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NBA files countersuit against Donald Sterling

Donald SterlingThe sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer became official on Tuesday, and Donald Sterling may end up having to give some of the $2 billion it generated back to the NBA. According to the Los Angeles Times, the NBA has filed a counterclaim against Sterling and the Sterling Family Trust seeking to recover damages stemming from the 80-year-old’s racially charged audio recordings.

The NBA’s suit is in response to Sterling suing the NBA for $1 billion after he was banned from the league for life back in May. As part of the NBA’s constitution, Sterling is supposed to compensate the league for any legal costs that stem from his detrimental conduct. The league is also seeking compensation for the money it spent to investigate Sterling’s comments and impose discipline on him.

In addition, the NBA has argued in its counterclaim that Sterling didn’t have the right to file a lawsuit against the league on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust to begin with. Two doctors declared Sterling mentally incapacitated before his antitrust suit, which means he did not have control of the trust.

We all know Sterling loves a good court battle, but it doesn’t seem like he is going to end up on the winning end of many of these cases. He has already lost his team and the NBA doesn’t seem concerned that he has any legal ground to stand on.

Tony Bosch surrenders to DEA; A-Rod’s cousin Yuri Sucart arrested

Tony-Bosch-arrested

Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch surrendered to the Drug Enforcement Agency on Tuesday morning as part of the DEA’s “Operation Strikeout.” The news was first reported by ESPN’s TJ Quinn.

Bosch has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids. The charges against Bosch are not limited to providing steroids to professional athletes, as he also allegedly distributed controlled substances to numerous high school-aged athletes.

While Bosch could face up to 10 years in prison, Quinn reports that he surrendered after his attorney struck a deal with the US Attorney’s office. If you remember, part of Bosch’s dealing with Major League Baseball included a guarantee from the league that they would put in a good word with law enforcement officials if Bosch agreed to cooperate. It is unclear what type of role — if any — Bosch’s alleged agreement with MLB played in his decision to surrender.

In addition to Bosch, several other Biogenesis associates were brought into custody on Tuesday morning. Alex Rodrguez’s cousin Yuri Sucart was also arrested on conspiracy charges.

Sucart filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against A-Rod last year after Rodriguez publicly stated that Sucart pressured him to take steroids several years ago. If the charges against Sucart are upheld, it will be interesting to see if MLB or the New York Yankees can tie him to A-Rod.

Photo: Twitter/TJ Quinn

Could Josh Gordon succeed with second-hand smoke defense?

Josh GordonJosh Gordon is set to appeal his failed drug test on Friday. He is reportedly planning to use the second-hand smoke defense, which is one we have heard from players in the past but rarely holds up during the appeals process. But as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk outlined on Tuesday, Gordon might actually have a shot.

After he tested positive for the use of codeine syrup and was suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season, Gordon was placed in the NFL’s Stage III drug program. That means he has to pass 10 drug tests per month, and Florio reports that he has passed around 70 of them. And the one time Gordon did test positive, half of his urine tested negative. Florio breaks it down:

Urine samples routinely are split into two bottles, the “A” bottle and the “B” bottle. If the “A” bottle generates a positive result, the “B” bottle is tested. Amazingly, the “B” bottle doesn’t have to independently show a violation. Instead, the substance abuse policy states that the “‘B’ bottle Test need only show that the substance, revealed in the ‘A’ bottle Test, is evident to the ‘limits of detection’ to confirm the results of the ‘A’ bottle Test.”

In English, close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and “B” bottles.

For Gordon, the “A” bottle showed a concentration of 16 ng/ml, only one nanogram per milliliter above the limits of 15. The “B” bottle showed a concentration of 13.6 ng/ml — less than the threshold.

In other words, Gordon may have failed his test simply because of the way the sample cups were labeled. Had the arbitrary “A” and “B” labels been swapped, the first urine sample tested would have been negative and he would have passed. Regardless of the way Gordon’s case turns out, that seems like a pretty significant flaw in the NFL’s testing system.

Independent of the A/B dilemma is the fact that one of Gordon’s samples tested just one nanogram per milliliter above the legal limit of 15, whereas the second sample tested 1.4 nanograms per milliliter below. While limits are limits for a reason, does Gordon have a case with the second-hand smoke argument because of how close he was to passing?

For what it’s worth, Gordon recently hired Maurice Suh — the attorney who helped Richard Sherman convince the NFL to nix his four-game suspension after he tested positive in 2012. Gordon is still facing a one-year suspension if he loses his appeal, but I wouldn’t be cutting him from my fantasy keeper league just yet.

Cubs sue fake ‘Billy Cub’ mascot who got in bar fight

As if the Chicago Cubs don’t already have enough to worry about with improving their last-place team, now they have to worry about legal matters with unauthorized mascots.

Billy Cub mascotExactly one year ago we passed along a story about the Cubs sending a cease and desist letter to a man who was parading around Wrigleyville as an unauthorized mascot. The man, John Paul Weier, wears a furry costume and Cubs jersey with the name “Billy Cub” on the back. He recruited others to wear the mascot as well, and they show up around Wrigley Field to take pictures with fans, dance with them, and do other things.

But their behavior hasn’t been that of a typical mascot.

The Cubs allege that the men charge for pictures and ask for tips. They also allegedly have made rude, profane and derogatory remarks to fans and season ticket holders. The “Billy Cub” mascot is not affiliated with the team and therefore making the organization look bad, the team says. And that is why they filed a lawsuit Friday.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs filed a lawsuit against Weier and his mascot friends, saying the men are not affiliated with the organization and that they are violating the team’s trademarks by using the character to mislead people. What’s worse is that the men are accused of trying to profit off the fake mascot character.

The Sun-Times says the suit alleges that “Weier owns or operates websites and social media accounts dedicated to promoting the Billy Cub character, and has sold merchandise related to the character.”

The Cubs are suing for damages, legal fees and all the profits the men have made from the character on grounds of trademark infringement, deceptive trade practice and injury to the Cubs’ reputation.

Surely you laugh at the thought that a fake mascot harming the Cubs’ reputation more than the Cubs have already done by not winning a World Series since 1908 … but a video of the Billy Cub punching a guy at a bar went viral a few months ago, and that’s definitely something the Cubs don’t want to be associated with. Then when you combine them mistreating fans or charging for things, that’s enough to tick off an organization. It’s clear the guy behind the “Billy Cub” is being a real jackass. The Cubs are going to win this suit and should.

Next up I hope the Cubs sue this TV network for making their mascot look even worse!

Head over to Page 2 to see many pictures of Billy Cub posing with fans.

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Donald Sterling lost his dang mind in court, berated lawyer, called out wife and NBA

Donald SterlingDonald Sterling lost his dang mind in court Tuesday when he testified in the case regarding his removal as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Donald’s wife, Shelly, had her husband examined by two doctors in May who both declared he was mentally unfit to run the team. As a result, Shelly became the sole controller of the Sterling Family Trust — which owned the Clippers — and received the NBA’s blessing to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Sterling is suing and saying he was not legally removed as owner of the team.

[Related: Donald Sterling couldn’t number a clock, spell words backwards]

The man who initially made his career and name as a lawyer was in peak condition Tuesday and as combative as you could imagine while testifying in court. ESPN’s Arash Markazi live-tweeted the testimony and described Sterling as “combative” and “argumentative.” Some of the quotes indicate Sterling called out his wife, the NBA and the opposing lawyer.

Take a look at some of these gems as described by Markazi.

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Yankees fan Andrew Robert Rector suing ESPN for showing him sleeping on TV

Andrew-Robert-RectorA New York Yankees fan who fell asleep during a game at Yankee Stadium earlier this year has filed a $10 million lawsuit against ESPN. According to the New York Post, Andrew Robert Rector specifically named ESPN anchors John Kruk and Dan Shulman in the lawsuit and has accused them of taunting him.

Rector alleges that Kruk and Shulman spewed an “avalanche of disparaging words” against him and insulted him with words like “stupor, fatty, unintelligent and stupid.” The video above shows Kruk and Shulman mocking Rector, but none of those words were said in that particular clip.

Rector, who admits that he “briefly” fell asleep during the game between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox on April 13, said the play-by-play team taunted him knowing that millions of viewers were tuning in. He claims Kruk and Shulman made “false statements” against him and suggested he “is a fatty cow that need two seats at a time” and “is a confused individual that neither understands nor knows anything about history and the meaning of rivalry between Red Sox and New York Yankee.” Yes, the typos come directly from the lawsuit.

The suit names ESPN, MLB and the Yankees as defendants. The entire complaint can be read at The Smoking Gun.

In all likelihood, Rector’s lawsuit will be dismissed. Just a gut feeling.

H/T Sporting News

US Patent Office cancels Washington Redskins’ trademark

Washington Redskins helmetIn a major development that could very well lead to the end of the Washington Redskins’ franchise name as we know it, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled on Wednesday that the Redskins’ federal trademark has been cancelled. The ruling was made on the ground that the team name is “disparaging to Native Americans.”

Travis Waldron of Think Progress first broke the news, noting that a name that is found to be disparaging, offensive or racist in nature cannot be trademarked under federal law. Amanda Blackhorse, who brought the motion against Pro-Football Inc., described the ruling as a “great victory” for Native Americans.

“I am extremely happy that the [Board] ruled in our favor,” Blackhorse said in a statement. “It is a great victory for Native Americans and for all Americans. We filed our petition eight years ago and it has been a tough battle ever since. I hope this ruling brings us a step closer to that inevitable day when the name of the Washington football team will be changed. The team’s name is racist and derogatory. I’ve said it before and I will say it again – if people wouldn’t dare call a Native American a ‘redskin’ because they know it is offensive, how can an NFL football team have this name?”

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s full decision can be read here. Here are some of the most crucial findings.

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