Being a famous athlete seems like a pretty sweet deal. You get paid heaps of money for playing your favorite sports and have millions of adoring fans. But being a famous athlete often means being involved in all kinds of lawsuits.
Check out the top 6 controversial lawsuits involving famous athletes.
LeBron James And The Slogan
Uninterrupted, the media company owned by LeBron James, is being sued for $33 million. The suit was brought against the company by a Maryland youth group over the use of the phrase “More Than An Athlete”.
According to them they first coined the phrase in June 2016 then wore it on T-shirts on October 8, 2017, at a Washington Wizards game when they played against James’ old team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is where they claim LeBron became aware of the phrase.
The group further claims to have been awarded trademark rights of the phrase on June 5, 2018. The suit also targets companies like Nike and the makers of an NBA 2K video game for using the phrase in the material produced by LeBron. Uninterrupted released a statement calling the complaint meritless and filled with numerous factual inaccuracies.
Lance Armstrong And The US Government
In 2012, Lance Armstrong was found guilty of doping and officially became a disgraced cyclist. Having won seven Tour de France titles in a row after defeating cancer, his status as the most accomplished and loved cyclist in the world was secured until he was caught doping.
He was stripped of his titles, banned for life, lost his contract with Nike and Oakley, and forced to resign from his charity. All this was compounded when in 2013, he was hit with a $100 million lawsuit. The US Justice Department filed a civil fraud action against Armstrong to recoup the money spent on sponsoring Armstrong and his cyclist team.
In a shocking twist in 2018, Armstrong reached a deal with the federal to pay only $6.65 million, a figure which is substantially less than the claim.
Josh Brent’s Car Accident
Josh Brent was a Dallas Cowboy defensive lineman who was involved in a car accident that changed his life. In December 2012, Brent crashed his Mercedes after a night of partying. The accident killed his teammate Jerry Brown and he was convicted of intoxicated manslaughter.
While the case involved Brent, one can’t help but wonder about Jerry Brown who was killed because of Brent’s recklessness.
What would have happened if Brown had lived? Would he have any legal rights? The explanation given by the car accident lawyers at The Terry Law Firm is that Brown would have been entitled to a huge compensation sum by a personal injury claim. Personal injury claims are claims brought against a person whose reckless, negligent, or malicious actions have caused you physical hurt or emotional distress.
That certainly would have been a controversial lawsuit, as Brown was said to also have been drinking at the same party.
Tom Brady’s Picture
In 2016, a photographer snapped a photo of world-famous football quarterback Tom Brady speaking to the manager of the Boston Celtics. The picture went viral after he uploaded it on his Snapchat because there was heavy speculation that Brady was helping the Celtics to recruit basketball star, Kevin Durant.
Several media outlets included this picture in subsequent articles about the possible major NBA signing. The photographer sued all of them, alleging copyright infringement because having taken the picture he possessed exclusive rights to post it.
The Case Of The Fireworks Injury
In 2015, American football player Jason Pierre- Paul sued ESPN and reporter Adam Schefter for tweeting his medical records related to a 4th of July fireworks accident that mangled his right hand. Pierre-Paul alleged a violation of his privacy contrary to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
The tweet included a photo of his medical chats, disclosing the fact that Jason was facing amputation and causing concerned outbursts.
The lawsuit was settled out of court the following year, but ESPN released a statement maintaining its position that the report was journalistically appropriate.
Scottie Pippen’s Defamation Case
Years ago, several media companies reported that basketball star Scottie Pippen has filed for bankruptcy. He brought a claim for defamation against them on the grounds that the information was published with reckless disregard for the truth.
The lower courts dismissed the $10 million claim because Pippen failed to show that the reports were published with actual malice. In 2014, the Supreme Court declined to revive the lawsuit.
Obviously, being a famous athlete is not a piece of cake!