As you all know, professional sports are made up of the top athletes from across the country, each representing the best talent that their respective sport has to offer. The sad reality is that most of those athletes don’t make it to the big leagues in their sports, and while some of these athletes choose to take their failure in stride, others get litigious. Today’s example of the latter–Garrison Lassiter.
According to a Bleacher Report article, Lassiter filed a $34 million lawsuit against the New York Yankees that was dismissed last May. In his lawsuit, Lassiter alleged that the Yankees and former shortstop (and future Hall of Famer) Derek Jeter conspired against him in order to keep him from competing with Derek Jeter for the shortstop position.
Lassiter represented himself in the suit, and claimed that he was suing the Yankees for the “interference and lost years” of his baseball career. Included in the lawsuit, were Lassiter’s claim that he had to live in his car after spending the $675,000 signing bonus the Yankees gave him, and letters that Lassiter had written to other MLB teams including one that read: “I cannot get on the field due to the New York Yankees trying to control my career. I’m the only Baseball Player that will stand up to the New York Yankees.”
While this may come as a surprise, Lassiter’s suit isn’t the only seemingly outrageous lawsuit in sports. In fact, the sports world has graciously provided us with many entertaining lawsuits from fans, players, and sometimes sports franchises themselves.
According to The Times-Picayune, a New Orleans Saints fan, David Mancina, filed a class-action in October 2012, seeking damages in excess of $5 million on behalf of himself and New Orleans Saints season-ticket holders. The lawsuit against the NFL and Roger Goodell alleged fans purchased tickets “expecting the Saints would be capable of competitively fielding a contending team comprised of the finest athletes, and the best coaches, under contract… or available to them through normal trades and draft choices, without dictatorial, unreasonable, vindictive, and unfounded, interference.” The case was dismissed by a judge in January of 2013.
In addition to lawsuits like these, cases involving conspiracy-theory-esque type claims also happen in the NBA. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, in January 2013, a Miami Heat fan sued the San Antonio Spurs. Larry McGuiness, a lawyer, sued the Spurs claiming that head coach Gregg Popovich ‘intentionally and surreptitiously sent their best players home without the knowledge of the league, the team and fans attending the Nov. 29 game in Miami.” He claimed that the Spurs and Popovich violated Florida’s deceptive and fair trade practices law by sending Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker, and Danny Green home to rest. McGuiness later came to his senses and filed a notice to voluntarily dismiss the case.
Last, but most certainly not least, in April of 2013, a Chicago Bulls fan sued the team claiming that Derrick Rose’s long absence “caused him to have mental breakdowns and emotional distress, leading to obesity issues,” per Bleacher Report. The fan in question, Matthew Thompson, even claimed that Rose was negligent by not opting to return immediately after being cleared to play by doctors, presumingly leading to more mental dismay and weight gain by Thompson.
The world of sport is never deprived of controversy and, apparently, crazy lawsuits. While this has been an entertaining blog to write, and I hope that you were also entertained if you’ve managed to read it in its entirety, these are not the only outlandish lawsuits in the sports industry, and certainly will not be the last. Cheers to the sports industry for providing us with endless entertainment, in whatever form it may come.