Ralph Nader and the Philadelphia Eagles

by Ted Frank on November 14, 2005

Ralph Nader is arguing that the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to suspend star wide receiver Terrell Owens (for, inter alia, publicly criticizing the team and quarterback, shouting at coaches, a physical altercation with a teammate, and then failing to apologize) is consumer fraud because season-ticket holders had an expectation that Owens would play for the team, which barely lost the Super Bowl last year, and was an early favorite this year. (But what about all those New York Times subscribers who expected to read Judy Miller?) The suggestion rises to self-parody, though it exhibits the absurdity of modern consumer fraud law in that it isn’t crazier than suits that actually succeed. But I’m somewhat sanguine about Nader’s latest foray; if he’s tilting at the windmill of trying to make football coaching decisions litigable (Can a fan sue the Washington special teams coach for costing the team the game against Tampa Bay because it reduced the chance the team would go to the Super Bowl and the resale value of his season tickets?), it means he’s not spending time trying to wreck more important industries.

(Yes, I know that one shouldn’t blame the Washington special teams coach for losing the game. But it would be actionable under the Nader regime if a lawyer can find a fan who purchased tickets after hearing coaches say they were trying to avoid senseless penalties this season.)

{ 3 comments }

1 Independent Sources 11.15.05 at 12:10 am

Ralph Nader on the NFL…”Not Enough Lawyers”

Overlawyered normally doesn’t delve into sports. But that was before Ralph Nader began to argue that the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to suspend star wide receiver Terrell Owens (for, inter alia, publicly criticizing the team and quarterb…

2 Tom Hunt 11.15.05 at 11:46 pm

Why not sue Terrell Owens instead? T.O.’s attitudes and behavior prior to his coming to Philadelphia were well known. T.O. knew that Philadelphis had team rules, just like all the other teams. And he knew the consequences of running afoul of those rules (Keyshawn Johnson of the Tamps Bay Bucs).

Why should anyone be liable when all these possibilities come true? Other than T.O. himself, of course, as he had full control over his behavior.

I do take your point about Mr. Nader and keeping him otherwise occupied. However, some have suggested that T.O. might find a place here on the Atlanta Falcons and I would very much like that NOT to happen, as things are going along quite nicely now, thank you.

And what about all those NYT subscribers who DID read Judy Miller?

3 Babs Utley 11.16.05 at 5:20 pm

The legal system definitely needs to be revamped. For one, the oath they take is flawed and needs revision. Also, there needs to be a fine for frivolous lawsuits that is enforced universally.
And I have heard about tort reform. The republicans keep saying they want it. I don’t see it happening!!

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