This week in sports: Heckling lawsuits, corrupt hugs and more

Sports, Celebrity, News

The headlines don’t stop at the white line. Sometimes, they roll up the tunnel, out the locker room and all the way into the courtroom. Here are the week’s biggest legal stories in sports.


Evidence of NFL incompetence, but not deception, found in Ray Rice case

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller released a four-month report into the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case and found that the NFL’s bungling of the case was more likely due to laziness rather than willful dishonesty. Mueller found that while the NFL should have done more to investigate the case, there was no evidence the NFL received the infamous video before it was released by TMZ. CBS Sports has the story.

The hug heard around the tri-state region

New Jersey governor, potential presidential nominee and Dallas Cowboys fan Chris Christie was spotted in Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones’ corporate suite during Dallas’ playoff game against Detroit over the weekend (it wasn’t hard to see him; he was wearing a loud orange sweater). Even stranger than Jones’ refusal to high-five Christie at the end of the game is the fact that the NFL is currently suing Christie as he attempts to legalize sports betting in the state of New Jersey. Time has the story.

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Round and round the coaching merry-go-round

Coaching contracts are currently being torn up, broken, renewed and signed across the country. Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has left with one year still on his contract. Shanahan, who is rumored to have disagreed with the Browns front office over how to use quarterback Johnny Manziel, may join his father at one of the many vacant coaching positions around the league. ESPN has the story.

Meanwhile, embattled Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin has been offered an extension, according to Miami Herald reporter Adam Beasley. Philbin has a losing record with the Dolphins, who have not entered the playoffs in three seasons under Philbin’s tenure. The Miami Herald has the story.

EA Sports: It’s in the lawsuit

Another day, another sports video game gets sued. A federal appeals court has given the go-ahead for a lawsuit by former NFL players against the creators of the Madden NFL game who claim that EA Sports used their likeness without permission. EA Sports asked for the suit to be thrown out, claiming the likenesses were incidental. ESPN has the story.

Who got arrested this week?


Hawks up for sale just as they get good

After a long period of speculation, the ownership team of the Atlanta Hawks has decided to move on just as the team had one of the hottest starts to the season in years. Any bid will include operating rights to the Hawks’ home at Philips Arena, meaning that the owners intend to sell to a buyer who wants to keep the team in Atlanta. Still, that won’t stop rumors about a possible move to Seattle (Seahawks/Hawks … this could be fate). ESPN has the story.

Cavs go all in, trade players like 14-year-old playing X-Box

Trades are heating up ahead of the Feb. 19 NBA trade deadline, with the Cleveland Cavaliers the most active in the trade market this week. The Cavs made a three-way, pick-laden trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the disastrously performing New York Knicks, then flipped one of those picks in a trade with the Denver Nuggets for some much-needed rim protection in the form of Russian big man Timofey Mozgov. The multiple moves point toward the Cavs going all-in for a championship in the next two years. Sports Illustrated has both stories.

STORY OF THE WEEK: ‘Melo heckler sues the Garden after losing finance job

Brooklyn stock trader Anthony Rotondi was arrested last year on Jan. 14 and charged with interfering with a sports contest and criminal trespassing at Madison Square Garden. The reason? He heckled Knicks hero Carmelo Anthony in the final seconds of a routine Knicks loss to the Detroit Pistons. It gets worse, though: Madison Square Garden employees contacted Rotondi’s employers the following day to tell them what happened, leading to the trader’s firing. He’s now suing the Garden for “falsely accusing him of interfering with the basketball game.” NY Daily News has the story.

Meanwhile, in Florida …

Winston, accuser both make intentions clear

A characteristically busy week for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. After suffering the first on-field loss of his college career, Winston declared for the NFL draft, deciding that he’s ready to begin his professional career. Meanwhile, the woman who has accused Winston of sexual assault filed a civil suit on Wednesday against Florida State University, alleging that the college didn’t properly protect her Title IX rights and fostered a “hostile educational environment.” ESPN has the story.

Miami reaches historic swag deal

The Miami Hurricanes have signed a deal to have their student athletes swagged out in Adidas gear for the next 12 years. It’s the longest deal Adidas has ever signed with a college. ESPN has the story.

And those other sports

UFC champ can’t keep nose clean

Fresh from claiming the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title, fighter Jon Jones tested positive for cocaine and headed straight to rehab. Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Wagenheim asked if the UFC had to rethink its drug policy amid numerous inconsistencies. Sports Illustrated has the story.