Friend Of The Court

Fear not. I am not going to spend any time today on the subject of the NCAA Tournament. The teams get a rest and time to get ready for the next round; you and I need the same rest. Besides, there are legal issues to consider today…

The first issue is not in the courts – yet. However, if/when it arrives there, the matter will provide me with a dilemma. Let me explain.

    When someone like John Wayne Gacy goes to trial, it is easy for me to “root for” one side in the matter.
    When someone sues the NCAA for anything other than a frivolous matter, it easy for me to “root for” one side in the matter.

    However when North American Veeblefetzer sues the Grace L. Ferguson Airline and Storm Door Company (h/t to Mad Magazine), I really do not care who wins the matter.

However, in this potential case, my dilemma is that I would like both sides to lose and that does not seem possible. According to reports in the New York Daily News, Alex Rodriguez has not paid approximately $3M for legal and investigative services in his abortive arbitration fight to get his baseball suspension overturned. According to the NYDN sources, invoices have been sent but payments have not been forthcoming.

Obviously, I have no idea if there is a problem here beyond A-Rod needing time to have the liquidity to write checks totaling of $3M. However, if he is indeed stiffing his lawyers, private investigators and “crisis management consultants”, that could wind up in a court for settlement. In that case, I would want A-Rod to lose – except that would enrich the weasels that advised him to continue on with his charade. Ok, then I want the lawyers/PIs/crisis managers to lose – except that would enrich A-Rod. See my problem here?

I won’t bore you with the details of this, but about 30 years ago, I received a waiver from the clerk of court to file an amicus curiae brief in a matter where I “had standing’ in the case before the court. After I received the waiver, I put in a call to a cousin who is an attorney and asked two fundamental questions:

    What is the format for an amicus curiae brief?

    Can you point me to an exemplar of a real one?

As you might expect, nothing came of all this other than I did prepare a brief but did not get it to the court before it handed down a summary judgment in the matter. I tell you all this because I wish I would “have standing” should the A-Rod Payment for Services Matter ever go to court. If so, I would prepare another amicus curiae brief in the name of thoughtful and considerate baseball fans and citizens of the US. Here is the core message:

    The participants in the matter before the court are all loathsome creatures. Lady Justice who symbolizes this court may be blindfolded, but she still has her sense of smell. These folks bring such a stench of “Social BO” to the court that her stomach has to turn. The court can further American society a great deal should it find a way to punish and humiliate everyone involved here.

    May it please the court; allow me to channel Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “Make it so.”

One of the writers for the New York Daily News had this sentence in a piece there regarding interactions and motivations for folks in this “non-payment issue”.

“And [A-Rod] reportedly hopes to reconcile with MLB after spending much of 2013 waging war against baseball officials, because he hopes to work as a broadcaster or even become an owner once his career is over.”

Think about the possibility that MLB owners would vote to admit A-Rod to their “club”. I think that is about as likely as:

    Charlie Sheen becoming the US Surgeon General
    Steven Seagal winning an Oscar for Best Actor
    Pee Wee Herman playing nose tackle in the NFL
    Rhett Butler giving a damn
    The Beatles staging a reunion tour

The second legal issue for today is actually before a court. It involves the halftime show for the Super Bowl game in 2012. As always, I missed as much of the halftime extravaganza as I could; therefore, I did not see the event that caused this matter to go to court. Evidently, a rapper whose nom de guerre is M.I.A. delivered a double “offensive finger salute” during her “collaboration” with Madonna in that performance and the NFL has indeed “taken offense”.

The NFL has sued M.I.A. for $1.5M alleging that she “breached her performance contract and tarnished the reputation of the NFL”. If that is all there were in the matter, you could just write it off as a nuisance suit that would eventually be settled once M.I.A.’s career was reduced to the point where she was taking gigs at Bat Mitzvahs. However, the NFL decided to raise the stakes here and has now asked for an additional $15.1M as “restitution” in this matter.

Just to do the math for you here, if the NFL got all of this, they would get $16.6M which sets the price at $8.3M per flipping of the bird. Lest that seem excessive to you, remember that there were probably 50 million people who watched that performance which means that on a per person basis the price for flipping the bird is a measly 17 cents. How did the NFL come up with that “restitution” number? Well, they timed M.I.A.’s act and figured what advertisers would have paid for that much airtime and …

Here is the message I would convey should I be permitted to deliver an amicus curiae brief in this matter:

    The participants in the matter before the court are not necessarily loathsome creatures but they all have to get over themselves. Performers who flip the bird are not expressing themselves artistically; they are desperately seeking attention; attention whores are not interesting. The NFL’s reputation was not tarnished by that action in any meaningful way.

    Set the penalty in this matter at ten grand and then have the sides flip a coin – not the bird – to go double or nothing and the money goes to the charity of choice for the “winner” of the flip.

It should now be clear – crystal clear – to everyone that I never spent a day of my life in law school…

Finally, Brad Dickson had this positive economic analysis in the Omaha World-Herald recently:

“The Oakland A’s are advertising for employees to spend next season running around the field in mascot heads. Finally, the Obama jobs plan begins to pay dividends.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Jim D  On March 25, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Jack- charlie is too busy “winning”; segal, well, he’s just insane and PeeWee is busy in a movie theater with VERY sticky floors somewhere…

    On a serious note: as a consumer of baseball related “sports entertainment- i.e. ‘Some call them Games’”… Then i believe you have a reasonable right to submit a brief as it relates to damage done to humanity- no- perhaps the universe- by this matter…

    Go for it!

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On March 25, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      Jim D:

      My “legal advisory board” says – ever so gently – not to try to do this lest I piss off the court clerk. They tell me that is never a good strategy or tactic.

  • Rich  On March 25, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Minor point: Grace L. Ferguson and Storm Door was a Bob Newhart thing, but Mad may have had a comic version of him doing it.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On March 25, 2014 at 9:17 pm


      You are absolutely right. This is what can happen to 70-year old synapses; they can put two things together that do not belong together. I need to provide a hat-tip to both Mad Magazine for North American Veeblefetzer and another one to Bob Newhart for the Grace L. Ferguson Airline and Storm Door Company.

      Thank you for the correction…

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