Recent Comments by zddoodah

Child Dies After 50-Foot Fall Out of Luxury Suite Fall at Lakers Game

As a lawyer in CA, and a parent of two kids under 10, and a (partial) season ticket holder for the LA Kings (who share Staples Center with the Lakers), I have mixed feelings after reading the article and the posts here.

Obviously, it's a tragedy, and there's no minimizing that.

However, there's no question in my mind, based on information in the article and other public information about the incident, that the parents were negligent and that their negligence was a "substantial factor" in the death of their child ("substantial factor" being an important term in CA negligence law). Is it "criminal negligence"? I don't practice criminal law, so I don't really know. I do, however, think it's fairly unlikely that the Los Angeles County District Attorney would prosecute them for this.

As a parent, I can't even conceive of bringing a two year old to a sporting event, much less letting the child crawl/walk around unattended in one of the Staples Center luxury suites. Kids that young get nothing out of the game, and they tend to annoy people around them who want to watch the game. Of course, relatively few people in the luxury boxes actually care about watching the game.

Unfortunately, I think that Staples Center also has some potential liability. I'm familiar with how the suites are laid out, and it's arguably negligent to allow such a young child into one given the configuration. Under California law, it doesn't matter if the parents were "more negligent." Anyone whose negligence is a "substantial factor" in causing the death can be held liable. That triggers insurance coverage and the potential desire of the insurer(s) to settle to avoid a potential huge jury verdict and high defense costs (that's what happened when the Columbus Blue Jackets settled with the family of the girl hit with a puck). The question for me would be whether these people are the actual suite-holders and, if so, whether there was any sort of liability waiver included in the contract for the suite.

Do I think any legal action "should" happen? No, but it would hardly be the first time a negligent parent sued someone else in an effort to hold that other person liable for something that was primarily the parent's fault.

All in all, this pretty much sucks for everyone. I'd be willing to bet that Staples makes some changes to the luxury box configurations (just like the NHL put up nets following the Columbus incident).

posted by zddoodah at 12:40 PM on November 24, 2010

Supreme Court Refuses to Take Redskins Case

where were you the last n times we went over this?

Beats the hell out of me (seeing as how you haven't provided any information regarding the dates/times of "the last n times we went over this"), and I don't see why that's relevant. As far as I know, this is a public message board where folks can and do come and go as they please.

posted by zddoodah at 12:39 PM on November 17, 2009

Supreme Court Refuses to Take Redskins Case

Further, as far as I know, it doesn't matter under trademark law what race of individuals find a trademark to be offensive. If Native Americans don't find it to be so for whatever reason, USPTO can (and did) find the term offensive anyway.

As noted, section 1052 does not use the term "offensive." The question on which the TTAB originally ordered the mark canceled was whether the mark "may disparage . . . persons, living or dead . . . or bring them into contempt, or disrepute." One of the tests for making that determination is how the group in question views the mark. That's why the challenge to the U. of Fl.'s use of "Seminoles" didn't go anywhere. If you review the TTAB's original opinion, you will see that about 36% of the "native Americans" surveyed by the petitioner's expert did find the term "offensive," and the TTAB found that to be sufficiently significant for purposes of the section 1052 challenge. Had the evidence indicated a much smaller percentage, it is unlikely that the TTAB would have reached the same result. I merely noted (because I find it somewhat interesting) that the survey indicated that non-Indians were more likely than Indians to view the term as offensive. I find it interesting because I think it says something about the false paternalism so often involved in these sorts of issues.

posted by zddoodah at 12:36 PM on November 17, 2009

Supreme Court Refuses to Take Redskins Case

Where do you get that the Supreme Court made a value judgment on the importance of this issue when they denied cert?

Rule 10 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States ( provides that a "petition for a writ of certiorari will be granted only for compelling reasons." It further provides (and the well-known reality of how the Court considers and rules on cert petitions confirm) that petitions are granted only (a) where the lower court decided "an important federal question" in a manner that conflicts with a decision by another federal Court of Appeals or a court of last resort of a state, or (b) where the lower court "has decided an important question of federal law that has not been, but should be, settled by this Court, or . . . in a way that conflicts with relevant decisions of this Court."

Therefore, the denial of cert -- even without comment (which is the case in almost all cert denials) -- tells us that Court believed that there was no conflict and/or that the issue was not sufficiently "important." The single issue presented for the Court's consideration in the cert petition (which you can read here: was "[w]hether the doctrine of laches is applicable to a cancellation petition filed pursuant to Section 1064(3) of the Lanham Act." Although the petitioner argued that there is a split in the circuits on this issue, I'm not sure you'd find a whole heck of a lot of folks who would consider the applicability of laches to a Lanham Act cancelation proceeding to be, on the grand scale of things, "an important question of federal law."

posted by zddoodah at 12:28 PM on November 17, 2009

Supreme Court Refuses to Take Redskins Case

don't let a little thing like proper spelling get in the way of your ignorance when it comes to race relations and what it means to the people who's nationality is being made a mockery of.

But by all means do allow something like a trivial misspelling to detract from the actual substantive issue.

posted by zddoodah at 10:36 AM on November 17, 2009

Supreme Court Refuses to Take Redskins Case

one could make an argument that stripping trademark protection in such a case constitutes a government taking of property in violation of the Fifth Amendment, thus violating an inherent (constitutional) right.

One could indeed make the argument. However, regulatory takings of personal property (as opposed to real property) are very rarely found to be unconstitutional. Additionally, takings are not unconstitutional if "just compensation" is paid.

Then we have the Jersey Devils whose name may offend the sensibilities of all the many denominations of the religious. Of course some Irish folks may be offended by Notre Dame's nickname. Do all of the Irish people fight? Lastly we can't have the Somali pirates mad at us,so perhaps the Raiders and Bucs better change their names too. Simply put, when and where does all the PC bullshit begin and end?

This is more than a little silly. The issue is not whether it's appropriate to use a racial, ethnic, or national name for a sports team. Rather, the issue is whether a particular mark "[c]onsists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute." 15 U.S.C. 1052. It would be frivolous to argue that any of the names mentioned are deceptive, scandalous, or disparaging (and I'm not aware of the TTAB or any court refusing to register a mark canceling a mark on "morality" grounds). "Devil" is one of numerous names used to describe supposed evil beings or spirits, and I don't think we're going to get a group of persons claiming actually to be devils to challenge the Devils's use of the name. Nor do I believe that any non-trivial percentage of Irish persons finds "Fighting Irish" to be disparaging? Nor can one say with a straight face that the use of "Raiders" or "Buccaneers" for a football team (as opposed to their actual conduct) brings the Somali pirates into disrepute.

Maybe you should spend a little time learning about an issue before you deride it as "PC bullshit."

Having knowledge of the issue doesn't necessarily remove it from the category of "PC bullshit." Indeed, having knowledge can push an issue further into that category. Interestingly, here, the petitioners' own survey evidence found that a significantly higher percentage of the general population found the term "redskins" to be offensive than did so-called "native Americans" (a term which is, itself, misleading and misdecriptive).

Given the basis for the Court of Appeals's decision, it's hardly surprising that the Supreme Court denied cert, concluding that the matter was not of sufficient "importance" to warrant review.

posted by zddoodah at 10:35 AM on November 17, 2009

Questionable Call

Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where it takes something like this to fix a bad rule. I've been a Broncos fan since the Superbowl XII season, but even I have to admit that the call was correctly reversed to a fumble AND that, under the circumstances, Hochuli should have had the discretion to award the ball to San Diego.

As for the Broncos going for 2, it's been said more than once that Shanahan was playing with the house's money. He's no "genius" for having done it, and, if it hadn't worked, I think most folks would have recognized that they shouldn't have gotten the TD to begin with. AND, who knows...maybe they'd have recovered the ensuing onside kick.

posted by zddoodah at 05:15 PM on September 16, 2008

Olympic Traitor?

"I think the US women's ping-pong player is from China."

Not just A player. The four members of the U.S. women's ping pong team are Wang Chen (born in Beijing and who "who was a mainstay of the Chinese team in the 1990s"), Crystal Xi Huang (born in Changsha, Hunan, China), Gao Jun (born in Dalian, China), and Jackie Lee (who was, shockingly, born in the U.S.).

According to Gao Jun's bio at, "The International Table Tennis Federation recently approved a rule stating that anyone over the age of 21 may not emigrate to another country to further their [sic] playing career. Even those under the age of 21, while allowed to switch country allegiances, would have to wait certain amounts of time before they could actually compete for that nation. That means after the Beijing Games, anyone hoping to emulate the careers of Gao and fellow-U.S. Olympian Wang Chen would not be able to do so. [P] Needless to say it's been met with criticism on both sides of the argument. As Gao told the Associated Press, 'If you cut out all (foreign players) and tell the Americans to play by themselves, you'll see what's going to happen to the level of talent. The situation will be that there won't be any team that can compete against China.'"

In other words, all you Americans can't hold my Chinese jock strap! Of course, who really cares about ping pong besides Forrest Gump?!

posted by zddoodah at 03:52 PM on August 18, 2008

Red Wings' boozy confession: We jacked up the Stanley Cup.

"It seems there's always a 'oops, I dropped the Cub and put a crack/dent in it' story." I think 1908 was the last time there was a celebration that involved dropping a Cub! ;-)

posted by zddoodah at 04:36 PM on June 20, 2008

Johnson says he'll return medal

The responses so far illustrate the difference between the questions of "would you?" and "should you?" Logically and morally, whether a person does or does not have other medals is of no relevance to the decision to return or not to return the medal (that said, I agree that it is an easier decision because he has other medals). Nor is it relevant how hard anyone trains. Had the violations been discovered ahead of time (or before the medals were awarded), the entire team would have been disqualified. Johnson could not have one the medal on his own. I do not, however, agree with disqualifying everyone on the national team. The cheating by one guy who ran a leg on the 4x400 team had no relevance on the guy who ran the 10k or threw the hammer. Why not take away the basketball team's gold medal too (oh wait...nevermind)?

posted by zddoodah at 11:31 AM on June 04, 2008

10 spectacles of sport to see before you die.

I'll never understand why folks who put these sorts of lists together feel they must eschew things that your average, everyday sports fan would actually want to attend. And, frankly, it's beyond me why anyone feels competent to tell me what I "must see" before I die. I'd like to visit Sydney, but the blurb says it all -- you don't really need a reason, so if you're going to go, why not go on this day (assuming you don't mind spending thousands of dollars and 30+ hours round trip flight time to be packed like a sardine)? I'd also do the Iditarod, but that's only because I think Alaska is way cool. The rest of those I couldn't care less about (two of them aren't even sports). Where's the World Series, the Superbowl, the Indy 500, the Stanley Cup finals, etc., etc.? Even the World Cup (which is a lot coming from someone who can't stand soccer)?! Or are those just so obvious that there's no point in including them (and, if that's the case, why not say so)?

posted by zddoodah at 03:46 PM on April 29, 2008

Basketball's Best Kept Secret: Revealed.

"Is there anything musically redeeming about it?" If it's rap, then the answer, obviously, is "no."

posted by zddoodah at 02:31 PM on February 27, 2008

Gun Massacre Planned at Super Bowl

"I have the right to bear arms" That's debatable. First of all, no court has ever held that the Second Amendment prevents STATE governments (as opposed to the federal government) from enacting laws that prohibit or restrict gun ownership/possession. Second, 10 of the 12 federal circuit courts of appeals (not to mention the prevailing opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court) have held that the Second Amendment only grants a right to bear arms in the context of a "well regulated Militia" and does not confer an individualized right to gun ownership/possession. "what right do you have to infringe upon my rights?" I don't have any right (unless you consider the fact that the Constitution only constrains governmental conduct). However, the government does have that right. Even if you live in DC or one of the states covered by the Fifth Circuit, no constitutional right is absolute. "For every case of some psycho threatening to kill a bunch of people there are hundreds of cases of people who protected themselves with firearms that the media do not report because it doesn't suit their political bias." Hundreds, eh? And you know this how? It's a convenient argument to assert baldly that you can't back up your premise because of some perceived media bias. Surely at least one of the thousands of media outlets in this diverse country doesn't have an anti-gun bias. Come on.

posted by zddoodah at 09:49 AM on February 08, 2008

Gun Massacre Planned at Super Bowl

"Havelock is charged with mailing threatening communications in the mailing of eight copies of a “manifesto” explaining the planned massacre." Nice grammar/sentence structure. Perhaps the paper's editor took the day off.

posted by zddoodah at 09:39 AM on February 08, 2008

Pro Football Hall of Fame announces the Class of 2008.

"Thoughts on . . . Tippett?" I don't argue with dudes who are 6'3", 240#, and who are 5th/7th degree blackbelts in multiple martial arts. Aside from that, his election by players and coaches to the NFL all time 3-4 defensive team is a pretty high endorsement by those who know the true impact of a person who plays a position that isn't always measured by stats.

posted by zddoodah at 09:19 PM on February 04, 2008

Pro Football Hall of Fame announces the Class of 2008.

"I guess when I think of HOF running backs I think of names such as Brown, Payton, Dickerson, Allen, Dorsett, Smith, Sanders, maybe Curtis Martin guys who played at the highest level for more than a few years in a row." But do you also think of Battles, Canadeo, Dudley, Guyon, Hinkle, and Leemans? They're in the HoF alongside all but one of the names you mentioned. The immortal Alponse Leemans? A whopping 3,132 yards in 8 seasons (12 game sesaons, I'm guessing). Now...I don't know much about any of those guys, but it seems to me that, when arguing something that has no parameters, and, while there's no question that Davis isn't in the same class as Brown, Dickerson, and Smith, there is something to the argument that, if X = HoF, and X=Y, then Y = HoF. Just don't get me started on Phil Rizzuto and the Baseball HoF! :-)

posted by zddoodah at 09:13 PM on February 04, 2008

Pro Football Hall of Fame announces the Class of 2008.

"is Terrell Davis really deserving of the Hall of Fame" I'm a 30 year Bronco fan, so my gut instinct is to say "hell yeah." However... Davis has better overall numbers than a lot of RB/FB in the HoF, but most of those players are from the 20s-40s. Earl Campbell probably provides the best basis for comparison. Campbell played in 115 regular season games over 8 seasons. Davis played in 81 regular season games over 7 seasons (1 game more than 5 full seasons worth). Campbell had 9,407 career yards, or about 1,176 per year, or 81.8 per game. Davis had 7,607 career regular season yards, or about 1,087 per yar, or 93.9 per game. Davis had 4.6 yards per carry to 4.3 for Campbell. Davis had 60 TDs; Campbell had 74. Both were league MVP once. Davis was league offensive player of the year twice; Campbell won the award three times. Campbell went to the Pro Bowl 5 times (and was a 4x all pro -- not sure of the distinction); Davis was a 3x Pro Bowl selection. While their regular season numbers are pretty comparable, Davis is better in several "per game" and "per carry" categories. The glaring difference, of course, is that Davis has the 2 rings, a Superbowl MVP, and some exceptional post-season stats (5.5 ypc; 1,140 yds in 8 games; 1.5 TD/game). I couldn't find all of Campbell's post-season stats (6 games in 78, 79 and 80), but it appears that he was largely ineffective in the 78/79 and 79/80 AFC Championship games against the Steelers. Therefore, I think that Davis is a least as qualified as Campbell, but the question is whether 8 seasons and 115 games is enough to warrant inclusion, but 7 seasons and 81 games isn't. To me, if there's going to be a bright line imposed, then it should be done by the HoF making a rule (e.g., "In order to be considered, a player must have played in at least enough games to constitute five full seasons."). So, I'm back to "hell yeah!"

posted by zddoodah at 01:48 PM on February 04, 2008

Josh Smith is a bad man.

On one side, we've got a sports reporter who hasn't explained the factual basis for his comments, and, on the other side, a self-interest player and his teammate who probably would prefer that the story go away (even if true). So who's telling the truth?

posted by zddoodah at 05:38 PM on November 13, 2007

Josh Beckett's Ex Sings Tonight's National Anthem in Cleveland

"'Jeter is notorious for his off-field plays - he's been linked to the likes of Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jordana Brewster, Mariah Carey, Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Minnillo and Gabrielle Union.'" I heard he's also been linked to Kim Possible and Erin Esurance!

posted by zddoodah at 10:26 AM on October 19, 2007

Beckham Comes to the Colonies

"There's a chicken-egg thing going on here. For every soccer snob singing the praises of the beautiful game to American philistines, there's an American buffoon who slams soccer by presuming that his own lack of interest and knowledge in the sport is shared by everybody else." And my point is made. Why must anyone who finds soccer boring must necessarily be a "philistine" or a "buffoon" who lacks "interest and knowledge"? I, myself, have given soccer a try several times, but its interminable actionless periods, its players who recoil in apparent agony any time an opposing player has the audacity to graze his/her jersey in an effort to draw a foul, and its backwards secret timing system (to say nothing of urine bombs and rioting -- however atypical that might be) never cease to leave me disinterested. Certainly, the more coverage any sport receives, the more interest there will be in it (I'd certainly have a LOT more interested in biathlon, luge, women's softball, and archery if anyone put them on TV with regularity), but that's only true to a certain point, and the reality is that there's more than enough soccer coverage in the media to keep the majority of American sports fans satisfied. "it would be nice if people who could care less about soccer could demonstrate this disinterest by shutting up and moving on" The appropriate terminology is "couldn't care less," and we "buffoons" would be happy to "shut[] up and mov[e] on" if soccer fans would stop trying to shove their sport in our faces.

posted by zddoodah at 06:26 PM on July 16, 2007

Beckham Comes to the Colonies

Soccer's failure to catch on in the US, it has little to do with the lack of coverage by mainstream media. Soccer fans have the high-minded tendency to look down at anyone who doesn't "appreciate" soccer (as opposed to many die hard NHL fans who don't care if the masses don't like/appreciate hockey as though it's their personal, secret treasure), but the reality is that the majority of American sports fans find it boring. The media has TRIED any number of times over the past ten years or so to force soccer down our throats. To be sure, if ESPN used the same blitzkrieg strategy that it uses with the NBA, apparent interest might increase somewhat, soccer is not, and never will be, an American game. As with all prior efforts to force-feed soccer to the masses, the hype over Mr. Beckham (and his desperately in need of a hot fudge sundae wife) will die out in short order -- particularly when wanna be fans and corporate types shell out hundreds of dollars for Galaxy tickets only to find that Mr. Beckham is off playing for his country in some international tournament. And, by the way, what sort of arrogance does it take for someone still to refer to the USA as "the colonies." The Brits lost the war over 2 1/4 CENTURIES ago. Time to move on.

posted by zddoodah at 06:03 PM on July 16, 2007

The best athletes ever, by number.

"a starting pitcher who won fewer than 6 games per year (141 wins over 25 years)" AARRGH! Stupid math. Make that fewer than 10 games per year (141 wins over 15 years).

posted by zddoodah at 11:28 AM on July 06, 2007

The best athletes ever, by number.

"When did people who've never heard of Sam McDowell become 'authorities'"? Hmmm...I don't seem to recall claiming to be an "authority," and you'll excuse me if I've never heard of a starting pitcher who won fewer than 6 games per year (141 wins over 25 years) and was barely over 500 for his career.

posted by zddoodah at 11:18 AM on July 06, 2007

The best athletes ever, by number.

When did people who drive cars become "athletes"? I'm sure Richard Petty over Dennis Eckersley at #43 was an appeal to the winston-smoking redneck element, but come on! Dale Earnhart over Bronco Nagurski for runner-up at #3? I'll excuse Jimmie Johnson at #48 since I've never heard of Sam McDowell and I couldn't think of an actual athlete who wore that number.

posted by zddoodah at 10:31 AM on July 06, 2007

The best athletes ever, by number.

Where the heck is Luc Robitaille at #20?! Not even a mention of the highest scoring left winger in the history of the NHL (particularly when Vladislaw Tretiak is on the list) is an INSULT. Frank Robinson probably should have gotten the nod, with Luc, Barry and Mike Schmidt fighting it out for runner-up.

posted by zddoodah at 10:26 AM on July 06, 2007

The best athletes ever, by number.

"Sorry, but number 60 must go to Tommy Nobis of the Atlanta Falcons via the University of Texas. There should be no debate. Otto Graham was great, but his impact doesn't match that of Tommy's." Impact? I had to look him up to find who he was even. I've known of Graham since I was a kid. Maybe Nobis is big stuff in Texas, but Graham's NATIONAL impact was well beyond that of Nobis, who isn't even a member of the pro football hall of fame. You're right about one thing: there should be no debate.

posted by zddoodah at 10:23 AM on July 06, 2007