could it also hurt Garrett off the field, in a court of law?
NFL players have reportedly been recently entering into Income Purchase Agreements, which are contracts that involve an up-front payment by a third party to a player in exchange for the player promising the third party a percentage of his current and future NFL contracts. The NFL Players Association caught wind of these Income Purchase Agreements and, while the Association has not barred players from entering into such agreements, it has provided a stern warning to certified Contract Advisors.
Before one can sue for breach of contract, he must be able to prove that there is an enforceable contract under which to sue. In Florida, it has been stated many times that contracts with minors can be voidable, and a minor has a legal right to disavow a contract, because of minority.
Ohio State was denied the trademark registration to “THE” and LeBron James lost in an attempt to register “TACO TUESDAY.”
Neither outcome should be shocking, whether you are a trademark attorney or not.
Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady filed a trademark application to register the mark “Tom Terrific.” Three-time NBA champion LeBron James recently initiated an effort to register the trademark “Taco Tuesday.”
We love a recent article written by Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. Titled, Branded or not, Raptors teammates sport their own signature gear, Woike looks at how various members of the Raptors are taking branding into their own hands, with some going the extra step to ensure that their marks are protected.
One athlete featured in the piece is Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who contributed 21 points in the Raptors Game 5 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Woike has taken notice of VanVleet’s ambition and desire to protect and build his own brand, and Heitner Legal has assisted throughout the process.
In 2013, Cleodis Floyd was victorious in an arbitration against the National Football League Players Association after the union denied his NFL agent application. The union did not want to certify him because Floyd was previously convicted of fraud.
NBA superstar Andrew Wiggins was destined to become one of the most prominent basketball players in the world. The 2014 first overall pick that was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves had many sports agencies knocking on his door to represent him for the draft and thereafter. Ultimately, Wiggins chose agent Bill Duffy and his agency BDA Sports, but not before he called on Heitner Legal to assist him with negotiating the agency deal.
Far too many players will sign on the dotted line with a sports agency and without truly understanding the terms within the contract. That is not so much a problem with the standard representation agreements that govern commissions on NBA and team contracts in other leagues. It becomes more of an issue for off-court and off-field deals. But Wiggins was wise in having Heitner Legal look through the agreement that would bind him with BDA Sports, and after some negotiations, Wiggins ultimately signed with the agency.
Wiggins also asked Heitner Legal to help with some off-court marketing contracts and we assisted him with negotiating a contract with Monster, LLC, a mobile app developer for the creation of a video game and sports beverage and supplement brand BioSteel Sports Supplements Inc.