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Houston Rockets players accused of taunting server with homophobic slurs

Rockets-logoThe Houston Rockets have been accused of hurling homophobic slurs at a gay food server while he was setting up the buffet in their locker room at the Barclays Center last year. Rasean Tate, 28, filed a discrimination lawsuit against the team earlier this week.

According to the NY Daily News, the lawsuit alleges that several Rockets players taunted Tate while he had his back turned.

“Get this f—-t out of here!” an unnamed player allegedly said. “He’s trying to catch a sneaky peeky!”

Tate’s lawyer Marjorie Masador claimed the insults were “loud and gregarious” and that several players harassed him with their voices overlapping. A Brooklyn Nets representative claims to have witnessed the taunting, at which point he told Tate to leave the locker room so he could finish setting up the buffet.

“I think there’s a bit of irony that this occurred in the same place where a person’s (Jason Collins) sexual identity is accepted and welcomed with openness, while in the same place a visiting team chose to degrade Rasean and set us back,” Masador said.

I don’t really think the Nets signing Collins has any relevance to the lawsuit, but it certainly doesn’t sound good for the Rockets. The team has not commented on the alleged incident, while the Nets reportedly apologized to the catering manager from Tate’s company and had their players attend a class on “tolerance and sensitivity training.” Neither the Nets nor the Barclays center are being sued.

Tate also said he was suspended without pay in January for failing to follow instructions, but he believes the suspension was a result of his sexual harassment suit. Unless there is a lot more to the story than what we have heard, this has settlement written all over it for the Rockets.

Frank Thomas suing Reebok over retro ‘Big Hurt’ sneakers

Reebok-Big-Hurt-retro

Chicago White Sox legend Frank Thomas is suing one of his former endorsement partners. Reebok released a “Big Hurt” retro sneaker last year. According to TMZ, Thomas claims he was never made aware that the sports apparel company was going to use his name for another product.

Thomas says he was signed with Reebok from 1995-1998, when his original “Big Hurt” trademark was used on a variety of Reebok products. However, Reebok reportedly did not seek his permission when resurrecting the trademark in 2013.

Thomas believes the release of the shoe makes it seem like he signed off on the product, when in reality he did not see any of the profits. He is asking a judge to block Reebok from continuing to sell the sneakers and also to pay him damages and any profit the company made from the “Big Hurt” retros.

You can understand why Thomas, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in January, is upset if Reebok never spoke to him. Signing an endorsement deal for three years in the 1990s does not give a company permission to produce new products using your trademark 15 years later.

Mike McQueary reportedly said he was a sexual abuse victim

Mike McQuearyFormer Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary told Nittany Lions players that he could relate to a Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse victim because he too had been abused as a boy, according to a report.

ESPN The Magazine’s Don Van Natta Jr. profiled McQueary, who is a key witness in the conspiracy trial of three former Penn State executives accused of covering of Sandusky’s crimes. In the profile, Van Natta Jr. says McQueary told players during a Nov. 2011 meeting that he had been sexually abused as a boy. That meeting was held when the Sandusky scandal was going on. McQueary was an offensive coach at Penn State at the time. He did not say how old he was when he was abused nor who abused him.

McQueary was initially widely criticized for not stopping the sexual crime he witnessed between Sandusky and a young boy inside the Penn State locker room. It wasn’t until after all the criticism that McQueary said he made sure the act stopped before he left and eventually reported to Joe Paterno what he saw.

Though Paterno’s legacy and status took a major hit as many believed he allowed Sandusky to get away with all the sexual abuse, McQueary says he still reveres JoePa.

“I love that man more than you can ever possibly say,” McQueary told The Mag. “He’s an unbelievable man. He did unbelievable things. He handled this thing in the best way he could. Was it foolproof or perfect? No. But I didn’t handle this in a foolproof or perfect way either. I am loyal to him to this day. I absolutely love him.”

McQueary is also involved in a whistleblower lawsuit filed against Penn State. He says his reputation took a major hit because of the whole situation and that he believes he can no longer work in coaching.

The defense reportedly plans to question McQueary’s character. One thing they’ve found is that McQueary supposedly gambled while in college and racked up a debt. He supposedly bet on college football and NFL games and even lost money betting on Penn State.

Alex Rodriguez’s lawyer Joe Tacopina sues Daily News reporters

Joe-TacopinaAlex Rodriguez may have dropped all of his lawsuits on Friday pertaining to the 162-game suspension he has been ordered to serve, but one of his attorneys is not done taking legal action. Joe Tacopina, one of New York’s top criminal defense lawyers, has filed a $15 million defamation lawsuit against two NY Daily News reporters.

According to The Star-Ledger, the suit accuses Nathaniel Vinton and Michael O’Keeffe of being “obsessed with ridding the sports world for performance-enhancing drugs” to the point where they tried to discredit Tacopina by getting one of his past clients, New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, to file a false ethics claim against him.

Tacopina alleged that Vinton and O’Keeffee wrote a “hit piece” on him and unfairly covered the A-Rod saga in an attempt to persecute the New York Yankees slugger.

Tacopina also claims in the suit that Kerik is a “convicted felon” who attempted to clear his name by blaming his criminal convictions for corruption and fraud on his former lawyer (Tacopina). Kerik was sentenced to four years in prison in 2010 after admitting to tax fraud and lying to the White House while he was being considered for the Homeland Security secretary job.

Vinton and O’Keeffe said in pieces they have written that Tacopina “disclosed privileged information in his case and had failed to notify (Kerik) that he’d been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors.” Tacopina claims those allegations, among others, are false.

The song that never ends must go on

Eli Manning, Giants sued for allegedly selling fake memorabilia

Eli-Manning-GiantsA bizarre lawsuit has been filed against Eli Manning and the New York Giants that claims the quarterback and team have been knowingly distributing football gear and passing it off as game-worn. According to court documents obtained by the NY Post, the Giants have taken new equipment and doctored it to make it appear like it was worn during games.

Eric Inselberg, a sports collector who was indicted for memorabilia fraud for selling fake used sports jerseys in 2011, filed the suit against the team on Wednesday in an attempt at retribution. Inselberg claims a helmet on display at the Hall of Fame in Canton that was supposedly worn by Manning during the 2008 Super Bowl is one of dozens of “fake” items that the Giants have created.

The court documents allege that Manning took part in the scheme so he could keep personal items for himself. Inselberg claims that Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba openly discussed Manning’s phony gear in an email exchange back in 2008.

[Read more...]

Darren Sharper says he has video proving innocence in New Orleans sexual assault case

Darren SharperDarren Sharper is being investigated for three different alleged sexual assaults. Two of them allegedly took place in hotel rooms in Los Angeles, and the other allegedly took place in New Orleans. Sharper’s team says they have video proof that suggests the sex between Sharper and the woman in New Orleans was consensual.

The woman in the New Orleans case filed a police report in September saying she had consumed large quantities of alcohol and had sex with Sharper against her will. But Sharper’s lawyer says they have surveillance footage that confirms witness accounts that say the woman willingly followed Sharper around throughout the evening.

The video has been turned over to investigators, and Sharper’s lawyer told TMZ Sports that they believe the video suggests no sexual assault occurred.

Sharper has not been charged in Louisiana, and his lawyers say that’s because investigators do not believe there is a good case against him.

Nola.com has more details about the allegations. The woman told police she met Sharper at a bar and that he took her back to his place, where they had sex, which she says was not consensual.

Both LAPD and NOPD have classified the cases as the type that could occur when an alleged victim is unable to consent.

We can’t speak to this individual case, though we don’t think a video showing that a woman was following him around means that no sexual assault occurred. Also, if three separate people have made sexual assault claims against Sharper in the past few months, it certainly is a troubling sign.

Little League coach Alan Beck sues his own player for celebrating a win

Little-League-helmetStop me if you’ve heard this one before — a 14-year-old Little League player is being sued by his own coach, who claims he was injured when the boy recklessly threw his helmet in celebration. Since I’m fairly confident you’ve never heard that before, allow me to continue.

Joe Paris, the father of the boy (and in this case the defendant), told KCRA in California on Tuesday that his teenaged son has been named in a civil summons filed in Placer County Superior Court. The boy’s former coach, Alan Beck, contends that he “carelessly threw a helmet, striking Plaintiff’s Achilles tendon and tearing it.” Paris said he thought the lawsuit was a joke at first.

“At first I thought it was joke,” he said. “Now, I think it’s absurd.”

Paris said the play occurred when his son was racing toward home plate to score the winning run in a Lakeside Little League game last spring. Like many MLB players have done in similar situations, he threw his helmet in celebration. Now, Beck is seeking $500,000 for pain and suffering and another $100,000 for lost wages and medical bills.

Beck’s attorney Gene Goldsman shed some light on the suit in a phone call with KCRA on Wednesday morning.

“I don’t think the boy meant to harm him,” Goldsman said. “But, this wasn’t a part of the game. A guy who volunteers his time to coach should not be subjected to someone who throws a helmet in the manner that he did. What the kid did, it crossed the line.”

Unless the boy fired the helmet in anger at his coach, we’re pretty confident he didn’t cross the line. While a legal expert told KCRA that children can be sued for their actions in the state of California, he doesn’t expect Beck to have an easy time proving intent to injure on a baseball field.

“If he deliberately hurt somebody, then it’s a stronger case and a stronger case that his parents could be held liable, but kids playing a kids’ game in a contact sport — and baseball is a contact sport — that’s going to be a tougher case,” Bill Portanova explained.

I think we have enough information here to call this one of the most ridiculous lawsuits ever filed. Hopefully a judge feels the same way.

H/T Hardball Talk