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International Sports Law Blog

Kellen Winslow II Defense Cites CTE

Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II was recently back in court to face a variety of charges again involving sexual assault. He pleaded guilty to raping a 17-year-old girl in 2003 when she was passed out. He also pleaded guilty to felony sexual battery charges involving a 54-year-old homeless woman he picked up hitchhiking in 2018 and assaulting another homeless woman that same year. Last June, a jury convicted him of exposing himself to a female neighbor and committing a lewd act against a woman in a local gym. 

According to a plea agreement, Winslow now faces a minimum of 12 years in prison and could serve as many as 18 years. It is a long fall for Winslow, a 36-year-old father of two who married his high school sweetheart. He played in the NFL from 2004 to 2013, earning $40 million during his career. 

Patrick Day's death is the 4th in professional boxing this year

Boxing has been called "the sweet science," but the untrained eye likely sees two muscular athletes moving around a ring punching each other, ideally trying to knock the opponent out with a blow to the face. There is, of course, endless hours of training as well as refining the boxer's technique, which includes strategy and footwork. Nevertheless, it is a deadly sport.

A head injury in the ring

Gronk recently reveals the extent of head injuries

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski surprised many when he announced his retirement in March of 2019. Hot off a Superbowl victory and just 29 years old, the all-pro said at the time that he had enough, adding that football was no longer fun for him. He has since gone on to endorse CBDMedico for treatment of the chronic pain issues he felt on a day-to-day basis.

Now Gronkowski announced that he also suffered severe head injuries from playing football. In an interview with NBC News, he stated:

NCAA reverses course on athletes' compensation

The NCAA's governing board made a surprising but necessary reversal in allowing financial compensation to college athletes. The unanimous vote by the organization's board of governors will enable student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.

In a statement released, NCAA Board Chair Michael Drake acknowledged that it needed to make these changes and stay flexible for future ones:

Tom Brady Denied Trademark

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is one of the most prominent sports figures of his time, so news items about him are just as likely to show up on celebrity websites as they are on the sports pages. Last June, he caused an uproar when he applied for a trademark of “Tom Terrific” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Despite his success on the field, the USPTO denied Brady's application. The agency did this on the grounds that made many New York Mets fans happy – legendary pitcher Tom Seaver had been called Tom Terrific for decades. Even though Seaver had never applied for a trademark on the phrase, it did not matter.

Professional surfing awards equal pay

The surf community has always operated by its own set of rules. This, of course, carried over into the world of professional surfing. Nevertheless, the World Surf League (WSL) followed many other sports’ example by paying the male competitors more prize money than the female ones. At WSL competitions in Australia earlier this year, for example, the men were paid $100,000 while the women were paid $65,000.

To balance the pay and bolster interest in women’s competition, the WSL will announce a new pay scale when it unveils the schedule of the upcoming season. While tennis has equal prize money at its major tournaments, WSL is the first U.S.-based global sports league to equalize its prize structure for all WSL-organized events.

Sprinter wants an apology

Christian Coleman cemented his title as the world’s fastest active sprinter when he became world champion last month in Doha. His 100-meter time was 9.76 seconds, which was a personal best and sixth fastest in history.

Nevertheless, there has been a cloud of doubt hanging over the U.S. sprinter -- Coleman was charged with three “whereabouts failures” in 12 months, which if proven, would have resulted in a minimum one-year suspension from competition, and could potentially have put him out of contention for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Is Antonio Brown getting a raw deal?

Talented wide receiver Antonio Brown has been the news a lot this year. There was his demand to be traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders. There was the controversial resistance to use a new and safer helmet the NFL required players to wear. Then there were the burns to his feet from a mishap in a cryotherapy chamber that helps with swelling. Tired of the drama, the Raiders released him September 7 before its first regular-season game. He was subsequently picked up on September 9 by the Patriots, whose coach Bill Belichick has a history of using talented but troubled players.

Sexual assault charges give the team an out?

Eastern Zone Swimming approves anti-discrimination policies

The Eastern Zone Swimming (EZS) approved a new policy barring it from doing business with discriminatory organizations. The group, which oversees 12 local swimming committees for USA Swimming, instituted this new policy because it believes that discriminatory practices violate the Sports Act, which gives certain rights and bargaining power to athletes in Olympic sports.

The measure was implemented in response to the location of the 2020 Zone Championship swim meet at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia.

California assembly passes measure allowing colleges athletes to earn income

The money surrounding college sports is enormous, with college football and basketball being billion-dollar industries. Unlike professional sports where athletes are handsomely paid for their services, the governing body of the NCAA strictly forbids athletes from seeking sponsorships, endorsements and otherwise profiting from the use of their image and likeness. In other words, everyone is making a ton of money except the athletes.

Fair Pay to Play Act

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