Rodeo Read vol. 7

A quick rundown of this past week in sports, entertainment, and law.

Howdy, folks! I’m back with everyone’s favorite Monday-morning piece: the Rodeo Read. This past week in sports and entertainment law has been full of stories you can discuss at the watering hole, so let’s jump right on in. 

Britney Officially Freed 

No more need for #FreeBritney, rather, we can start using #FreedBritney. That’s right, Britney Spears’ conservatorship has officially come to an end. FINALLY. Judge Brenda Penny on the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled on Friday that Britney’s conservatorship was “no longer required,” and as such, the 13-year conservatorship which controlled her personal life and financial decisions was terminated. Britney once again, and rightfully so, has the right to control her life. This decision comes after her father, James “Jamie” Spears, was suspended as her conservator last month, after what Judge Penny described as a “toxic” situation. I’m confident in saying no pun was intended. Jamie sought to have the conservatorship ended in September, so he “could avoid legal discovery and being deposed under oath about his earnings and financial management of her estate.” John Zabel, Spear’s accountant, who was appointed a co-conservator, will retain administrative powers to assist with the wrapping up of the process. There will be one more hearing, on January 18, 2022, to finalize the transfer of assets back to Britney and handle any other pending financial matters. 

While Britney was not at Friday’s hearing, which by the way, only took 31 minutes, she posted a video on Instagram (that has over 2.77 million likes) of her fans celebrating, with a caption reading in part: “Good God I love my fans so much it’s crazy . . . [b]est day ever.” I’m right there with you, Brit—truly a great day. 

Gruden Hits Back

As we previously reported, John Gruden resigned from his head-coaching gig with the Las Vegas Raiders after e-mails surfaced of him using homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and racist language to address top NFL officials. However, the saga doesn’t end just there. Gruden, who wasn’t even employed by the NFL or one of its member teams at the time, has filed a lawsuit against the League and Commissioner Roger Goodell for intentionally leaking his private e-mails “in order to harm [his] reputation and force him out of his job.” You can read the full lawsuit here.

His lawyer, Adam Hosmer-Henner, stated that there wasn’t an “explanation or justification for why Gruden’s emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL’s investigation of the Washington Football Team or for why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders’ season.” According to the lawsuit, Gruden lost his Skechers endorsement and was removed from Maddden 22 because of these e-mails.  The disgraced coach brought seven claims against the NFL and is seeking an unspecified amount of damages in addition to attorneys’ fees. An NFL spokesperson said that “[t]he allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims.” 

Some believe that Gruden has a strong case. Others, like me, don’t really know. It is really interesting that the NFL sifted through 650,000 e-mails to only release those involving Gruden. There surely have to be other e-mails that could damage the reputations of other figures, right? One thing I do know is that I am interested to see how this all pans out.  

Travis Scott Dropped

After the tragic events that occurred at Astroworld, leading to the death of ten people, Epic Games has begun to remove any Travis Scott imagery from its popular game, Fortnite. In 2020, the game added a dance emote titled “Out West” aptly named after Scott’s song, OUT WEST. However, earlier this week, the gaming developer removed it and even removed a function of the game’s shop to ensure that it could not be added. On top of the dance, Scott had a “skin” created for him that allowed players seeking to get their #1 Victory Royale to look like him. However, this seems to be in the process of being removed as the game’s creators may have given players the option to remove anything related to him from their account.  It is unclear if they are going to, as they would need to give out refunds, which could be costly. This is the first time a brand has distanced itself from the musician. 

Yeezy Brand Shells Out Nearly $1 Million 

As the supply-chain crisis continues to grow, Ye’s (formerly Kanye West) popular sneaker brand, Yeezy, will pay nearly $1 million under California consumer protection laws for failing to ship its products in a reasonable time frame. A lawsuit initiated against the brand by district attorneys in Los Angeles, Alameda, Sonoma, and Napa counties, claimed that Yeezy engaged in unlawful business conduct under California law for false advertising and failing to ship items in a timely manner. 

Under California law, companies must ship goods within 30-days unless otherwise specified on an advertisement or its website. It was alleged that the two companies that make up the brand (Yeezy Apparel LLC and Yeezy LLC) made misleading claims about its shipping time and also failed to ship its goods within the appropriate time frame. On November 8, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office revealed that Yeezy settled the civil consumer protection suit and will pay $950,000. The brand also agreed to stop making any claims about false shipping time and that it will refund any customers who haven’t had their products shipped within a timely manner. 

Photo via:  Tanya Houghton

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3L & Editor-in-Chief of the Buffalo Environmental Law Journal. Sad fan of the Philadelphia sports teams and Tottenham Hotspur. I enjoy writing and learning about the intersection of sports and business law, with a focus on the NHL. H2P!

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