Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditMonday, October 3, 2022

Legal Matters

Ex-Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson suing team over his firing

Donnie Nelson

The relationship between the Dallas Mavericks and former general manager Donnie Nelson has taken another ugly turn.

ESPN’s Don Van Natta reported on Thursday that Nelson has filed a lawsuit against the team. Nelson is alleging that Mavs owner Mark Cuban fired him in 2020 as retaliation for reporting a sexual harassment incident. Nelson claims that his nephew was sexually harassed and sexually assaulted by Cuban’s chief of staff, Jason Lutin, during a job interview in 2020.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Dallas County court, further describes Lutin as Cuban’s right-hand man and alleges the incident with Nelson’s nephew took place in a Chicago hotel room during All-Star Weekend in 2020.

Cuban sent an email to ESPN denying the claims made in Nelson’s lawsuit.

“Everything in that filing is a lie,” Cuban said. “We did multiple complete investigations and the only person that did not live up to the standards of the Dallas Mavericks was Mr. Nelson. He was fired as a result. He was well aware of the investigation. He refused to fully participate. I will say it again, everything he said is a lie.”

Lutin also sent a separate email to ESPN saying that the allegations were “a complete lie.”

You can read more details about the lawsuit and about the alleged incident between Lutin and Nelson’s nephew in Van Natta’s full article here.

Lutin is not listed on the Mavericks’ staff directory for this season but was listed as “Chief of Staff to Owner” as recently as the 2019-20 NBA season.

As for Nelson, the son of former Dallas coach Don Nelson, he was employed by the Mavs for 24 seasons in total, culminating with a promotion to head of basketball operations. He had a successful tenure with the team, including an NBA title in 2011 and the draft-day trade for current franchise star Luka Doncic in 2018. But Nelson was let go last summer (allegedly for a different reason than reporting the alleged sexual harassment incident). He has also had some bitter moments with the Mavs since his firing.

Nelson’s lawsuit feels like deja vu all over again for the Mavs. A few years ago, they got punished by the NBA for an allegedly toxic and uncomfortable workplace environment, also involving claims of sexual harassment.

Photo: Jerome Miron-USA Today Sports

Legal expert reveals how long Brittney Griner could be in Russia

Brittney Griner looking on

Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for a month, and it does not sound like the WNBA star’s legal situation is anywhere close to being resolved.

Russian state news agency Tass said Thursday that a court near Moscow has extended Griner’s detention until May 19, according to The Associated Press. Griner was detained at a Moscow airport on Feb. 17 after authorities allegedly found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. She is said to be facing up to 10 years in prison.

Thursday’s decision extends the amount of time Griner can be detained until she stands trial. ESPN’s TJ Quinn says he was told by a former Department of Justice legal advisor to the US embassy in Moscow that Griner could be held for up to a year before her trial. The pre-trial detention period can be extended to 18 months under extraordinary circumstances.

Griner is being held in a cell with two other female detainees who were accused of drug offenses, according to Tass. Her cellmates speak English and have been helping her communicate.

The United States government has been monitoring the Griner situation and trying to work with Russian authorities to have the 31-year-old released. Griner and other WNBA players play in Russia during the offseason. All of the others have since left the country amid the ongoing feud between Russia and Ukraine.

Russian state media last week released the first known photo of Griner since she was arrested.

Photo: Mar 12, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner in attendance of the Phoenix Suns game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens’ Gus Edwards sues strip club over alleged armed robbery

Gus Edwards

Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards says he was robbed at gunpoint outside a strip club in Los Angeles a few months ago, and he says the establishment was responsible for the incident.

Edwards recently filed a lawsuit against Crazy Girls in L.A. In the suit, which was obtained by TMZ, Edwards says he and his friend Loomis Zayzay were robbed outside the club on Dec. 11 by five masked men who all had guns. The men allegedly stole Edwards’ $50,000 custom necklace and $25,000 custom watch as well as Zayzay’s $60,000 watch.

Edwards says he and Zayzay paid $60 each to valet their cars and then $800 to sit in a private area inside the club. They left after about an hour because some of the club’s employees began fighting. The robbery took place when they went to retrieve their cars from the valet.

The lawsuit states that video evidence shows Crazy Girls security guards made no attempt to intervene in the robbery. Edwards says he received a message on Instagram a week later from a person named “Johnny Blaze” who told him he had been “set up by the valet.” The person who contacted Edwards said the jewelry had been taken to a local jewelry store after it was stolen. Edwards was able to confirm that information with the jeweler.

Edwards and Zayzay are suing Crazy Girls and their valet service for $800,000 in damages.

Edwards did not play at all in 2021, as he was one of several key Ravens players who suffered injuries prior to the season. He has been with Baltimore since they signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

Deshaun Watson will not face criminal charges

Deshaun Watson in pads

Deshaun Watson has been accused of sexual assault by nearly two dozen women, but the Houston Texans star will not face criminal charges.

A grand jury in Harris County, Texas, on Friday declined to indict Watson on sexual assault charges. Watson had been under investigation after several massage therapists filed criminal complaints alleging that he sexually assaulted them.

There are still 22 civil lawsuits pending against Watson. Tony Buzbee, the attorney who represents all of the women, said during the summer that his legal team is preparing to try each of the alleged victims’ cases in front of a jury. He did not totally rule out settlements, however.

The NFL will now conduct its own investigation into the allegations against Watson. The Houston Texans star could still face a suspension, but teams will be much more willing to make trade offers for him now that the criminal investigation has concluded.

Watson, 26, did not play at all last season. He threw for 4,823 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2020 before demanding a trade after the season. The Texans have made it clear that they still intend to move on from Watson.

Watson has a full no-trade clause, so he will have a say in where he ends up. One NFC team may have already emerged as the favorite to land him.

Photo: Aug 17, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) before a game against the Detroit Lions at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Woman claiming Jerry Jones is her father not motivated by ‘fame or fortune’

Jerry Jones wears sunglasses

A woman filed a lawsuit against Jerry Jones last week alleging that the Dallas Cowboys owner is her biological father. According to the woman’s attorneys, she is only seeking an acknowledgement.

Alexandra Davis, a 25-year-old Congressional aide who lives in Washington, D.C., claims she has lived her entire life without a father after Jones paid her mother, Cynthia Davis Spencer, $375,000 in 1996 to sign a confidentiality agreement. The agreement prohibited Alexandra or Cynthia from ever stating that Jones is Alexandra’s biological father. Jones, whose lawyer set set up two trusts linked to the then 1-year-old girl and her mother, denied that he was Alexandra’s father in the settlement.

The lawsuit alleges that Davis has “lived her life fatherless and in secret and in fear that if she should tell anyone who her father was, she and her mother would lose financial support, or worse.” On Thursday, Davis’ lawyers issued a statement saying their client is not motivated by “fame or fortune.” She is not looking for money.

“Ms. Davis’ lawsuit does not seek the recovery of money,” Davis’ lawyers, Andrew A. Bergman and Jay K. Gray, of Dallas, wrote in a statement to ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. “Ms. Davis’ lawsuit seeks only to have a Court declare that she is not bound to an agreement entered into that attempts to prohibit her from stating who her real father is. Surely, anyone can understand this need of a child no matter what age to have the ability to say they have a father without the fear of reprisal.”

The lawsuit states that Jones courted Davis Spencer in 1995 when she was working at the American Airlines ticket counter in Little Rock, Ark. Davis Spencer was estranged from her husband and going through a divorce at the time.

“Defendant Jones, with the help of lawyers, knowing that Cynthia was now a single mother with a very young child and an uncertain financial future at best, set out to negotiate a ‘settlement’ that would exchange money for silence [‘hush money’],” the lawsuit states.

Davis’ lawyers also said Thursday that their client only filed a lawsuit after Jones ignored numerous attempts to address the matter in private. The trusts that Jones set up in 1996 remain in effect.

Davis has agreed to have the court records temporarily sealed at the request of Jones. The lawsuit was discovered before the documents were sealed.

Jones, 79, has not commented on the matter.

Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman takes plea deal and avoids jail over 2021 arrest

Richard Sherman at the podium

Richard Sherman has worked out a deal with the courts to resolve his 2021 arrest.

Sherman on Monday pleaded guilty to 1st degree negligent driving and 2nd degree criminal trespass over his arrest last year in King County, Wash. The 33-year-old cornerback will pay $2,500 in court fees and remain under court supervision for up to two years.

Sherman avoids additional jail time as part of his sentence. The judge in the case ordered Sherman to serve 90 days in jail. But Sherman received 88 days suspended plus credit for the two days in jail he served last year following his arrest, the Tacoma News Tribune reports.

Sherman’s wife Ashley called 911 last year after observing Richard acting erratically and belligerently following a night of drinking. She said the 5-time Pro Bowler was talking about killing himself.

Richard drove through a construction zone and then went to the home of his in-laws, where he was captured on camera trying to force his way into the home. Sherman was arrested on suspicion of burglary and there was a domestic violence aspect to the allegation due to the home belonging to family.

He is lucky to escape without further punishment given the allegation from his wife that Sherman was drinking that night.

Sherman is towards the end of his NFL career. He played five games in 2020 for the 49ers and five games last season for the Buccaneers.

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cain Velasquez denied bail over ‘reckless’ behavior

Cain Velasquez in the cage

Cain Velasquez has been denied bail in his attempted murder case.

Velasquez was arrested on Feb. 28 after allegedly shooting a man, who was treated for non-life threatening injuries. He was charged with attempted murder following the shooting.

The 39-year-old MMA fighter reportedly was shooting at a man who is accused of molesting one of Cain’s family members.

Velasquez had a hearing on Monday in Santa Clara County and was denied bail. Judge Shelyna Brown determined Velasquez was too much of a risk based on his “reckless” behavior.

“This case involves allegations of extreme recklessness to human life,” Judge Brown said via MMA Junkie. “Ramming a vehicle in the middle of the day where our citizens are out driving, going about their business, and shooting out of a car at other individuals, which is reckless by any standard. Anyone could’ve been injured. Anyone could’ve been killed. When this court looks at Article 1, Section 12, it is this level of risk that the court must take into consideration. With that said, this court is making a ruling that the risk is too great. There will be no bail set at this time.”

The former two-time UFC heavyweight champion is due back in court on April 12.

Photo: Feb 17, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cain Velasquez (blue gloves) before his fight against Francis Ngannou (not pictured) before their bout during UFC Fight Night at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Ngannou won via first round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Bauer files defamation lawsuit against Deadspin

Trevor Bauer on the field

Trevor Bauer secured one legal victory over the sexual assault allegations he faced last year, and now he is seeking another.

Bauer announced on Thursday that he has filed a defamation lawsuit against sports website Deadspin. Bauer is specifically suing Deadspin managing editor Chris Baud and the website’s parent company, G/O Media. In his lawsuit, Bauer accuses Deadspin of knowingly publishing false information about him.

Bauer’s lawsuit accuses Deadspin of targeting the pitcher with malicious comments about him and his character for several years. The specific defamation allegation centers around Deadspin writing that Bauer fractured the skull of his accuser.

Bauer’s representatives have said that the woman’s CT scan showed no fracture. Bauer’s representatives apparently reached out to Deadspin three times to have them make a correction regarding their assertion that Bauer fractured the woman’s skull. Bauer’s team says they were ignored and then sent a follow-up letter accusing Deadspin of defamation, to which the media company’s general counsel responded.

Bauer’s legal team says SI and ESPN are among those who issued corrections regarding the accusation that Bauer fractured the woman’s skull. Even after these corrections were issued, Deadspin continued to publish in subsequent articles that Bauer had fractured the woman’s skull. They wrote in a subsequent story that the woman had “her skull fractured” by Bauer.

Bauer argues and showed proof that Deadspin continued to target him with negative stories even after a judge denied the woman’s request for a restraining order, and even after Bauer was not charged.

The below paragraphs are excerpted directly from Bauer’s legal complaint, except where LBS edited for profanity:

“The Article was the culmination of an unrelenting campaign by Deadspin to defame and impugn Mr. Bauer. For years Deadspin repeatedly and maliciously targeted Mr. Bauer, accusing him of harassment and misogynistic behavior, and called him an “online bully,” “a–hole,” a “racist, sexist, jack—,” and a “douche canoe.” Consistent with that continued harassment, G/O Media and Mr. Baud deliberately avoided the truth and fabricated the narrative that Mr. Bauer fractured the Complainant’s skull. To serve their narrative of attacking Mr. Bauer, Mr. Baud and G/O Media deliberately ignored the many sources revealing the truth—including corrections to the very The Athletic article on which G/O Media and Mr. Baud relied. They falsely stated that Mr. Bauer fractured the Complainant’s skull, knowing it was false, all with the purpose and intent to harm Mr. Bauer.

“Deadspin’s malicious and reckless disregard of the truth in the Article reflects a years-long effort to harass Mr. Bauer, impugn his reputation, and spread falsehoods about him.”

You can read the full legal complaint here.

Bauer ended up missing the rest of the season after being accused of sexual assault. He is a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the Dodgers may not want him back next season. Bauer could face a suspension from MLB despite not being charged.

Deadspin is operating under a new ownership group. It was previously run and owned by Gawker Media, which filed for bankruptcy after being found guilty of invasion of privacy (and more) over publishing a Hulk Hogan sex tape. After Gawker filed for bankruptcy, Deadspin was sold to Univision. Univision later sold Deadspin to G/O Media, where the site is now facing another damaging lawsuit.

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Cain Velasquez shot at man accused of molesting Cain’s family member

Cain Velasquez in a mug shot

Cain Velasquez was arrested on attempted murder charges Monday for allegedly shooting at a man in Morgan Hill, Calif. Now we have more information about the alleged incident.

Both the San Jose Mercury News and NBC Bay Area report that the man Velasquez shot at is Harry Eugene Goularte.

Goularte, 43, was charged last week with one felony count of a lewd and lascivious act with a child under the age of 14. Goularte was let out on his own recognizance and granted supervised release.

Goularte hosts a daycare run by his mother. Both outlets report that a family member of Velasquez is one of the alleged victims.

Goularte apparently denied the allegation.

According to NBC Bay Area, “the statement of fact written by the investigating detective states the victim reported the abuse occurred in the day care bathroom, and the victim saw other children go in there with Goularte as well, but that Goularte denied any wrongdoing, saying he once just helped a child put his pants on correctly.”

Goularte and his father were in the car that Velasquez allegedly shot at. Velasquez allegedly hit Goularte’s father with the fired shot.

Velasquez, 39, was a two-time UFC heavyweight champion.

Photo: Feb 17, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cain Velasquez (blue gloves) before his fight against Francis Ngannou (not pictured) before their bout during UFC Fight Night at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Ngannou won via first round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Oliver Luck lawsuit against Vince McMahon gets new trial date

Vince McMahon portrait

A new trial date has been set in the legal case between Oliver Luck and Vince McMahon.

Luck was hired in 2018 to serve as the commissioner and CEO of the XFL, which was revived in 2020 before being shutdown due to the pandemic. The XFL filed for bankruptcy in 2020 and fired Luck for cause despite the three years left on his deal.

Shortly after his firing, Luck filed a lawsuit against the XFL and McMahon, saying he was still owed over $23 million in guaranteed wages. McMahon filed a lawsuit in response, saying Luck was fired for cause.

Now, a trial date of July 11 has been set for the matter.

The XFL 2020 was a revival of the league, which originally debuted in 2001. Both iterations only lasted one year, or, in the case of 2020, didn’t make it through a full season.

The XFL’s brand name and assets were sold to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia. The league is set for another revival in 2023.

Tip via Big Daddy
Photo: Jan 18, 2018; Stamford, CT, USA; WWE founder and chairman Vince McMahon poses for a portrait photo. McMahon announced that the XFL will re-launch in 2020. Mandatory Credit: Craig Ambrosio/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports