The “Knockout Game causing Concussions,” the “Bounty Game” when football opponents are taken from the field and unable to return to a game with Concussion, Settlement with NFL Players for “NFL Concussion Mismanagements” or an “Intentionally Flagrant Basketball Foul” that causes Concussions and other injuries incidents can all lead to criminal charges and personal injury claims.

Flagrant Basketball Fouls are assaults by assailants on unsuspecting, vulnerable, defenseless victims. When serious injuries result from Flagrant Basketball Fouls criminal charges and personal injury claims can be brought against the assailant. Coaches and Athletes can be fired and dismissed from the team for just cause.

Additionally, when that basketball team with players with assailant characters on their rosters visits other conference teams for return games, they might not receive warm receptions, to say the least, if they get the bad reputation for Sports Violence.

The already suspect “one and done” UK basketball team doesn’t need a further negative energy field around the program. Flagrant Basketball Fouls are not befitting the persona of Student Athletes dedicated to fair play and sportsmanship.

Serious, permanent injuries and deaths from sports violence attacks on athletes during play outside the rules of the game can develop and can affect the Athlete victim for his/her lifetime.

Aaron Harrison was called for a flagrant foul after he created a run out after a bad shot. Harrison caught up with Miss St’s Roquez Johnson went up behind him as he attempted to dunk the run out and slammed his arm across Johnson’s face causing him to twist of balance and fall to the follow under the goal striking his head on the floor. Johnson was stunned and left the floor unable to shoot his free throws. Colin Borchert made both for Johnson.

As usual, Big Blue Nation reporter, John Clay, sugar coated what could have been a disastrous outcome of the foul. “Aaron Harrison being called for a flagrant foul when his arms got locked up with a State player who was flying in for his own jam” was a far cry from the truth about that flagrant foul. Harrison, who was frustrated, intended to hurt Johnson and he did. [John Clay: Cats’ bad habits turn into positive play against State By JohnClay, Herald-Leader Sports Jan 8, 2014 ]

The referees called the flagrant 1 foul regardless of the BBN reporter’s viewpoint, not shared with this reporter.

The Bulldogs had a six-point possession as a result of a Flagrant foul by freshman guard Aaron Harrison on a dunk by Mississippi State junior forward Roquez Johnson. Two free throws and a layup later, the Bulldogs led by six and controlled the advantage at halftime, even as UK’s offense was revving up [Nick Gray Jan 8, 2014]

It got physical. Aaron Harrison with a flagrant foul on Roquez Johnson. Colin Borchert, who said some things to UK players because of it, made the two free throws for Johnson who left the game. 32-28 Mississippi State. The refs were worried about the game getting out of hand. Willie Cauley-Stein with a block that not only turns into a foul but a double technical on Willie Cauley-Stein and Roquez Johnson. [Alan Cutler Jan 8, 2014]

Sports Violence sets the tone for
• an ugly atmosphere during sports competition
• discord among teams and players
• Domestic Abuse researchers report
Children and adults when playing an excessively violent sports video games increased
• aggressive affect
• aggressive cognition
• aggressive behavior, and attitudes towards violence in sports.
• Because all games were competitive, these findings indicate that violent content uniquely leads to increases in several aggression-related variables, as predicted by the General Aggression Model and related social–cognitive models.
[Causal effects of violent sports video games on aggression: Is it competitiveness or violent content? Craig A. Andersonm Nicholas L. Carnageya Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 45, Issue 4, July 2009, Pages 731–739]

HOUSTON (AP) — A white Houston-area man was arrested Thursday on federal hate crimes charges for allegedly shooting video of himself sucker-punching a 79-year-old black man in a “knockout game”-style attack. [‘Knockout game’ attack leads to hate crime charge, Dec 27, 2013 USA Today]

For the second time in six weeks, New York City police have arrested a man in Brooklyn and charged him with assault as a hate crime in connection with the “knockout game.”

The arrest comes as a spate of attacks have focused national attention on the knockout game, in which an assailant tries to knock out an unsuspecting bystander with one punch. [Mark Sappenfield, Jan 5, 2014, Christian Science Moniter]

Four players, including linebacker Jonathan Vilma, were suspended Wednesday by the NFL for their roles in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program. Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season. The other three players, two of them no longer with the Saints, received lesser penalties.

Former Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, was suspended for eight games, Saints defensive lineman Will Smith was suspended for four games and former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, was suspended for three games.

Jonathan Vilma (AP Photo/Seth Perlman) All the suspensions are without pay. The league, in a written release, cited the players for their leadership roles in the bounty program, which paid players over the past three seaons for hits that injured opponents.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell previously suspended Saints Coach Sean Payton for the entire season, General Manager Mickey Loomis for a half-season, assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six games and Williams indefinitely in connection with the bounty scandal.

The Saints were fined $500,000 and stripped of a pair of second-round draft choices, though the league has announced that the team’s loss of its 2013 second-round pick could be modified.

Players were paid for hits that resulted in opponents being taken from the field or left unable to return to a game, as well as for big plays such as interceptions and fumble recoveries, according to the NFL investigation.

Football Bounty System Criminal Charges

The bounty system implicates at least two types of criminal charges: battery and conspiracy. Battery, which under Louisiana law is punishable by up to six months in jail, refers to the intentional use of force upon another person without that person’s consent. Here, a Saints player who intentionally tried to injure another team’s player could have battered that player. In response, a Saints player might argue that offensive players assume the risk of serious injury on every play, especially since defensive players are rewarded for stopping the advancement of the ball. That rationale would be deeply flawed, however, because while offensive players assume the risk of injury on a tackle, they do not assume the tackle is intended to injure them. The Saints’ “pay for injury” model is clearly outside the boundaries of the game and an assumption of risk defense holds little weight.

It is even possible that a Saints player could be charged with second degree battery. This is a more serious type of battery, which carries a potential five-year prison sentence and which refers to intentionally inflicting serious bodily injury. Under Louisiana law, “serious bodily injury” refers to causing another person extreme physical pain, unconsciousness, or risk of death. A bounty to injure someone so seriously that he’s carted off the field arguably rises to second degree battery.

There is a three years statute of limitation for battery charges, which means that bounties — which took place over the last three seasons — occurred recently-enough for criminal prosecution.

It’s not just Saints players who are susceptible to criminal charges. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who admits to aiding and abetting the bounty system, could be charged as a conspirator. Under Louisiana law, criminal conspiracy is when two or more persons — such as a defensive coordinator and his players — agree to commit a crime (battery).

Head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis may have also committed crimes by failing to do anything about the bounty system. Louisiana law recognizes criminal negligence which refers to conduct that, while not intentional, shows a callous disregard for the safety of others. If Payton and Loomis were indeed aware of the bounty system and let it slide, they seem susceptible to criminal charges.

While the above provides a road map to criminal prosecutions of Saints players, coaches and front office personnel, prosecutors seldom seek charges for incidents that occur on the field. This is true even for on-field incidents that would clearly be crimes if they occurred on a public street. Prosecutors and judges generally defer to leagues to enforce their own rules and assign their own penalties. While this deference makes sense on some levels, one may wonder whether an NFL penalty provides adequate deterrence for preventing future bounty systems: even the most serious NFL fine — banishment from the game — could never come close to the threat of a judge sentencing someone to jail or prison. Besides, in the rare instances when criminal charges are brought by authorities, they are often brought outside of the U.S. (such as when Vancouver authorities charged Boston Bruins defenseman Marty McSorley for his vicious slash of Vancouver Canucks forward Donald Brashear).

Personal Injury Claims

Players who were injured by the Saints’ bounty system could file personal injury lawsuits against the Saints, Williams, and the players who earned bounties. They are unlikely to do so, since NFL players seldom file personal injury claims for on-field injuries. Then again, a player injured because of bounty may feel differently than if he had been injured in the normal course of a game. With a bounty system, a player is targeted for injury. No player assumes such a risk. Plus, put yourself in the position of a player injured by a bounty: you suffered the injury not because of fair play but because a “hit man” tried to injure you. You and your family may seek legal redress for this unquestionable wrong.

Tax Evasion

Players who received bounty payments should have reported them as taxable income; even if the payments arose because of criminal activity, such “ill gotten gains” are taxable. Failure to pay one’s full share of taxes constitutes tax evasion. The IRS and Louisiana Department of Revenue are likely following the bounty system scandal with a watchful eye.

Contract Termination For Cause

If the bounty scandal becomes a major story, Saints owner Tom Benson may deem it necessary to fire players, coaches and front personnel who participated in it. Those firings could be done “for cause”, which would relieve the Saints of any remaining financial obligations on the contract. A for cause firing may be appropriate because the bounty system is arguably criminal and tortious and is clearly outside the scope of any employment contract. It has also caused the Saints franchise serious and potentially irreparable harm. [Breaking down the potential legal fallout of Saints’ bounty system by Michael McCann, Mar 6, 2012 Sports Law Sports Illustrated]

[ NFL suspends four players for roles in New Orleans Saints bounty scandal 05/02/2012 TheWashingtonPost By Mark Maske]

Criminal charges are extremely unlikely even if the intent to injure is evident. Police and prosecutors, already dealing with street violence, are reluctant to intervene in anything that happens on the field. From previous cases, prosecutors have learned that judges and juries very rarely convict an athlete for a collision or a fight that many view as part of the game. Even in the worst of cases, the courthouse punishment is minimal. One of the most egregious incidents came during an NHL game in March 2004 when Vancouver forward Todd Bertuzzi attacked Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche. Looking for revenge and a reported bounty after Moore gave Vancouver captain Markus Naslund a concussion in an earlier game, Bertuzzi stalked Moore in attempt to provoke a fight. When Moore refused to fight, Bertuzzi attacked him from behind, punching him in the back of the head. Moore landed on his face and suffered three fractured vertebrae, a concussion, amnesia and deep lacerations. The injuries ended Moore’s career. Even in these compelling circumstances — an obviously deliberate and dirty attack that caused life-altering injuries — the criminal charges were settled for community service. And there is nothing in the record of any Saints player that remotely resembles the Bertuzzi attack.
[Legal action unlikely in Saints’ bounties, By Lester Munson, ESPN Mar 6, 2012]

Despite a confident display Tuesday from the players’ attorney during a media conference call, it is increasingly clear that the $765 million concussion litigation settlement between the NFL and players who sued the league over health issues could yet fall apart.

A review of 356 pages of settlement details filed Monday in federal court in Philadelphia finds settlement details that may be disappointing to many players, details that could lead them to opt out of the agreement and take their chances in individual trials.

Christopher Seeger, the co-lead attorney for the players and one of the principal negotiators of the arrangement, insists that the number of opt outs will be minimal, but players and their attorneys are certain to raise concerns about the levels of injury compensation and the fees to be awarded to Seeger and other class-action lawyers in the case.

As soon as U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody approves the settlement papers that were filed Monday, the players will have a 60-day period to make their decisions on whether to opt out. There is no magic number of opt outs that will cause the settlement to collapse. According to the settlement documents, the NFL has the right to walk away from the settlement “for any reason whatsoever” before the final approval process begins.

The NFL wants the settlement to work and to end the league’s concussion crisis, but it will not hesitate to walk away should the number of opt outs reach the point where the payment of $900 million in settlement no longer makes sense. Why pay roughly $900 million to settle something that is not settled? [Settlement details might rile players, Players in NFL concussion deal may have concerns over payouts, attorney fees Jan 7, 2014, by Lester Munson | ESPN.com

With increasing amounts of violence in sports today our children are becoming more and more accustomed to it. With the media’s influence, our society has grown to appreciate and encourage misbehavior in athletic events. Our children of today look to athletes as role models and have begin to mimic their violent trends. With the emphasis on winning and the overflowing emotions in athletic competition it is essential that we encourage good sportsmanship, positive attitudes, and reminders that winning isn’t everything. [Sports Violence and its Affects on Children by Katie Miller, Brett Leonard, Katie Titcomb]
[Violence in Youth Sports July 11, 2001 PsychCentral.com]
CHICAGO, July 11 — Sportsmanship has gone bad. Last week, in Reading, Massachusetts, a single father of four children died after a fight at his son’s hockey game. The fistfight broke out after two fathers argued about rough play in their sons’ youth hockey game. In New York, Mike Piazza accused pitcher Roger Clemens of throwing at his head in the second inning of last weekend’s game. And in Zimbabwe, twelve people died in a stampede at a soccer game.

There are other occasions where parents and athletes have hit coaches, referees and each other. Although each occurrence does not result in death, this is a problem. Because this problem is ever-increasing, the Jupiter-Tequesta Athletic Association out of Florida, with the National Alliance for Youth Sports, held a mandatory sportsmanship training course for parents earlier this year.

The main reason for this type of course is that these actions reach young people who look up to their parents and professional athletes as role models. There are things that can be done to improve on and off-the-field behavior and promote good sportsmanship. To better understand this, Dr. Darrell J. Burnett, a respected youth sports psychologist, author of Youth, Sports, & Self-Esteem: A Guide for Parents and featured in the Playbook for Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Help Kids Get the Most Out of Sports, can discuss this important issue.

Darrell J. Burnett, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Licensed Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor, a Certified Group Psychotherapist and a Certified Sports Psychologist in southern California. Dr. Burnett was selected as a National Sports Ethics Fellow by the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island. He has specialized in “positive parenting” issues throughout his professional career, which extends over 20 years.

Dr. Burnett received a B.A. and M.A. in philosophy at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He received an M.A. in psychology from Xavier University before moving from his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio to complete a Ph.D. in psychology at the United States International University, San Diego, California. He was awarded a one-year post-doctoral fellowship in psychology at the Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA.

Dr. Burnett can discuss the goal of youth sports as well as the parents’ role in their child’s activities.
Hard-hitting contact sports such as American football and ice hockey carry the troubling offshoot of violence, both on the field and off, among both players and fans. The psychological impact of such violence includes harmful and even life-threatening mental illnesses to players — which may persist long after their playing days are over — as well as destructive behavior among fans, such as rioting

Collisions and Concussions

Violent play can damage the mind. “Concussions are a common problem in sports and have the potential for serious complications if not managed correctly,” the National Federation of State High School Associations notes. The Sports Legacy Institute warns that athletes who suffer multiple concussions could be at risk for a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which it ties to “memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, paranoia, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.”

Casualties of Violence

In an ominous sign, three National Hockey League “enforcers” have died at young ages since May: Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak. None were over 35. Rypien had endured depression. Boogaard took a fatal, accidental mixture of alcohol and oxycodone. Belak reportedly committed suicide. In a September 5, 2011 “San Jose Mercury News” article, SLI co-director Dr. Robert Cantu wondered whether CTE affected their deaths, saying the disease “attacks the portion of the brain that controls functions of memory, emotion, addictive behavior and impulse control, the latter associated with suicide.” [Psychological Impact of Violence in Sports Sep 13, 2011 | By Richard Tenorio, LivingStrong.com]

Intentional Flagrant Basketball Foul

May 8, 2011, Andrew Bynum committed a flagrant foul against Jose Barea during the final minutes of the Dallas Mavericks sweep over the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. Bynum embarrassed his team and coach Phil Jackson by committing such a flagrant foul. The Lakers were sure to lose by this point in the game.

Andrew Bynum was ejected for the flagrant foul for spearing Jose Barea in the ribs during a layup with 8:21 remaining in the 4th quarter. Bynum showed more disrespect and immaturity as he took off his jersey on his way off the court.

In law the crime of battery is an act, done for the purpose of causing a harmful or offensive contact with another person, which actually causes such contact. In sporting events participants consent to the type of contact typically associated with the sport, so the hard foul, usually an unsuccessful attempt to block a shot, is never battery but just a part of the game.

Here, Mr. Bynam fired his elbow to the rib cage of a defenseless Mr. Barea for the sole purpose of making contact and causing damage. This cowardly action had nothing to do with the game of basketball.

Mr. Bynam committed a crime. The resulting harm was not serious (thankfully) so it is not worth involving the law, but the NBA should take a hard line and impose a suspension of at least one year to discourage this type of behavior.

Andrew Bynum committed a crime and the DA in Texas should arrest him. If the Commissioner of the NBA wants to get rid of Bynum’s type of thug thinking he must suspend Bynum for at least a year. The commissioner should really just put him out of the league. Bynum cared nothing about putting a fellow player out of the league for life. Actually, he showed clearly that he does not understand the difference of playing defensive football and defense in basketball. Bynum needs to go to jail. [SodaHeadSports, May 8, 2011]
But on Feb. 24, 1993, in a playoff game against Antelope Valley Community College just a week before the tournament, Miller saw her aspirations dashed. Literally.

As she went airborne to attempt a breakaway layup, an Antelope Valley player shoved her, slamming her into a wall under the basket. Miller was taken to a hospital with a dislocated left elbow, an injury that ended her career. The player, Niani Dunn, was ejected from the game for a flagrant foul.

Now Miller, a former all-star basketball player at Edison High School here, is taking legal action. She filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court last week seeking $1 million in damages from Dunn, Antelope Valley Community College and the college’s women’s basketball coach, Jackie Lott.

“I feel like part of my life has been taken away from me,” the 20-year-old Huntington Beach woman said Monday. “No money can make up for the pain I’ve gone through, but I kind of feel like I’ve lost my future.”

Local basketball coaches describe the action as unusual, saying they cannot remember any lawsuits involving on-court activities. But legal action, even criminal prosecution, for deliberate acts of violence in sports is not entirely unprecedented.

In 1988, Dino Ciccarelli of the Minnesota North Stars was sentenced to a day in jail for striking Luke Richardson of the Toronto Maple Leafs with his hockey stick on the head twice. A handful of other hockey players have also been charged over the last three decades after attacking competitors with their sticks.

In Miller’s case, school officials did not call the police, but then-Athletic Director Tom Hermstad fired off a letter to his counterpart at Antelope Valley to ask whether any action had been taken against Dunn and Lott.

After the foul was committed, Lott was not concerned that Miller was sprawled on the floor–in pain, Hermstad wrote. He said the opposing coach screamed at the referees, ” ‘How could you throw (Niani Dunn) out of the game? We are already down X amount of points. How do we get back in the game?’ ”

Tom Brandige, vice president of Antelope Valley Community College, declined on Monday to discuss the lawsuit or the contents of Hermstad’s letter. The school also did not reply to Hermstad’s correspondence because of the potential for litigation. Dunn and Lott could not be reached for comment.

“I hope this does not sound sexist, but if that was a men’s game, I expect that there would have been a brawl,” said Hermstad, who is now vice president of instruction at Golden West College. “(Dunn) made no attempt to play the ball. If there was ever a word for brutal, that foul typified it.”

Basketball player faces assault charge for flagrant foul
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Valley City State basketball player will be charged with assault for throwing an elbow that gave a South Dakota School of Mines & Technology player a concussion and 14 stitches during a game last week, a prosecutor says.

Investigators are still working on a report in the case, Pennington County state’s attorney Glenn Brenner said, and he will wait until it is finished before filing a charge of simple assault against Matt Klabo of Garrison, N.D.

Simple assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The charge could be filed next week.

Brenner said he made up his mind after seeing videotape of the Friday night incident in a game between Tech and Valley City State of North Dakota.

“I’ve seen the tape. There will be charges. That’s 100%,” he said. “Unequivocally, there will be charges. I believe it indicates very clear assault.”

Klabo, a senior, referred comments to his attorney, Jeff Collins of Rapid City. Collins said he had just talked with Klabo on Thursday.

“At this time, we aren’t going to say anything until he’s charged,” Collins said. “Until we know what he’s charged with, it’ll all be premature.” [USA Today 2/24/2005]

Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce was fined $15,000 for his flagrant foul on Indiana’s George Hill.
Pierce was ejected in the third quarter of the Nets’ 103-86 loss on Monday for a flagrant 2 foul.

Hill picked off a bad pass and raced down the court for a layup, but was clotheslined by Pierce on the pay. After a review, referees ruled it a flagrant 2, which carries an automatic ejection. The NBA said Tuesday that Piece made “excessive and unnecessary contact.” [Brooklyn, NY ,SportsNetwork.com]

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