Thursday, October 28, 2010

Instant Classic: Texas Lawyer Files Motion to Delay Hearing So Can Go To Game 1

Darrell Cook, a Texas lawyer, filed an emergency motion to delay a pre-trial hearing so he could attend Wednesday's World Series game in San Francisco.

In an emergency motion, Cook says he has "very important baseball matters to attend to" and a postponement would ensure that "justice may be done." He explains in a footnote that justice would be Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee mowing down the San Francisco Giants' lineup.

The Judge granted his motion to continue and Cook went to Game 1.

To read this instant classic, which is filled with so many great lines, go to this link (you will love it):

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crime and Sports – a Romance Destined to Continue

By Matthew Zadro (lawyer, sports fan)

We’re all accustomed to hearing about off-ice/off-field criminal antics of our favourite athletes. In fact, the rogues gallery of professional sports has managed to cover an impressive gamut of criminal law, educating the public about the nuances of the major criminal offences in the process.

This badboy behaviour by our beloved gladiators is accepted and expected, so much so that some NFL fantasy leagues will let you pick up an additional player if someone on your roster misses time due to “injury/and or arrest”. Criminal acts committed by athletes are also often met with more leniency than you or I could expect if, say, we were accused of running a nationwide gambling ring out of New Jersey.

But in recent years, athletes’ tendency toward criminal behaviour has slowly crept onto the field/ice. At least that’s how courts and police seem to be portraying it. Check out a recent blog posting explaining what constitutes an assault in sport and listing examples of such in hockey alone.

Nothing New

Quasi-criminal violence in sports is nothing new, but society’s reduced tolerance for it is. Surely, if Rocket Richard were playing today and cracked a stick over Kerry Fraser’s melon, the Richard Riot might have been a Richard Jail-Break. Legend states that John Ferguson instructed Bobby Clarke to “tap” Valeri Kharlamov on the ankle during the ’72 Summit Series, which resulted in Clarke delivering a vicious slash and breaking the ankle of the star Russian. If true, Canadians may have to live with the fact that the most celebrated moment in Canadian history (and, to some, the pinnacle of our national existence, strangely more significant than the discovery of insulin or our contribution to victory on D-Day), was based on what would now surely be a criminal act were it to happen today on Canadian soil.

But the hits are getting harder and the injuries more frequent. Blame it on stronger equipment, residual effects of performance enhancing drugs, video games, or excessive violence in the cartoons shown in the dressing room, something is desensitizing players’ attitudes towards violence. Leagues and law enforcement agencies are wrestling with what to do next.

Player on Fan Crime – an Easy One

Criminal acts between athletes and fans are fairly simple to resolve – if Brett Favre harasses a team employee or if Canucks’ forward Rick Rypien slaps a fan, they will likely automatically face the same sanction at law as anyone else. Their employer (the league) can then respond with appropriate punitive measures reflecting the fact that the crime has tarnished the organization.

Player on Player Crime – Not So Easy

Crimes that are committed between players during play raise more difficult questions. Some argue that leagues must establish tougher sanctions (i.e. fines, suspensions) for those violent actions that would ordinarily be considered criminal. But there’s a few problems with that train of thought.

First of all, when is an offence between a player a “crime”? Different jurisdictions enforce the law differently. In Canada, the Criminal Code is applied uniformly across the country, meaning that a crime at the Bell Centre in Quebec is also a crime at the ACC in Ontario. However, the criminal laws of Canada do not exactly mirror those of the U.S. In fact, each state has its own set of criminal laws.

Imagine the McSorley – Brashear incident happened in Boston rather than Vancouver. The conduct that was considered by Vancouver police to be a criminal assault on the ice of the GM Place might not have met the standard of assault enforced by law officials in Boston. Perhaps an overly aggressive D.A. in Philadelphia may press charges for a head shot that makes the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer but that might not have even been noticed, or satisfied the definition of criminal assault, in that hockey hotbed of Sunrise, Florida.

So, if the NHL imposes a standard whereby ANY player convicted of a criminal offence committed during a game receives additional punishment, those players that commit “crimes” in a more “punitive” jurisdiction would be unfairly penalized by the league in proportion to others that commit the same act in a more “tolerant” jurisdiction.

It’s not realistic to expect players to be well versed on the legal intricacies of each jurisdiction in which they play, (sometimes it’s surprising if these guys can point out the city in which they’re playing on a map), therefore one of two things would happen under this scenario: 1) players would be afraid to touch each other in fear of committing an assault in the city that they happen to be in; or, (and more likely) 2) the league’s rule would be ignored by players and likely not enforced by the league. Either way, the game is not improved and, in the latter and more likely scenario, the head shots/criminal acts continue.

Secondly, crimes committed on the ice/field are arguably “crimes of passion” and (with the odd exception) are not pre-meditated. In the heat of the battle, something happens that just makes Martin Havlat kick somebody with his skate. He can’t help it, and he likely didn’t plan to do it ahead of time. Studies have shown that, unlike property crimes (which people think through beforehand) these type of violent “spur of the moment” crimes can’t be deterred by any threat of punitive sanction. So, no matter what fine or suspension exists, with Marty, he won’t consider it at the time. If you step out of line, you might get sliced by the razor blade strapped to his foot. It’s the way things work.

Thirdly, in those instances where a violent act causes injury but criminal charges are not laid, how can a professional league determine if the act merits additional sanction? Where is the line when determining if an act was in excess of the “accepted level of risk” that the player/victim consents to when he signs up to play? This is an issue that has perplexed judges of the highest courts….is Gary Bettman really in a position to make this determination? When offenders’ careers and livelihoods are on the line, such decisions cannot be arbitrary or based on the amount of media attention thrust upon an event. McSorley’s arrest effectively ended his career. Would the same result have occurred without the scrutiny created by the Vancouver media?

Is Don Cherry Right - Again?

Players should be warned. Violent criminal activity within professional leagues will continue and each player has a possibility of being either a victim or an offender. The increased number of cameras at every sports venue mean that nary a criminal act will go unnoticed. The public will continue to pressure law enforcement agencies to apply criminal sanctions to violent acts (especially when the offender is a member of the visiting team) and any attempt to control the violence by the league will be either unfair or ineffective.

Is Don Cherry right? Have improvements in equipment given players a sense of recklessness and invulnerability that has led to what may be considered criminal acts throughout the major sports leagues? Surely the leagues can’t mandate a return to inferior padding in order to restore a sense of vulnerability and respect amongst players.

However, aside from giving Greg Devorksi a badge and a gun, it would appear that someone has to come up with a real solution for violent crimes occurring within sports, because anything proposed thus far has not and will not work.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sports Fans Coaltion Fighting For Rights of Fans

There's a new advocate in town: Sports Fans Coalition. It's a non-profit interest group formed to organize sports fans and represent their interests. 

The Board is comprised of representatives from sports, politics, journalism, consumer advocacy, technology, business, and law. Board members include President Clinton's Deputy Staff Secretary David Goodfriend and President George W. Bush's as Deputy Assistant Brad Blakeman.

They have spoken out against issues like television blackouts, particularly in tax funded stadiums, and the high cost of going to games.

The most recent posting relates to a group called Stop Charger Blackouts, which is actively trying to raise money to buy up remaining tickets so that home games will be available on television.

(If an NFL game is not sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff, league rules mandate that the game be blacked out in the local market. Last season, the NFL blacked out 22 games, which represented a 144% increase over the previous year. This is a long standing policy and one Goodell has indicated will not be changed (read more on NFL blackouts here).

Check out this interesting website. It's located at

Team 990: Talking Legal Side of Favre & Rypien with Tony Marinaro

Click on the links below to listen to my conversation with Tony Marinaro from the Team 990 (Montreal) as we talk Brett Favre, Rick Rypien and the sadness I felt after sitting Darren McFadden in my football pool this week:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Radio Clip: Rypien & Favre

Listen to my conversation with Steve Lloyd and Jason York of the Healthy Scratches where we talk about the Rypien suspension and the Brett Favre situation:

Rypien Goes Wild & Assault/Battery

The NHL has suspended Vancouver Canuck forward Rick Rypen for 6 games after he assaulted Wild fan, James Engquist.

Six games misses the mark. You don't assault a fan. Period. With or without a shoe, Mike Millbury

The NHL should have suspended Rypien for 25 games - at minimum. Fundamentally, by not imposing a more serious sanction on Rypien, there is a concern that the NHL is not leading by example, and has failed to declare unequivocally that assault, on a fan or otherwise, is wrong. We need to hold ourselves to a high standard, and cases like this one provide a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the standards we aspire to attain.

Rypien Goes Wild

Engquist and his brother Peter were at the game courtesy of a gift from their father. They found themselves sitting directly behind the Vancouver Canucks' bench and along the runway leading to the locker room.

Rypien and Minnesota’s Brad Staubitz, who fought in the opening period, were about to square off in the second period before being separated by the linesmen in front of the Wild bench.

As Rypien, who was assessed a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct, was pulled by linesman Don Henderson toward the Vancouver bench, he appeared to push the official. On his way down the tunnel to the dressing room, Rypien grabbed and pushed Engquist, who was sitting by the railing. Rypien was pulled off Engquist by a Canucks trainer and coach Alain Vigneault.

NHL’s Reaction & Understanding Assault & Battery

After the NHL suspended Rypien for 6 games, Comminssioner Gary Bettman issued an apology and invited the aggrieved Engquist out for dinner and a game.

What's for dessert you ask? Probably a full release.

Why? Because this case isn’t done just yet. Yes, the NHL has suspended Rypien. However, the suspension does not preclude Engquist from commencing a civil action against Rypien, the Canucks and NHL alleging assault and battery.

How does assault and battery work? Here's the legal breakdown:

Assault and battery are typically components of a single offense. In civil context, "assault" and "battery" are separate, with an assault being an act which creates fear of an imminent harm, and battery being the unlawful touching.

So if there is a reasonable belief you are going to be harmed, that's assault. If contact is made, we have battery. That's why they are generally grouped together when a person has been physically harmed.

It's a bit counterintuitive because we understand "assault" to mean actual contact. In the civil context, though, it doesn't mean that. However, on the criminal side, assault actually means contact. Remember, the civil and criminal contexts are two separate streams (by way of example, O.J. beat the criminal charges but lost the civil case).

In this case, the video evidence pretty conclusively supports that assault and battery did occur.

Does Rypien have a defence? In cases of assault and battery, there is the defence of provocation. That’s where the conduct of the plaintiff must have been such as to cause the defendant to lose his power of self-control.

It’s generally a pretty tough defence to establish, as courts don’t want to be seen as excusing battery. In this case, Rypien doesn’t have much of a chance of successfully relying on provocation – no matter what Engquist said (it’s rumoured he said “way to be professional”). Fans heckle and taunt players. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it will always be.

If a player could rely on provocation in scenarios such as this one, next thing you’ll see are players, led by General Artest, charging into the stands on a regular basis laying a beating on fans who said things that were not particularly polite or kind.

As for money, if Engquist can't show injury, pain and suffering, etc., he may still be entitled to a modest sum of money (this is referred to as "nominal damages").

One more thing. Engquist seems to be getting some heat for wanting to explore his legal options. He was assaulted. His reaction is not unreasonable. For me at least, I know I wouldn’t be too pleased if a player went after me or my girlfriend at a game (not in that order).

As for what will happen next, the parties may look to settle the matter and let this case go quietly into the night.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Radio Clip: Talking Gowlings Street Hockey Tourney, Cormier & Emilio Estevez

In this radio clip from the Team 1200, Steve Lloyd, Jason York and I talk about the Gowlings Corporate Street Hockey Tourney to benefit the Food Bank, the Cormier guilty plea and York's affinity for Emilio Estevez:

Co-organizer Andrew McKenna, also a partner at Gowlings, and I would like to thank all 30 teams that participated in the Gowlings Corporate Street Hockey Tourney, as well as the Team 1200 for helping promote the event. In all, the event raised 6000 pounds of food and about $8000 for the Food Bank.

Fun (and productive) day all around.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cormier Flips Position & Pleads Guilty; Gets (Unique) Unconditional Discharge

It is being widely reported that Former Rouyn-Noranda Huskies forward Patrice Cormier has been awarded an unconditional discharge after changing his not guilty plea to guilty. Cormier was initially charged with assault causing bodily harm for the elbow he delivered to Mikael Tam. The elbow sent Tam into convulsions on the ice. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League suspended Cormier for the hit.

It is also being reported that this is the same punishment handed down to other hockey players such as Todd Bertuzzi, Jonathan Roy and Alexander Perezhogin.

It's not though - Cormier got off easier than those guys. They got all got conditional discharges, which is different than Cormier's unconditional discharge.

A conditional discharge means you’re on probation with conditions. If you obey the conditions until the end of the probation, which can be up to 3 years, then the law treats you as not having a conviction. But if you don’t obey the conditions, or you don’t finish the probation, you can be charged with breach of probation.

An unconditional or absolute discharge means a discharge with no conditions. The individual doesn’t have to abide by certain conditions. A sentence of an unconditional discharge may be imposed when a judge does not believe that it would be helpful to impose any conditions on the defendant.

When Cormier initially pled not guilty, it was a bit of a surprise. Generally, players in similar cases have pled guilty and walked away with a conditional discharge.

Bertuzzi pled guilty for his hit on Steve Moore. So did Perezhogin for his vicious two-hander to Garrett Stafford's head. Backup goalie turned backup singer Roy also pled guilty for beating up an unwilling Bobby Nadeau. They all walked with conditional discharges.

In this case, Cormier did issue an apology, which may have been a part of the deal of getting an unconditional discharge (Roy never apologized for hitting Nadeau). Cormier said,
“I’m a physical player but this is no excuse for what I did. I want to apologize again to Mikael Tam and his family and I wish him the best of luck in his career,” Cormier said.
As well, it is possible that Cormier's lawyer believed by first pleading not guilty it would put pressure on the prosecution to settle on more favourable terms than a conditional discharge. Just guessing though.

As we haven't hear anything about a civil suit by Tam, this may bring the matter to a close.

Francisco Rodriguez & Mets Close On Grievance

As reported by, Francisco Rodriguez and the New York Mets have settled their dispute.

This outcome was not a surprise.

The Mets’ placed its closer on the disqualified list and converted his contract to a non-guaranteed deal. He was placed on the list after he tore a ligament in the thumb of his pitching hand while allegedly punching his girlfriend’s father, 53-year-old Carlos Pena, outside a family lounge at Citi Field. The 28-year-old reliever was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment following the fight. Rodriguez had surgery to repair the self-inflicted injury and is expected to miss the rest of the season.

The Mets took action against Rodriguez because of conduct in violation of the Uniform Player’s Contract. The Uniform Player Contract in baseball is the baseline contract. All player contracts contain the terms in the UPC and then the teams and players are free to negotiate additional terms.

In a nutshell, by converting the contract to a non-guaranteed deal, it would have been open to the Mets to cut K-Rod if he wasn't ready to pitch next spring. They would, however, have had to provide him with termination pay (a few million).

As a separate issue, the Mets had not ruled out trying to void K-Rod's contract. If successful, the Mets would have been able to walk away without paying the closer anything.

K-Rod and the Union were headed to arbitration this week to challenge the Mets on disqualification and the conversion of the contract.

History favours the players and for this reason settlement was not a suprise. It can be very tough for teams to get out of contracts without having to pay out a significant amount of a contract. Therefore, arguably the Mets were facing an uphill battle on this one.

Please read the following column for a review of past cases and why this was a tough case: Francisco Rodriguez: Understanding The Grievance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wednesday October 20: 3rd Annual Gowlings 4-on-4 Corporate Street Hockey Challenge in Ottawa

Gowlings is once again hosting the 4-on-4 Corporate Street Hockey Challenge to benefit the Ottawa Food Bank. The tournament is held at the Scotiabank Place (Ottawa). Last year, the tournament welcomed 25 corporate teams and 200 people, and raised over 7000 pounds of food. This year promises to be even better.

The tournament has a competitive and non-competitive division. Co-ed teams are welcome and there are plenty of sponsorship opportunities. Each court is 100 by 60 feet and fenced in with Moduloc fencing so the balls doesn't roll away. Given its unique nature, the tournament has received a lot of media attention.

If your company is interested in entering a team, please email me at The formal invite is below. Once you email me, I can send you the rest of the information. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Part 3 in Series Comparing the CBAs: How Does the Salary Cap Work

Revenue sharing between leagues and players does not work unless there is a way to determine how much of that revenue is spent by the teams individually. Otherwise, the players may get a percentage of league-wide revenue, but it might all go to players on the Lakers or the Cowboys and none would go to players on the Grizzlies or Bills. In this case, the league would have given the players their share of revenue but some teams would have paid a higher share of this revenue than others. This has a negative impact on the bottom line of those teams and on the competitive balance of the league.

A salary cap system, with a salary maximum and minimum for each team, ensures that the shared revenue gets to the players in a relatively equal manner between teams. From a team perspective the main advantage of a salary cap is that it ensures certainty of its player costs. They know ahead of time that their player costs will be between a minimum and a maximum dollar amount. This allows them to plan out the amount of revenue they will need to maximize profitability. They don’t have to worry about a big increase in the cost of free agents that might raise their payroll by 30%.

For every salary cap system there are two things that must be figured out. There must be a way to determine the salary floor, which is the amount of money a team must spend on players, and the salary cap, which the maximum amount of money a team can spend on players. Once that range is determined, you need guidelines for what payments to players count against the salary cap.

In part 3, we will look at the way the leagues determine their salary cap figures and how it is tied to the way leagues share revenue.


Up until this season, the NFL had what is called a “hard cap” This means that no team could spend even one dollar more on player costs than the salary cap. In fact, the Commissioner will not approve a contract that will take a team over the salary cap. The salary cap is calculated based on projected shared revenue for a season. From the last blog comparing CBAs from a revenue sharing standpoint, you’ll recall that players are guaranteed a portion of revenue, termed shared revenue. The league will estimate the value of shared revenue in advance of the season and this value is used to determine the salary cap in that season. In 2009, the salary cap was set at 57% of projected shared revenue. So, to determine the salary cap the league calculates 57% of the projected shared revenue amount.

The league will take this number and subtract player benefits. At this point the league will make certain deductions from the salary cap and adjust it depending on whether the projected shared revenue from the previous season was higher or lower than the actual shared revenue for that season. This number is then divided by number of teams to get a preliminary salary cap. The salary cap cannot be less than the cap in the previous season, except that the salary cap plus player benefits can never be more than 61.68% of shared revenue.


Assume the year 1 Salary Cap: $109 million

If Year 2 Projected Shared Revenue equals $205 million per Club:

57.5% = $117.875 million

61.68% = $126.44 million

Then Projected Benefits/salary cap deductions of $20 million per Club are deducted, which means:

57.5% = $97.875 million

61.68% = $106.44 million

Both figures are less than the salary cap of the previous year but because the salary cap cannot be higher than 61.68% of projected shared revenue, this is the number the salary cap is set at.

The salary floor, or minimum team salary, is set at a percentage of the salary cap. In 2009, the minimum team salary was set at 87.6% of the salary cap.


Unlike the NFL, the NBA operates a soft cap. This means that teams can spend over the salary cap in certain specified cases (can do a whole blog on NBA free agency exceptions). Player salaries over a certain amount above the salary cap will be subject to a luxury tax. Teams like the Lakers and the Mavericks routinely spend over the salary cap and into the luxury tax.

The salary cap itself, however, is calculated in a similar way as in the NFL. In 2009, the salary cap was set at 51% of projected shared revenue. At this point the league will adjust the value of projected shared revenue depending on whether the projected shared revenue from the previous season was higher or lower than the actual shared revenue for that season. The league will take this number and subtract player benefits. This number is then divided by number of teams to get the salary cap for the year.

The minimum team salary is also set as a percentage of the salary cap in the NBA. In 2009, the minimum team salary was set at 75% of the salary cap.


The NHL, which also has a hard cap, calculates its salary cap in a slightly different way, but it is still tied to shared revenue. The league starts the calculation process for the upcoming season at the end of June. It sets the projected shared revenue for the upcoming season equal to preliminary numbers for the previous season’s shared revenue. The league takes this amount and multiplies it by the player’s percentage of shared revenue (57% in 2009). The league then subtracts player benefits and divides by the number of teams. This number, after it has been adjusted upward by a 5% growth factor, becomes the midpoint of range between the salary cap and the salary floor. The growth factor is designed to account for the fact that the league’s revenues are growing every year.

Once the league has established a midpoint, $8 million dollars is added and subtracted from that amount to establish the salary cap and salary floor, respectively.

One final issue must be considered. Since the midpoint is calculated using a preliminary report of the previous seasons’ shared revenue, the league may make an adjustment before the start of the season based on the final report of shared revenue. The league will recalculate the midpoint based on the final numbers and if the midpoint would increase or decrease by more than $3 million, then the midpoint will be adjusted to that amount, and the salary cap and salary floor will be adjusted accordingly. This is done to account for any major differences in the value of shared revenue between the preliminary and final reports.


Assume that the preliminary shared revenue for Year 1 is $2.7 billion and preliminary benefits are $66 million. The midpoint for Year 2 would be calculated as follows:

The Midpoint is (57% of $2.7 billion) - $66 million =$1.473 billion divided by 30 teams=$49.1 million.

This is then adjusted upward by 5%=$51.555 million. The salary cap would be $59.555 million ($51.555 million + $8 million) and the salary floor would be $43.555 million ($51.555 million-$8 million)

If, before the start of the season, a recalculation of the midpoint using the final shared revenue amount for Year 1 would increase the midpoint to $54.555 million or more, or decrease the midpoint to $48.555 million or less, this recalculation of the midpoint will be used to adjust the salary cap and salary floor for the season.

To allow for flexibility in the offseason, the league allows a team to spend up to 10% over the salary cap from July 1 until the start of training camp. This is why you see teams, like the Devils, scrambling in the summer to get rid of contracts after they signed a large deal with a player.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quick Hits - Around The Web In 80 Seconds

Flush With Potential: The Charlotte-based company Mirrus is bringing video mirrors that feature ads to bathrooms. These marketing mirrors have been installed in a handful of college football stadiums and the cost for one marketing mirror starts at $1000. An ad is displayed on the entire mirror, and when a motion sensor at the base of the mirror detects a fan approaching, the ad fades to a smaller size. The motion sensor also keeps track of the number of fans that approach the sink.

Cup Runneth Over: Winning the Stanley Cup had an immediate impact and the Blackhawks bottom line. It added at least 13 new or expanded corporate partnerships and increased its season ticket waiting list by 4000 to 7000. As well, entry level participation in youth hockey jumped by 20-30%. New hockey players means new customers for the Hawks.

Green With Envy: The Philadelphia Eagles will be featuring diehard fans on their season tickets this season. Fourteen fans that have "green running through their veins" will be displayed on the tickets, which previously highlighted players and coaches.

Grounds For Celebration: With corporate sponsorship by U.S. companies down for sporting events, the IndyCar Series looked to Brazil for its title sponsor for this weekend's race. The title sponsor was Cafes do Brasil, which represents the Brazilian coffee industry. The event was known as Cafes do Brasil Indy 300. Brazil is trying to raise the profile of its coffee industry, which lags behind Columbia despite producing the most coffee in the world. The sponsor deal was estimated to be worth between $300,000 and $500,000.

The NBA is opening an office in Moscow...the NFL is seeing a decline in attendance with fans staying home watching games in the comfort of their own homes.

Windell Time: Windell Middlebrooks, the Miller High Life deliveryman from its commercials, continues to pay dividends for the beer company and Middlebrooks. Miller has enjoyed gains of 1.8% for 2007 to 2009, while Middlebrooks has seen his career takeoff with personal appearances, television spots (including Entourage), throwing out first pitches at ball games and singing the national anthem before some games.

The Baltimore Orioles' 2011 Pet Calendar is now on sale. The calendar features Oriole players posing with their pets along with SPCA dogs. All SPCA dogs are available for adoption.

Jags Take A Leap: The Jacksonville Jaguars announced that its season tickets sales have enjoyed the highest increase in the NFL this season. It sold 14,000 new season tickets, a 44% increase over last year.

Oakley has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee to supply its athletes with its eye wear during competition. As part of the deal, Oakley will become the official eye wear supplier of Team USA.

Agent of Change: The MLB Players Union is looking at agent rule changes. It could become the first union to penalize agents who leave their agency and take players with them in violation of noncompete and noncompetiton agreements. Other issues that are being looked at include solicitation of player clients, inducements and how much equipment agents can provide players.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reds Light Up Cigars; Investigation Follows

The Cincinnati Health Department will conduct an inspection of the Great American Ball Park and the Reds' clubhouse it received call from people complaining that when Reds players lit up celebratory cigars after they clinched the NL Central it violated Ohio's smoking ban.

Department spokesman Rocky Merz said Friday that state law requires an inspection when it receives 5 complaints about indoor smoking.

Merz says an inspection must be done within 30 days and the Reds will be notified of the alleged violation.

It is unlikely anything will come of this.

No word if the Astros complained. They got beat that night for the clinch.