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Archive for January, 2009

High School Football Coach Pleads Not Guilty To Reckless Homicide

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
David Jason Stinson

David Jason Stinson

A first year High School football coach, David Jason Stinson, pleaded not guilty to reckless homicide and negligence for the death of Max Gilpin.  Gilpin was a 15 year old offensive lineman who died of heat stroke last summer in Louisville, Kentucky.   Gilpin was forced to run sprints in a helmet and pads while allegedly being refused a water break.  Gilpin, who was 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, was one of six people to die because of the heat in high school and college athletics in 2008.

In order for the Gilpin family to win their case for reckless homicide case they must prove that Coach Stinson knew or should have known the consequences of his actions, which in this case was that Gilpin would die.  This is a very difficult standard to prove.  The defense will argue that there is no possible way that coach Stinson knew or should have known that Gilpin would die of heat stroke from going through drills that his team probably went through daily.  Stinson was a former player who most likely had to go through the same type of drills and had been an offensive line coach with the team the last four years, never having any incident.  He therefore will argue that there is no way he could have known Gilpin would die.

The Gilpin family will counter with Gilpin’s medical records that were on file with the school which listed Aderall as a drug Gilpin was taking for ADD.  He was also known to be taking Creatine, a muscle building supplement which is known to have heat related side effects.  The Gilpin family will say coach Stinson should have been aware of the risk of death as he had access to the players medical records and he should have noticed that the player was laboring through practice before he collapsed.  However Stinson is not a doctor, he is a coach which is why the defense will prevail in saying that there is know way that coach Stinson could have known the consequences of his actions.  Many players get tired when working out and going through  drills, it would be tough for anybody who is not a medical professional to spot somebody who is about to suffer from heat stroke.  This claim will probably be dismissed.

To win a claim for negligence the Gilpin family will have to prove, but for coach Stinson’s actions Gilpin would still be alive and that the death was foreseeable. A thorough private investigator background check might explore whether Coach Stinson had a history of negligence or if there were any red flags in his coaching career that could have predicted such a tragic outcome. This again is very difficult to prove unless the coach was a doctor or Gilpin showed signs of heat stroke before he collapsed and was taken to the hospital.  I don’t have all the facts but based on what is in the papers, a claim for negligence should be dismissed. In addition, it’s essential to consider the possibility of wrongful death lawsuits in this case.

This case is said to be the first time a coach has been charged for a heat related death of a player.  In a related case, former Minnesota Vikings player Corey Stringer’s widow settled a heat stroke related case against the Vikings this week.  The settlement called for an NFL supported heat stroke educational program for coaches and youth.

Can Portland Trailblazers Blackmail Other NBA Teams Over Darius Miles?

Friday, January 9th, 2009
Darius Miles

Darius Miles

In what is one of the most bizarre stories I have heard coming out the NBA or all of professional sports in a long time is how the Portland Trailblazers threatened to sue all of the other NBA teams if they sign Darius Miles to a contract.  Portland team president Larry Miller sent an e-mail to the 29 other NBA teams telling them not to sign Miles because it would hurt Portland financially.  The Blazers will be responsible for paying Miles’ remaining $18 Million left on his contract if he plays in two more games this season.  That money paid would count against the salary cap for Portland and force them to have to pay luxury tax.

Miles while a member of the Portland Trailblazers suffered what was thought to be a career ending knee injury, prompting him to seek the expertise of a personal injury lawyer.  He underwent microfracture surgery in 2006 and was released by the Blazers in April 2008 after not playing in any games the previous two years.  Miles was signed by the Boston Celtics this season and played in six pre-season games and was released.  He then signed with the Memphis Grizzlies where he played in two regular season games and then was released before his contract became guaranteed.  According to the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement Miles will be due $18 million if he plays in 10 games this season.  Therefore he is only two games away from having Portland fork over the money.

Portland claims it will sue if they find out that other teams signed Miles for the sole purpose of hurting Portland financially.  However I have no idea of how they will be able to prove other teams motivations unless it is clearly shown that Miles can no longer play at the NBA level.  The fact that he has played with two NBA teams already this season shows that he has what it takes and I predict somebody will give him a shot.  After all injuries always happen and if he is the best available option, somebody is going to pull the trigger.

Additionally the NBA players association has filed a grievance against the Blazers in response to Millers threatening e-mail.  Miles should be allowed to continue his NBA career and earn NBA money while he can.  The fact that somebody is out there trying to sabotage his chances is unfortunate and not fair to Miles.  There is no collusion in the NBA and if a team wishes to sign Miles they have that right.  If I am the Lakers,  Nuggets, Jazz, or Thunder (division rivals of the Blazers) why not sign Miles to a 10 day contract and see what happens.  Worst case scenario they get to hurt a division rival financially, cut Miles after a few days., and Miles gets paid.  Good luck to the Blazers in trying to prove the other teams intentions for signing Miles.

UPDATE – The Memphis Grizzlies have signed Miles to a 10 day contract on 1/10/09, therefore if he plays in two games the Blazers will be on the hook for the $18 million.  If he is waived after a few days, the Blazers just might have a case.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

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