Darren Rovell v John Sharp (case dismissed)

In 2013 ESPN’s Outside The Lines published an article that lead with: “The NCAA is investigating whether Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was paid for signing hundreds of autographs on photos and sports memorabilia”.

Written at least in part by Darren Rovell the article discusses the NCAA allegations and discusses three anonymous sources who had confirmed that Manziel had been paid for autographs. The NCAA investigation went nowhere. Unless people cooperate and “sources” turn into witnesses investigations die.

Following the Outside the Lines article, Texas A&M’s Chancellor John Sharp defended Manziel. Chancellor Sharp mentioned that Rovell by name, and said that Rovell had been “duped before” (he had), and reiterated that Rovell had anonymous sources which remained, anonymous. One factual characterization with an opinion of Rovell’s sources. None of that is “defaming”.

Manziel recently admitted on a podcast that he “made a pretty good living” selling his autograph while playing for Texas A&M.

Following Manziel’s admission (Manziel taking cash for autographs surprises no one), Darren Rovell went on a whinefest rant. He wrote an article demanding that Sharp apologize. Read it. On second thought, don’t read it. Rovell comes off like 13 year who got stood up for middle school dance. Rovell threatening he could sue while admitting that he can’t sue is like the dude being held back by his friends in a bar screaming at a giant biker “I’d kick your ass if my buddies didn’t stop me!” No… no you wouldn’t Darren.

Rovell then repeated his empty threat, tweeting that he would have sued Sharp but for a time bar. “”hold me back guys – I would’da destroyed Sharp”. No..no you wouldn’t Darren. Any lawyer with 5 minutes of experience, any common sense and the ability to read a statute would have told Rovell to sit this one out.

The Texas version of anti-SLAPP is called “The Texas Citizens Participation Act”. There is little doubt that Sharp’s comments are protected under that Act. Had Rovell had sued Sharp, he would have paid Sharp’s attorney fees. Although the Texas version was revised in 2019, Sharp’s statement are/where protected “public figure” opinions and statements of fact. A suit would have never have gotten to discovery, let alone allowed you to “dip” into emails. It doesn’t work that way Darren.

Manziel was taking money? Surprises no one. How about Reggie Bush gets his Heisman back? Bush didn’t take any money, his family took “benefits” per the NCAA. Johnny “Cash” Manziel actually took money. Apparently a lot of it. Either Manziel has his Heisman confiscated by the Heisman Committee or Bush get’s his back. Right?

What’s the “Statute of Limitation” on doing the right thing?


George Kliavkoff likely topped the list of “most Googled” on Thursday because few knew of him and fewer could pronounce his name before he was tapped as the new PAC12 Commissioner.

Kliavkoff replaces Larry Scott, the waste of air who ran the PAC12 into the ground while pulling in $4.8 million in salary and working in offices Louis XVI would envy. Kliavkoff wasted no time putting his fingerprints on the Pac12 rebuild. Zooming through a long list of Larry Scott’s failures, he set an agenda to fix the wreck Scott left starting with the obvious – fix the calamity of low revenue by the conference. The revenue-generating sports are dependent on media revenue, and that was stuck in 1970’s sitcom. Let no one gaslight the issue. Football and Men’s Basketball are the engine that makes the PAC12 run. Media money from the revenue sports finance, everything. Without Football and Mens Basketball there is no women’s softball or gymnastics. Scott had more interest in his food stipend than how to move the PAC12 into the 21st century and generate revenue.

Enough on Scott. He’s gone like Louis XVI head, but he left a wreck to repair. Kliavkoff seems well-suited for the fix. He’s a media and sports guy. A media caution I saw complained that Kliavkoff has no ‘experience’ with colleges. So? Seriously what does “college” have to do with college sports?

Bleacher Brawls

We’ve all seen it, a Padres fan walks up to a Rockies fan and without warning, clocks him with a right cross. Rockies fan goes down like a sack of wheat. I didn’t find the blow surprising. Bleacher fights happen – usually between willing pugilists and more often they resemble two teenage girls with flailing arms and hair-pulling.

What knocked me out was the reaction on social media. Talking heads from sports websites celebrated it. Former MLB players David Freeze thought it was justified.

Celebrities egging on twitter trolls causes a cascade of trolls to descend and offer their stupid take for their 5 seconds of fame. Closest your usual Twitter troll has ever been to a real fight is throwing a game controller at a TV while playing Grand Theft Auto but that doesn’t stop them from glorifying a coward’s blow. The whole thing – justifying criminal battery and celebrating a coward knocking another man unconscious is a sad reflection on America’s sense of justice. Words are not violence. You are not harmed by someone insulting your team or for that matter insulting your mama.

Rockies fan didn’t press charges no doubt because he thought, or was told, that he would be seen as a pussy. Me? I would have pressed charges (its likely misdemeanor battery) and insisted on prosecution. And I would have sued Padre fan. Call me a pussy. I don’t care. Padre fan would spend thousands on a criminal defense lawyer, and then spend a couple of weeks, or weekends in jail. He’d lose his right to own a firearm and I’d eat into his bank account after he spent several thousands on a civil defense lawyer. “Well insurance would pay for it” Nope. No insurance for intentional acts. Welcome to adulthood, clown.

In 2011 Bryan Stow attended a Dodgers game and was beaten into a coma by a couple of cowards. Both criminals were caught and sentenced to prison. Stow is still in his own prison of brain damage.

I litigated a case where the plaintiff died after being punched in the face. He fell backwards and hit the back of his head on concrete. He suffered a brain bleed and died.

Had Rockies fan been hit a few inches higher he might have had life-long damage to his left eye. He still might have broken bones in his face or neck. He might have fallen forward and bounced his head off of concrete and died. Then it’s not so funny to most adults. Still might be to the twitter clowns.

Heard the expression “grow up”? Apt.

Thoroughbred Doper for the win…

The shear look of astonishment on Baffert’s perfectly tanned face should have been a tell. Maybe when he was interviewed, his look of: “what the hell just happened?” was an acknowledgment that he never thought that his “little horse” would win. But it did win.

Maybe some scoundrel slipped Baffert’s little horse a shot WOW, or maybe it was some well known trainer who, thinking it would be nice to see a little horse finish closer to the front than the back.

In the end


Most Mafia prosecutions happened when a hitman gets caugh and cuts a deal to avoid punishment. The “Dons” go to jail, and the hitman gets a new lease on life. That’s what happened with the Astros cheating scandal. A pitcher left the organization and told his story. MLB investigated and the only way it could gain cooperation was to grant immunity to players – the hitmen who did the deed. Players admitted to cheating but it wasn’t the cheaters who paid, it was the GM and Manager. They got canned and the players skated.

Astros will forever be known for a tainted championship.


Pete Rose has been on the baseball banned list for 32 years. He’s also banned from the Hall of Fame. Granted I thought at the time the permanent ban was justified. He bet on games (albeit he bet on his own team) and that was against the rules. The righteousness of banning Rose changed when MLB partnered with a professional gambling site, FanDuel. 32 years is enough Manfred. Reinstate Rose and allow him his spot in the Hall of Fame.

Super Karen

The Tampa Bay Bucs won the Super Bowl. What usually follows a Super Bowl win, is a parade down “Main Street” with the fans celebrating the victory and players getting drunk. With Covid, the best Tampa could do was a boat parade. It worked out well. Players in boats, the fans on shore waving to the players. Tom Brady was on a boat. His old Pats buddy The Gronk in a trailing boat. Brady was…impaired. He had the Lombardi Trophy and being that water separated him from the Gronk in the next boat, he couldn’t just hand it off, so the greatest quarterback to ever toss a deflated ball threw the Lombardi Trophy to Gronk. A distance of maybe 20 feet. Not much of a throw. It was a one rotation toss like, tossing a bubble screen. The greatest, even impaired, made the throw with ease. I thought it was an iconic and enduring moment. Almost everyone loved it. Not everyone. Not Super Karen. Super Karen was horrified.

Super Karen (her real name is…Karen Silversmith) is the daughter of a silversmithing guy who designed the Lombardi. She couldn’t sleep for days. She was horrified after witnessing the throw. How could they treat her dad’s artwork like they were tossing a beer can to a thirsty Gronk? PTSD over a trophy toss isn’t a thing I thought, would be a thing, but it is the age of Karens.

Where’s the manager? I DEMAND TO SEE THE NFL’S MANAGER!!

Musing on Celebrity

A childhood friend was a famous TV actor. His fame wasn’t based on talent (even he would admit that) it was founded on celebrity. He had been plucked out of a mass of kids and landed a job on an iconic TV show. Famous for being famous. I saw him at his worst moments. I read his fan mail. Sad, pathetic girls offering themselves up like virgins headed to the volcano. Actors are often treated as demigods and credited with more talent and intelligence than they really possess. Sean Penn is an enduring example of a guy who reads too much of his fan mail. Granted, he’s a talented actor, but he’s chummed with communists leaders without regret. He wrote one the worst novels of all time, and that 80’s porn star mustache. Woof.

He tweeted “something about something”. It’s hard to get so much wrong in two sentences but Sean Penn managed.

“Germans?” “Never mind, he’s on a roll”.

If we ever get back to normal and I see Penn at Ollo’s in Malibu and Penn is again, peacocking, I’ll think of the “Great Satin” and evangelical catholics, and drugs, mostly drugs. Yeah, don’t do drugs and tweet kids.

From Feature to… Pooofff…

The 2020 World Series was in the 6th game. The Ray’s star pitcher Brent Snell was cruising. Kevin Cash the Ray’s manager walked to the mound and relieved Brent Snell. The world knew that was a bonehead move. I was sure the Dodgers were going to win the series and I was even more excited that an illustration I had produced was going to be a centerpiece for the LA Times Commemorative Book. Well, technically is was going to be the last page of the book. My editor was thrilled, the group producing the book was excited and so was I. A full page in a commemorative book is pretty cool.

The game wore on and everyone started to wonder – Where’s Justin Turner? He wan’t manning 3rd base. He just disappeared from the game – nowhere to be seen. The game ended and still no Turner. Then, we found out the Turner had tested positive for Covid and, my heart sank. I got “the text” from my editor: The illustration wouldn’t make it into the book. Great illustration but Turner tested positive so, bad look for Turner, and bad luck for me.

I thought it a pretty gutless move to pull it but it wasn’t me call. My editor supported me but it was killed higher up the food chain. A couple of the LAT guys wrote columns on Turner putting “everyone in danger” by being on the field. Those takes were catering to the crowd that see every Covid case as a death sentence. Turner was well distance and the science is clear. Outdoor is pretty. Turner, like most young healthy adults, had no problems. Ultimately no one else was infected by Turner but the damage was done. I lost a featured position in the 2020 World Series Commemorative Book.

Oh well. LA Times didn’t pay me or run my illustration, so it’s mine.

NCAA – An American Oligarchy

IN the past few years the NCAA has seen steady attack on its power base. Lawsuits, by athletes wanting to retain rights to their own Image and Likeness have seen moderate success, but California’s legislature has taken a big swing at ending the NCAA stranglehold on athlete rights with a statute designed to protect the athlete and vest, in the athlete, a right to their own likeness and image. The NCAA responded as all bullies do, with a threat. NCAA said it might ban schools from tournaments that resided in Name, Image, Likelness (NIL) states. However other states followed California’s lead and passed NIL statutes. Now the NCAA is on the defensive. It’s leadership is scrambling to save itself from annihilation. The NCAA remains a very powerful institution, but its end is on the horizon. Good riddance.

This week, an attorney on a Zoom call with a judge and other counsel, had a “cat filter” on. He appeared as a pussycat, with googly eyes. It became a viral sensation.