Super Bowl ticket-holders file class-action suit over seating
Ticket-holding fans who ended up with no seats or what they considered bad views of the Super Bowl have filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys and team owner Jerry Jones. The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Dallas alleges breach of contract, fraud and deceptive sales practices on behalf of people who ended up watching the game on TV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, or had seats the lawsuit labeled "illegitimate."
The NFL announced just hours before the Packers played the Steelers on Sunday that about 1,250 temporary seats were deemed unsafe, and the league scrambled to find new seats for about 850 people. The remaining 400 were forced to watch from standing-room locations around the stadium. One plaintiff is a Steelers fan from Pennsylvania who was among the 400 with a ticket but no seat. The other is a Cowboys season ticket holder who claims many of Jones' biggest-spending fans were stuck in metal folding chairs without a view of the stadium's giant video board. Spokesmen for the Cowboys and the NFL had no comment Wednesday. Los Angeles-based attorney Michael J. Avenatti said he expects the suit to cover about 1,000 people.
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Avenatti said Steve Simms, the Steelers fan named in the lawsuit, was so put off by trying to watch the game from standing-room areas that he left at halftime. Mike Dolabi, the Cowboys season ticket holder in the lawsuit, is among a group called "Founders" who paid $100,000 per seat just for the right to buy tickets. Those so-called personal seat licenses resulted in more than $100 million in revenue for Jones, according to the lawsuit, which seeks $5 million in damages.
■ The Browns Wednesday terminated the contracts of some big-name players, including their biggest player — enormous nose tackle Shaun Rogers. Cleveland, which is rebuilding once again under new coach Pat Shurmur, also released veteran linebackers Eric Barton and David Bowens, defensive end Kenyon Coleman, tight end Robert Royal and right offensive tackle John St. Clair. All six of the players are over age 30, and the moves will save the Browns nearly $19 million in base salaries.
■ Cardinals Coach Ken Whisenhunt has returned to his Steelers connections to hire Ray Horton as defensive coordinator Wednesday. Horton has coached in the NFL for 17 seasons and has been with the Steelers for seven years, the last four as defensive backs coach. Horton, who played in the NFL for 10 seasons, becomes the Cardinals' third defensive coordinator in Whisenhunt's four years in Arizona. He replaces Bill Davis, who was fired after two seasons on the job.
SPORTS IN THE COURTS
Little League coach charged with sex abuse
A New York City Little League coach was charged Wednesday with sexually abusing boys on his baseball team, and prosecutors said he videotaped some of the acts. David Hartshorn, 52, collapsed in court as the charges were read. He was revived after the judge cleared the courtroom, and he was being held without bail. Hartshorn was charged with use of a child in a sexual performance and sexual abuse. His attorney was in court and did not return calls seeking comment.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Hartshorn had inappropriate contact with two 14-year-old boys and a 13-year-old. A search of Hartshorn's home turned up recorded movies on DVD and VHS showing young boys engaging in sex acts, and images of small children also engaging in similar sexual activity, prosecutors said.
The allegations came to light after one of the boys told his mother, who contacted police. The encounters are believed to have occurred from July 2009 to January, authorities said.
The parent Little League Baseball Inc. based in Williamsport, Pa., had no comment. A background check is performed on volunteers with the organization. Authorities say Hartshorn had been arrested in 1989 on charges of sodomy and promoting the sexual performance of a child, but the arrest might not have shown up on a background check because it was more than 20 years old. It wasn't until 1996 that a federal law was signed requiring sex offenders to register with communities.
89 interviewed in Life at Ten investigation
Kentucky horse racing officials are still looking into what happened to mare Life At Ten in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic last fall at Churchill Downs. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Executive Director Lisa Underwood said Wednesday investigators have spoken to 89 people so far, some of them multiple times, but set no timetable for when the investigation may be concluded. The then 5-year-old mare warmed up poorly before the race according to jockey John Velazquez and jogged behind the field for the entirety of the 11⁄8-mile event. Trainer Todd Pletcher blamed the performance on severe cramping and acknowledged she should not have run, leading to questions of why stewards and track veterinarians didn't scratch her from the race.
Ex-Michigan QB Forcier headed to Miami
Former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier says he will transfer to Miami. Forcier signed an aid agreement on Wednesday. Under NCAA rules, he will not be eligible to play for the Hurricanes until 2012. He was considering about a half-dozen schools before settling on the Hurricanes. It's a significant pickup for first-year coach Al Golden, who wanted to add two quarterbacks in this year's recruiting class. Miami figures to have senior Jacory Harris and sophomore Stephen Morris vying for the starting job in 2011, with little depth after that.
■ The NCAA Wednesday upheld its ruling declaring North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo permanently ineligible. The school hasn't specified a reason for the ruling, though privacy laws would prevent it from discussing any player's involvement in the NCAA's investigation of academic misconduct at the school. The NCAA also investigated agent-related benefits. McAdoo was one of seven players to miss the season, while an eighth was cleared to return but decided to redshirt.
■ Todd Monken is leaving the Jacksonville Jaguars' staff to become the new offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, returning to the school where he previously spent three years as an assistant. Monken coached the Jaguars' receivers for the past four seasons and held the same position at Oklahoma State for three seasons when Les Miles was head coach and current coach Mike Gundy was offensive coordinator. Monken was hired Wednesday to replace Dana Holgorsen, who left to become West Virginia's head coach-in-waiting.
■ Three Virginia players were suspended indefinitely for their alleged involvement in an assault in Harrisonburg that sent two men to a hospital for their injuries. Virginia confirmed the reason for the players' suspensions, announced Tuesday, following the release Wednesday of a police report on the incident. Starters Devin Wallace (cornerback) and Ausar Walcott (linebacker) and backup center Mike Price are each charged with three counts of assault, a felony, and misdemeanors.
Clijsters one match away from No. 1
Kim Clijsters moved within one win of the No. 1 ranking, rallying past Kristina Barrois of Germany 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 Wednesday in the second round of the Open Gaz de France in Paris. The Australian Open champion needs to win her quarterfinal match on Friday to take the top spot from Caroline Wozniacki. Clijsters will play either Jelena Dokic of Australia or Nadia Petrova of Russia.
■ Henry Clay hosts Paul Dunbar in a basketball doubleheader Thursday night — "Playing for the Cure" — that will benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation in its fight against breast cancer. The boys' game starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by the girls' game at 8.
■ Eighth-grader Gabby Bowie scored 18 points to lead host Sayre past Bourbon County 40-31 Wednesday night in girls' basketball.
The last word
Wake Forest freshman outfielder Kevin Jordan on his coach, Tom Walter, who gave up one of his kidneys so the 19-year-old would have a shot at a normal, healthy life:
"I'll do whatever Coach asks me to do. If he wants me to get a bunt down, whatever, I can't see myself saying no to anything."