This Week In Sports Law: Michael Jordan Wins In China, Matt Barnes And DeMarcus Cousins Sued – Forbes

Michael Jordan Earns Most Valuable Chinese Court Win

Michael Jordan is not only the king of the basketball court; MJ has shown his prowess in the court of law. Even more impressive about his recent win is that it was abroad, through a Chinese legal system that is not always friendly to foreigners.

The court ruled that Jordan owns the legal rights to the Chinese characters of the equivalent of his name in a case that had been pending against Qiadon Sports Company. Jordan had claimed that the Chinese company was improperly using his publicity rights to build its brand and sell its goods.

It is an important decision not only because it involves Jordan, but also because other celebrities will be able to cite to precedent if Chinese companies try to use their names and/or likelinesses in connection with the sale of goods or products.

“Chinese consumers deserve to know that Qiaodan Sports and its products have no connection to me. Nothing is more important than protecting your own name, and today’s decision shows the importance of that principle,” said Jordan.

Setback For Student-Athletes Seeking To Be Labeled Employees

College athletes have been attempting to be classified as employees of universities for some time, and a recent ruling in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is a setback for them, at least in that particular jurisdiction. The Seventh Circuit covers parts of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The court held that there is a tradition of amateurism in college sports, which is dependent, in part, on college athletes participating in sporting events for reasons unrelated to compensation.

“Appellants in this case have not, and quite frankly cannot, allege that the activities they pursued as student athletes qualify as ‘work’ sufficient to trigger the minimum wage requirement of the FLSA,” wrote Judge Michael Kanne. “Although we do not doubt that student athletes spend a tremendous amount of time playing for their respective schools, they do so – and have done so for over a hundred years under the NCAA – without any real expectation of earning an income.”

Matt Barnes And DeMarcus Cousins Sued For Assault And Battery

Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins have been sued for New York nightclub altercation. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

A warning that a lawsuit was coming was provided by the lawyer for a couple who was allegedly assaulted by NBA player Matt Barnes. Additionally, the lawyer said that Barnes would be joined as a co-defendant by his teammate DeMarcus Cousins.

Apparently, the threats were real. The lawsuit was filed against the aforementioned individuals in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. It claims that the underlying act occured on December 5 at Avenue Nighclub in New York.

“At approximately 3:00am, a commotion amongst Defendants, and those with them in the nightclub’s VIP area, began. Plaintiffs were not part of this group. Shortly thereafter, Defendant MATT BARNES intentionally approached Plaintiff JASMINE BESISO in a harmful and offensive manner. Immediately thereafter, Defendant MATT BARNES intentionally grabbed Plaintiff JASMINE BESISO by the neck and began choking her,” reads the Complaint.

Additionally, the Plaintiff claims that Cousins intentionally punched Plaintiff Myrone Powell in the face.

Packers Defensive Tackle Mike Pennel Punished Again

Mike Pennel’s odds were stacked against him when he entered the NFL. Undrafted free agents have a difficult path to gaining playing time, except the Green Bay Packers defense is in desperate need of performers. Unfortunately for Pennel, he is being barred from being on the field.

Pennel has been suspended for the final four games of the Packers season based on a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. This is Pennel’s second suspension for that type of violation.

Interestingly, Pennel appears to have benefited by way of the four game suspension. Under league rules, Pennel could have been punished with a ten game suspension based on it being his second violation. It is not clear as to why Pennel was given a break.

The Packers have refused to comment, citing confidentiality concerns.

Online Gambling Given A Chance In New Jersey

While it is not full fledged sports betting, which New Jersey has fought for the right to provide and seeks the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on, New Jersey is working to bring another form of gambling within the state. The effort is to offer online gambling. Lawmakers in favor of such a proposal scored an early win, with legislation making it out of the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and Arts Committee by a vote of 4-3.

The legislation indicates the following,

“This bill would permit a running or harness horse racetrack in this State to enter into an agreement with a casino located in Atlantic City, or such a casino’s Internet gaming affiliate, that allows the racetrack’s premises to be available as a venue at which the holder of an Internet gaming account may place wagers at casinos using the Internet.”

Not much is known about the proposed online casinos, and some believe that the bill is not so much about online gambling, but allowing racetracks to turn into racinos, essentially allowing for widespread use of slot machine-type gaming.

Darren Heitner the Founder of South Florida-based HEITNER LEGAL, P.L.L.C. and Sports Agent Blog. He authored the book, How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know.


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