Rodeo Read vol. 9

After a brief hiatus, we’re back with another exciting rendition of the Rodeo Read to mark the one-year anniversary of everyone’s favorite segment on the blog. We’re going to catch up on some of the sports and entertainment law news that you may have missed during this past week. So please, hold onto your boots, buckaroo, because we have plenty to discuss—from the continued drama from Ben Simmons’s break-up with the 76ers to Will Smith’s 10-year ban from the Oscars. Let’s dive right in. 

A Messy Breakup

The fallout continues between Ben Simmons and the 76ers after the guard was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in February. After not playing this season due to declining mental health, Simmons has filed a grievance with the NBA against the Sixers. It’s a move  to recover the close to $20,000,000 the team withheld from him this season. The team stopped paying Simmons his $360,000 per game salary in November and have withheld almost $1.3 million per paycheck since. The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement mandates that a grievance must be initiated within 30 days from the occurrence of the event causing the grievance or within 30 days from when the facts of the matter become known to initiate the grievance. This is an interesting little tidbit, as Simmons was traded to the Nets almost 2 months before the grievance was filed. However, the folks in Simmons’s camp have said that they don’t believe the trade triggered the 30-day window because the occurrence causing the grievance has been occurring all season. The 76ers have claimed that Simmons was in breach of his contract (by not playing) and under the NBA’s CBA, have the right to withhold money from his paycheck. The grievance will now go to an arbitration process to figure things out. The result will surely have an impact on mental health issues around the league. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out. 

Speaking of the Sixers…

Speaking of the Sixers, guard Matisse Thybulle was listed as “ineligible to play” against the Raptors in the loss to Toronto on Thursday, due to his COVID-19 vaccination status. A couple of weeks ago, ESPN asked the team (along with the other top-4 teams in the Eastern Conference) if everyone was vaccinated. The Sixers declined to comment, signaling that the answer was no, and pretty much confirmed on Thursday with Thybulle sitting. When asked about it, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said there was nothing the league could to do ensure unvaccinated players would play noting that “we [the NBA] have no choice but to operate under the laws of the jurisdictions in which we play.” This has been the league’s consistent policy as Kyrie Irving has missed most of the Brooklyn Nets’ home games. The Sixers have struggled without Thybulle in the lineup, and what’s worse is that the Sixers will likely face the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs, meaning Thybulle will likely be missing games 3 and 4. Doc Rivers, the 76ers head coach, added, “We don’t know who we’re playing yet, so we’ll just handle that when it comes.” 

Out from the Oscars

There’s more bad news for the Fresh Prince, who is now the “Stale King.” After slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards two weeks ago, Will Smith now knows his punishment. He is banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years. This comes just days after Smith resigned from the Academyas an acknowledgement of his wrongdoing. The decision was made during a Board of Governors meeting in Los Angeles. Smith has been very apologetic since the incident, and he offered a very short statement in response to the Academy’s decision, saying he accepted and respected it. In a bit of good news for Smith, he is still eligible to be nominated and win Academy Awards, although that may be a bit tougher of a feat, considering all that has happened. 

As my good friend and colleague Jeremy Torres pointed out

It seems that Rock would have a fairly easy time pressing charges against Smith should he decide to do so. The California Penal Code defines battery in § 242 as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another,” while assault is defined in § 240 as “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” It’s extremely clear that Smith is guilty of the assault and battery of his colleague.

However, it looks like Smith dodged a bullet and he will not face any charges. According to Will Packer, the Oscars’ producer, the LAPD was ready to arrest Smith, but Rock insisted that not happen. The embattled actor is now likely to keep a low profile and stay out of the public eye. 

Ronaldo’s Rampage

Perhaps the best men’s soccer player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, was seeing red on Saturday after Manchester United’s 1-0 loss to Everton. Ronaldo, who suffered a pretty gruesome-looking injury, was walking off of the pitch when he slapped a the phone out of a child’s hand. You can see the incident here. According to the child’s mother, he suffered a bruised hand and smashed phone. The Merseyside Police have launched an investigation to learn more about the incident. It is still possible Ronaldo faces charges. In an Instagram post, Ronaldo stated: “It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing. Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game. I would like to apologize for my outburst.” He also invited the boy to a game at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s stadium. 

Photo via: Sporting News

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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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