Cutting Down the Nets.
The Brooklyn Nets have won less than half their games in this young season, which is markedly better than they’re doing off the court.
After firing head coach Steve Nash, the Nets leaked information that suspended Celtics head coach Ime Udoka would soon take over the team.
That landed like a lead balloon as Udoka was suspended for sexual misconduct. So, finally, on Wednesday, the Nets announced that interim head coach Jacque Vaughn would get the job.
All of this is happening with Kyrie Irving under an indefinite suspension for conduct detrimental to the team – spreading anti-Semitic hate speech.
Michael Epstein again weighs in with us:
“It’s the role of the players’ association to advocate for all of their members. Here, Kyrie has an argument that the NBA franchise violated his rights as a contracted player through this suspension. While this might eventually get to the courts, the first stop is a grievance by the association, whose job is to advocate for Kyrie.”
None of this is entirely dissimilar to the grievance Ben Simmons filed last year against the 76ers. The team had suspended him for lack of effort and then an ultimate refusal to play.
Kyrie Irving met on Tuesday with Adam Silver, NBA’s chief executive. They surely discussed his behavior as well as the six-step plan Nets’ management and ownership set out for his potential return.
I remain in the camp that believes we will never again see Kyrie in a Nets uniform and in not entirely convinced we’ll see him in the NBA again. But I’m also not of the mind that Kyrie will easily walk away from any money he feels he’s owed or a claim for future lost earnings because of mistreatment from the team and the league.
We Survived(?) the Midterms.
The red tsunami was a red ripple.
By mid-morning on Wednesday, as I had predicted, the Senate was tracking to 50-50 and there was the potential for litigation around what some will argue to have been vote counting irregularities.
For those of us who rode the election-tracking train all night on Tuesday right into the breakfast station, it was a remarkable election. So many of the races, especially the most acrimonious campaigns, were so close. It should serve to remind us how deeply divided the nation truly is; the political points of intersection that should exist today simply don’t.
By the time of our publication on Friday, several key gubernatorial and senate races still didn’t have final vote counts.
Attorney Joseph Capo argues that we simply live in litigious times:
“It seems as if the default position for every election is to look to the courts. It’s great that our political system has that check built in it, as each election seems to be more complex than the last.”
This is a great point. Are we ever going to have a simple election again, one in which both sides agree that the election was done properly and legally by eminently qualified and competent people? It seems doubtful after this week.
So What Happened to Brett Favre?
Nothing, or so it seems.
News this week indicates that Favre has not and will not be criminally charged in relation to a Mississippi welfare scam. It was reported that Favre repaid $1.1 million of up at $5 million that was misappropriated/diverted/stolen.
John Lawlor, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer, points out we don’t have great insight into what’s going on with the Favre affair:
“The public doesn’t get to see the decision-making going on behind the scenes in cases like this. It’s not the job of investigators and prosecutors to do any of their work in the public spotlight.”
As authorities investigate whenever they still need to investigate, never one to be out Favre-ed, Favre finds himself deeply enmeshed in yet another potentially huge scandal this week.
As per an ESPN report on Tuesday, two Favre-backed drug companies exaggerated the known effectiveness of their drugs during efforts to raise money.
Meanwhile, one of Favre’s main sponsorship gigs, with Copper Fit, is at least on an extended hiatus.
This is a scandal or series of scandals that is going to leave a permanent mark on Favre’s legacy. Where it all goes from here remains anyone’s best guess.
Is the WTA Heading Back To China?
This, from Jon Wertheim’s Sports Illustrated column last week, says it perfectly:
On Monday, in an interview with the New York Times, the WTA CEO, Steve Simon, said that unresolved concerns about Peng Shuai would keep women’s tennis away from Shenzhen and a lucrative 10-year-deal to stage the Finals.
But what he’s saying isn’t believable.
Under Simon’s leadership, women’s tennis is falling further behind. Case in point, the WTA Finals, which ended on Monday night with the Lyonnaise, Caroline Garcia, bringing home the grand prize. The WTA Finals offered a total purse of $5 million, while the equivalent men’s tournament, the ATP Finals, which starts Sunday in Turin, will offer an event record $14.75 million.
This just isn’t good enough.
Attorney Eric Purchase points out that:
“For the WTA and the men’s tour, the ATP, to return to China, they need to be confident that their players are safe while there. There is the larger issue of Peng Shuai and the freedom of Chinese players to express themselves, but if tennis’ governing bodies can’t be sure that their players will be safe during tournaments they can’t consider a return to China.”
As I have argued here, the WTA made an excellent decision in suspending their China operations. Agreeing to return to China when nothing has changed and the date of Peng remains remarkably unclear would be irresponsible and a sign that WTA cares more about revenue than the well-being of their athletes.
The Elusive Blue Checkmark.
There may be a week where Elon Musk isn’t in our collective news cycle but this ain’t it.
This week saw Musk have at least what appears to be a meltdown over being impersonated by parody accounts. The end result was the allegedly permanent suspension of impersonators, such as Kathy Griffin, and a Musk pledge to crack down on impersonators.
Krenar Camili, a New Jersey lawyer, observes:
“It does seem to be contradictory that Elon Musk purchased Twitter for it to be a platform that defined free speech yet one of his first major acts as its owner is to permanently ban those who create parody accounts of him.”
It really does seem, at times, that Musk is dreadfully fragile, especially for someone who bought the world’s most influential social media network. That it seems to be a surprise to Musk that parody and ire would be aimed at him is pretty remarkable.
With Musk’s net worth plummeting this week to $196 billion (hey, everything is relative) maybe next week will be rosier for Twitter’s new owner. Doubtful.
Sit On Your Barstool
Barstool Sports founder, Dave Portnoy, lost a court case this week in which he sought to prove that Insider defamed him.
Portnoy accused Insider of “willful and unlawful defamation and privacy rights violations” over the publication of two articles in which several women accused Portnoy of sexual assault and misconduct.
But, as Attorney Sandra Choi points out:
“As the judge explained in granting Insider’s motion to dismiss, Portnoy failed to prove that Insider acted with actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth.”
Since Portnoy is a public figure, this is legal standard required to prove defamation of public figures in the United States.
Insider told the Washington Post “Our reporting on Dave Portnoy was careful, fair, and accurate.”
Of course, from the perspective of the Barstool founder and his legions of fans, Portnoy was done wrong. He continued the fight on Twitter with his own interpretation of the judge’s order.
Until next week, be well!
About Aron Solomon
A Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Aron Solomon, JD, is the Chief Legal Analyst for Esquire Digital and 24-7 Abogados. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania, and was elected to Fastcase 50, recognizing the top 50 legal innovators in the world. Aron has been featured in Forbes, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Fortune, Venture Beat, The Independent, Fortune China, Yahoo!, ABA Journal, Law.com, The Boston Globe, NewsBreak, and many other leading publications.