Friday, January 28, 2011

Compensating Athletes For Cartoon Computer Images Just Another Example Of Greed?

Does an athlete have a right to compensation for his image? I am not talking about the public perception of a sports icon. We all know about the tarnished images of Tiger Woods (LINK) and Bret Farve. (LINK). Rather, we are talking about cartoon images of athletes that appear in today's video games. Should the former athlete be compensated for use of his cartoon image?

What was allegedly taken from these former athletes? Former basketball great Oscar Robertson, along with two other former college athletes, is suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Electronic Arts Inc (maker of sports video games) for the unauthorized use of their images.

What is the specifics of their claim? The former college athletes claim that the NCAA prohibited them from receiving compensation during their college career. They claim the NCAA continued the prohibition even after their college career ended. In legal terminology, the plaintiff's allege that the defendant NCAA violated antitrust laws. The suit is pending in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. All together, at least 25 former college athletes are suing the NCAA seeking compensation for the use of their images following their university careers.

For the younger generation: Just who is Oscar Robertson? The "Big O"
was a top NBA draft pick in 1960 after playing for the University of Cincinnati. He played 14 years in the National Basketball Association with the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks. He earned all-star recognition twelve times and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Who are some of the other litigants? Plaintiff, Tate George, played for the University of Connecticut. In the NCAA playoffs in 1990, George caught a 90 foot pass and shot it in for the game winner against Clemson. (This is recognized as one of the top 5 shots in NCAA history.) McDonald's Corp. allegedly used the video of the shot in a recent advertisement without compensating Tate George. and Ray Ellis, played football for Ohio State University.

What is the NCAA position? The NCAA website, said it “opposes student- athlete exploitation. In many cases, the exploitation is subtle and indirect so that a student-athlete may well have no knowledge or awareness that his or her reputation, image or name is being used for these commercial purposes. Combating this type of exploitation remains a challenge.”

What is the caption of the case? Oscar P. Robertson, et al v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al, 3:11-cv-00388, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.

Where can I find my information? Legal pub introduced this topic in March of 2010 in an update within the article on bullying. LINK. It was our position then, and still is, that exploitation of student athletes is wrong. However, in this modern time where athletes feel that they are entitled to special treatment, they make less then sympathetic victims. In the end, it must be decided if this was a wrongful taking of the former players property (their image) and if so, what was the value of that image. Unfortunately for the former players, even if they win on the first issue, one must question the value of an athlete's image given the Bret Farve and Tiger Woods of the sports world.

(Please note the image above is a hypothetical player and not any specific current or former athlete. Any similarity in appearance is purely coincidental.)

Update 2-3-11: EAS Sports, maker of sports video games, stock has shown significant appreciation in value. Obviously, the company is doing well and the threat of litigation with former athletes is not a major concern to stockholders. Athletes are often their own worst enemy because of a lack of judgement outside of the athletic arena. But at least they do not typically assassinate their character as much as the failed assassins outlined by the folks at ONLINE DEGREE.

Update 2-4-11: While the college athletes allege that using their image without compensation is "stealing," here is an article on some notorious college criminals. College Crooks.

Update 10-6-11: Bill Russell is also suing for compensation for use of his image. LINK.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Perhaps Shopping And Store Security Would Be Best Left Up To Females...

We all know that shopping can be hazardous to your wallet. But few realize that it may be hazardous to one's health. But in this growing era of idiots, the risk of death may be real. In Port Orchard, Washington, shoppers found out perhaps why shopping (or at least store security) should be left up to women.. It all started when a man began to run from male deputies at a Wal-Mart. Suddenly, the man changed his course and began shooting in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Deputies were apparently unable to return fire. Fortunately, a female deputy arrived and killed the man. A teenage woman the gunman was apparently with was also killed in the melee. The two law officers wounded in the exchange of gunfire were taken to the hospital. Both are expected to have a full recovery.

How did it all happen? Deputies were first alerted to the man by telephone. When two deputies tried to speak with the man be began to run. "For reasons not yet known, the suspect turned and fired multiple shots," according to sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilson. Both male deputies were wounded and unable to fire back. Fortunately for shoppers, a female officer arrived on the scene and killed the gunman. Both deputies are in satisfactory condition and owe their lives to the female officer. The relationship between the teenage woman and the gunman is currently unknown. She ran to the gunman after he was shot and put herself in the line of fire.

How did the woman die? The identities of the dead haven't been released. According to witnesses, the man began running from deputies and then pulled out a gun and fired behind himself without looking. Five or six shots were fired. Both deputies were hit in the torso. The female cop ran toward the shooter and shot him down. The female accomplice of the shooter apparently ran to the shooter after he was struck and she was fatally wounded by gun fire.

Hasn't this happened before? Wal-Mart is no stranger to shootings. In June of 2009, Lakewood police were involved in a shoot out at a Lakewood Wal-Mart store when four men tried to rob an armored car. Video: Lakewood police. Lakewood story

2-22-11 Update: In an unrelated case, Wal-Mart was vindicated by a jury in a claim where the allegation was inadequate parking lot supervision. In Smith v. Walmart , a jury apparently found Wackenhut, but not Wal-Mart, responsible for inadequate parking lot security. Michael Born was murdered in the Wal-mart parking lot. Wackenhut was found to be responsible for over one million dollars in damages. Plaintiff was represented by attorney Mont Tanner. Wal-Mart was represented by Rob Phillips of Phillips, Spallas, and Angstadt.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is Antonio Rodriguez The Kensington Strangler Or Just A Man Whose DNA Was In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time?

The confidence in prison reform may be at an all time low. The gruesome killings by ex cons like Robert Williams and Maurice Clemmons add fuel to the fire of those claiming rehabilitation is a waste of time and money. If Antonio Rodriguez is proved to be the Kensington Strangler, then it might be time to bury the idea of reform once and for all. Rodriquez, 21, was recently released from prison. After his release, Rodriquez apparently wandered the streets and stayed in abandoned homes. On January 17, 2011, he was arrested after his DNA was linked to the sexual assaults and strangling deaths of three women. (Rodriguez was actually taken into custody on an unrelated bench warrant and is not yet charged with sexual assault or murder. However, Philadelphia police spokesman, James Clark, said Rodriguez was being sought as a "strong" person of interest in the Kensington murders.)

Police have yet to charge Rodriquez with any crime in the strangling cases. But the state police have apparently linked his DNA from their convicted felon database to the crimes. It is unknown why Rodriguez was in the state police database. Rodriguez is described as 5-foot-9, 155 pounds with a large scar running from his left ear to the middle of his throat. He has "Kiera" tattooed on his left arm and "Scorpio" on his right arm.

The assaults date back to early October of 2010. DNA was discovered while investigating the deaths of Elaine Goldberg, Nicole Piacentini, and Casey Mahoney. All three women were in their 20s. All three women had a history of drug use. The three women were all found between early November and mid-December in vacant lots within a 10-block radius.Three other women apparently survived sexual assaults in the area. However, none of the surviving victims have identified Rodriguez at this time. In the future, they will be asked to view Rodriuez's photo to see if they can identify him as their attacker.

The Kensington area is far from paradise. But an influx of new home buyers give cause for hope. In the mean time, the area has more than its fair share of prostitution and drugs. Unsolved murders are simply not part of the plan for the a neighborhood that is seeking restoration. Thus, residents welcome the apparent solving of the Kensington Strangler cases. "Catch the Kensington Strangler" posts have been popular on Facebook. On at least one occasion the posts led to a false identification. Unfortunately, the DNA evidence in this case may not be able to be confirmed by the poor quality surveillance photo of a possible suspect. Only time will tell if corroborating witnesses will support the charging of Rodriquez. In the interim, Mayor Michael Nutter offered a $30,000 reward sponsored by the city and Citizens Crime Commission for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. The local Fraternal Order of Police and Councilman Frank DiCicco have offered an additional $7,000 for information leading to an arrest.

As always, Antonio Rodriguez is presumed innocent (and rehabilitation still possible) unless otherwise proven in a court of law. While research has proven that smoking can harm ones DNA, STUDY LINK, it is also possible that one's DNA could conceivably unjustly harm one's reputation.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jared Loughner Gave So Many Clues Of His Instability

Jared Loughner, may himself be a victim. A victim of radical political propaganda which enrages the mentally weak to the point of losing self control. But there will likely be no sympathy for the 22-year-old suspect who allegedly killed six people and wounded a dozen more. We all get bombarded by political rhetoric and half truths. (Is President Obama really a citizen?) But we control our actions and most of us try to remain rational and in control of our tempers. But now twelve people have been shot, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and six more are dead, including U.S. District Court Judge John M. Roll. When will the madness be better understood so that it can be prevented?
Loughner's instability should be no surprise. His irrational thought pattern is well documented in rambling posts on his MySpace page and YouTube videos. (Loughner appeared to be obsessed with the 2012 prophesy, mind/dream control and politics.) At Pima Community College in Tucson, one of his videos resulted in his suspension. His parents were told that he needed a mental health evaluation. New York Times. Yet it is unclear whether he was ever professionally evaluated. According to former class mates, Loughner frequently disturbed the classroom with nonsensical outbursts. His ultimate suspension form college came as little surprise. After Pima, Loughner tried to enlist in the Army in 2008. According to First Sgt. Brian Homme, Loughner was rejected as "unqualified." Arizona Daily Star. Loughner had to be really bad to have been turned down by today's volunteer Army. Yet, did the Army recommend a referral to a mental health clinic?

Loughner was allegedly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy (Nostradamus) and politics. While many question the world's future, Loughner apparently lacked the ability to cope with uncertainty. There is no more clear evidence than his thoughts on politics. Loughner once met with Gabrielle Giffords in '07 and subsequently commented that "... Politicians just don't get it." (Why would this come as a surprise to any rational voter?) The federal complaint against Loughner documents a letter from Giffords in a safe at Loughner's house thanking him for attending one of her "Congress on Your Corner" meetings in 2007. While this may not be so unusual, the charging information goes on to state: "Also recovered in the safe was an enveloped with handwriting on the envelope stating 'I planned ahead,' and 'My assassination' and the name 'Giffords' along with what appears to be Loughner's signature." (See complaint ). This obviously demonstates the obsession and rage that was building inside this young man's head.

VIDEO: Does this video appear to be that of a well balanced young man? Suspect Video. " The current government officials are in power for their currency! If you're treasurer of a new money system, then you're responsible for the distributing of a new currency. We now know – the treasurer for a new money system, is the distributor of the new currency. As a result, the people approve a new money system which is promising new information that's accurate, and we truly believe in a new currency. Above all, have your new currency, listener?"

OTHER LOUGHNER WRITINGS: Loughner also wrote: "I won't pay debt with a currency that's not backed by gold and silver." (Obviously delusional. If he was not working, he wasn't paying any taxes.) In a video directed against Pima Community College, Loughner said, "If I'm not receiving the purchase from a payment then I'm a victim of fraud." In Internet postings, he seemed to foreshadow his own death. SHOOTING.
For a video link of "Loughner's final thoughts" before the shooting, watch this: LOUGHNER FINAL THOUGHTS.
Update 1-10-11: Loughner was charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. More charges are expected. Among those killed were a congressional aide and a 9-year-old girl. President Barack Obama has called for a moment of silence at 11 a.m. EST to honor the victims.
Update 1-12-11: Attorney Judy Clarke is representing suspect, Jared Loughner.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Will Owen Honors Ever Earn a Gramme?

When The Village People sang "In the Navy," many supporters of our armed forces thought it was inappropriate. After all, certain things should not be said about the defenders of our freedom. These men and women who serve our country deserve our respect and admiration. True. But, leave it up to the Navy to embarrass themselves. Owen Honors, Captain of the Norfolk-based USS Enterprise, allegedly produced a series of "raunchy" videos made aboard the Navy carrier in 200 and 2007. Report At the time of the filming, Owen Honors was the Enterprise's executive officer. Apparently, over 6,000 sailors and U.S. Marines viewed the films on board the ship during "XO Movie Night."

What is so wrong with a little humor? In one scene, two female sailors stand in a shower stall pretending to wash each other. They joke about how they should get six minutes under the water instead of three. In other skits, sailors dress in drag and use anti-gay slurs. In other instances, men simulate masturbation and a rectal exam. Another scene implies that an officer is having sex with a donkey.

Bad judgment, but what's the harm? Apparently the videos were made with government equipment. Some were allegedly produced at times when the ship was actively deployed. The video was also repeatedly broadcast on a weekly basis aboard the ship. Honor's intent was likely to entertain our armed forces. But several female sailors aboard the carrier found the material to be offensive.

Why the delay in complaints? Honors himself acknowledges that there were some anonymous complaints. Honors did not apparently think anything was wrong with a little humor. The Navy on the other hand proclaimed that the videos "... are clearly inappropriate. Production of videos, like the ones produced four to five years ago on USS Enterprise and now being written about in The Virginian-Pilot, were not acceptable then and are not acceptable in today's Navy. The Navy does not endorse or condone these kinds of actions."

What does the future hold? It is uncertain what if any punishment will be given to Owen Honors. Who knows, the film may even win an Emmie or a Gramme. Furthermore, if he is forced to leave the Navy, he has a likely career with Saturday Night Live, Mad, or MTV, where honor, dignity and good judgment are not prerequisites for employment.

Keep in mind Owen Honors is to be presumed innocent of any wrong doing unless otherwise proven in a Military Court or other court of law.

Update 1-3-11: "Which Navy are we talking about?" Pete Clarke, a family friend of Honors, said on NBC's "Today" show. "I think the political correctness at the Pentagon needs to be checked on this.""It's a shame that videos from four years ago are going to affect a heroic person."
Update 1-5-11: US Navy Captain Owen Honors was relieved of his command on Tuesday. Actress Glenn Close, who appears in one of the video's, confirms it's her in the clip but says "I am distraught that my image has been used to perpetuate something that I abhor. The cynical, unauthorized use of my image in this video is deeply offensive and insulting, and was the result of a seemingly innocent request of me during a visit to the aircraft carrier over four years ago."