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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I Fought The Law And The Law Wouldn't Even Fight Back

While putting off working on my Comment, this article came to my attention. Apparently, a kid in New York was wrestling for the high school state championship and won the match, 7-6. In celebration, he threw his headgear in the air and then went to shake his opponent's hand, which officially ends the match. Only problem was that throwing equipment is a mandatory two-point deduction, and since the kid did it before the match was technically over, he lost the championship. So he did what any American would do - he sued.

The court did exactly what it should have and refused to hear the case. You can't have amateur athletes turning to the judicial system when they get screwed by a proper application of the rules. Think about what that could mean - referees would always be worried about being overturned by a court, and so every minor rules infraction would have to be called. Then you start getting into gray areas of judgment - for example, could you sue a ref for not calling a holding penalty late in a critical game? What if the tape shows that he should have?

It's a dangerous path to go down, people, and hopefully we don't go down it.

Coincidentally, I happened to stumble across some court opinions similar to this one in cases where schools or athletes sued their leagues after they caused the school to forfeit games due to an ineligible player. (Correctly, the courts almost always said that as long as the eligibility rules were applied in a nondiscriminatory way, the league is within its right to impose the necessary penalty.)

But what if, say, a team sued a player who deliberately misled the team as to his ineligibility, causing the team to forfeit all games he played in? Would the team have a cause of action against the player? What kind of damages would the team seek?

Any brilliant ideas?


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