Posted January 15, 2013

Report: Florida lawyer sues Spurs over strategic resting against Heat

Ben Golliver, Gregg Popovich, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs
Gregg Popovich

The Spurs are reportedly being sued after coach Gregg Popovich strategically rested players against the Heat. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

A Florida lawyer is reportedly suing the Spurs after coach Gregg Popovich rested four of his players during a nationally televised game against the Heat in Miami in November.

ESPN.com reports that Larry McGuinness alleges that the Spurs violated Florida’s “deceptive and fair trade practices law” when Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Tony Parker to San Antonio rather than suit them up against the Heat.

On Monday, Larry McGuinness filed a class action suit in Miami-Dade County, stating that the team’s head coach, Gregg Popovich, “intentionally and surrepticiously” [sic] sent their best players home without the knowledge of the league, the team and the fans attending the Nov. 29 game against the Heat. McGuinness contends that he, as well as other fans, “suffered economic damages” as a result of paying a premium price for a ticket that shouldn’t cost more.

“It was like going to Morton’s Steakhouse and paying $63 for porterhouse and they bring out cube steak,” said McGuinness, who said he bought his ticket on the resale market. “That’s exactly what happened here.”

NBA commissioner David Stern fined the Spurs $250,000 for Popovich’s strategic resting.

“The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case,” Stern said in a statement explaining the fine. “The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early-season game that was the team’s only regular-season visit to Miami. The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way. Under these circumstances, I have concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans.”

Stern also issued an apology to fans shortly after Popovich’s decision to rest his players became clear.

“I apologize to all NBA fans,” Stern said. “This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”

Popovich, who had strategically rested players before without incurring a fine, didn’t see anything wrong with resting his players against the Heat.

“We’ve done this before in hopes of making a wiser decision, rather than a popular decision,” Popovich told reporters, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “It’s pretty logical.”

Stern’s fine drew criticism from broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy and Celtics coach Doc Rivers, among others.

It’s difficult to believe this lawsuit will prove successful. The Spurs who did show up didn’t exactly play like “cube steak” or chopped liver, pushing the defending champions to the final minute before losing 105-100. Of course, the “$63 porterhouse” that McGuinness compares his ticket to doesn’t quite work if he paid above face value on the secondary market. No one besides McGuinness can be held responsible for any price above the original value of the ticket and, it’s worth noting for total clarity’s sake, McGuinness paid for a ticket to a game between the Spurs and Heat, which he received. Unlike games on a nightly basis, it was even an entertaining one. If he purchased his ticket solely to see specific players, he surely assumes the risks that go with them not being available.

A better steakhouse analogy goes like this: McGuinness took a risk by paying premium to go to an elite steakhouse on a busy night. There, he was served a top-dollar steak that came out looking noticeably different from the picture on the menu, but still offered a top-shelf taste and was crafted as described. Is it understandable if he left a tad disappointed? Of course. Is McGuinness due exactly the steak pictured on the menu and are the Spurs legally obligated to refund his bill plus provide “economic damages”? Of course not.

26 comments
MaryUrechStallings
MaryUrechStallings

I kind of agree with the lawyer. Once sports became entertainment, they needed to quit sending in the understudies at star prices.

Tito1
Tito1

Since when coaches have to inform fans about the strategies they want to use? And don't give the crap excuse that "he paid for his seats to watch the Spur stars on the floor" cause that's not the case... This is another case of a pink-shirt-wearing, sock-less, sunglasses-on-his-head, golf-player, orange-tanned, soul-less lawyer from Miami.  He should start wasting everyone's time and do his job and put criminals and thieves (like himself) behind bars

topnoah787
topnoah787

If I were the judge, I would sentence  this moronic lawyer to the chair so as to set an example and to SI to a life sentence for publishing this stupid article in the first place. This so-called lawyer is a disgrace to the profession.

AlexStephens
AlexStephens

It would be a lot bigger deal if the spurs weren't four points away from winning anyway.

hoopie4life
hoopie4life

McGuinness does not make Miami Heat fans look very good, does he. Maybe if they don't repeat this year, the guy will sue Lebron.

CharlieHatfield
CharlieHatfield

way to go Stern, make the classiest team in the NBA out to be the bad guy.  I guess next time Pop sits anyone and puts "old" has the reason there wont be any backlash

danny whatley
danny whatley

Sounds he wants do do like David Sterns did and put some of SA money in his pocket. It is sad that Sterns was stupid enough to set this in motion by the action he took against SA whenever he screwed up the schedules and had SA play 5 road games in 6 days.

roderiques5898
roderiques5898

There a bunch of other cases that you and I would probably have laughed out of court that have caused companies millions. The most notorious one being the McDonalds coffee not being labelled as hot so the customer sued when she spilled it in her lap and was burned. We are a litagous society(meaning we will sue for anything) and we will reap what we sow

marsof
marsof

how the the hell did this guy become a lawyer!!!?? the lawsuit already is a joke, and then there is this guy who is a bigger joke! 

Charie Pride
Charie Pride

i am suing si for reporting this non story

LUHorn_18
LUHorn_18

This was absolutely ridiculous. Who would sue because they didn't get to see the players they wanted. Boo-freakin-hoo! I personally agree Golliver here cuz the Spurs did NOTHING wrong. They just rested their players. It was a strategic move. Now why would Stern fine them? $250,000 for making a decision that effected YOUR team and no one else? That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard....AND last but definitely not least, why issue an apology to the fans? I have a feeling some rich fat kid who's daddy is a big shot made a big deal and THAT'S who they offended! Some rich kid that didn't get to see four of the Spurs' top players. No need to fine the Spurs. No need to send out an apology. No need to sue them either. Stupid. Stupid.

 

Ben Golliver, I salute you! Well written and you defended the Spurs' well. This sh*t should have been said a long time ago.

555sexydrive
555sexydrive

If I was the judge, I would have him disbarred for frivolous lawsuits.  The guy admits to partaking in scalping and wants to bring a lawsuit up for it?  Ohhhh how dumb some people really are, yet think they are smart because they attended law school.

splabman
splabman

First world problems at the end of an empire. Like the courts have no more pressing issues.

Redwings1926
Redwings1926

We should sue him for wasting our time!! 

 

Seriously, if I were the judge in this case, I would want to tell this guy to go play a game of chicken with a freight train. 

John4
John4

Confirming to infinity that Lawyers are dooshbags.  Larry McGuinness:  learn how to spell, you tool, and stop being such fodder for lawyer jokes.  Is this the reason you attended Law School?  To sue the NBA in order to see certain players?  Grow the EFF up, and stop being such a fookface.  

scredsoxfan
scredsoxfan

Grow up. It's sports, not life or death. Obviously this guy has too much money. He needs to get a life.

Dodgerguy R
Dodgerguy R

This is ridiculous. Who can blame pop for resting his four stars on the fourth game in five days, especially considering the age of their big 3? And on top of that, the Spurs nearly pulled out a win. This lawyer should be disbarred.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

This 'attorney' is an embarrassment to the legal profession. As if America wasn't litigious enough we have this joker thinking he is capable of  making coaching decisions. It's bad enough that David (I'll be so thankful when he's gone) Stern fining Popovich for using his legitimate discretion on who to play, we have yet another lawyer filing yet another lawsuit which will waste time and money in yet another courtroom. Please, dear Lord, spare us from anymore of this.

nwaber
nwaber

His steak analogy breaks down further simply because he went to a Heat game. If you're looking for entertaining, crowd-pleasing basketball, the Heat's big 3 are the steak, and whoever they're playing are probably more of a side-dish (except perhaps the Thunder, in a Surf'n'Turf sort of menu metaphor). They add flavour, texture, and nuance to the gestalt of the meal, but the nightly sports show's top-10 is going to be the Lebron show. So he's basically suing because the gravy on his well-made mashed potato didn't have enough mushrooms. My heart bleeds as I harken back to watching my hometown Vancouver Grizzlies... aka. watery oatmeal.

WillMoore
WillMoore

 @roderiques5898 Watch the documentary Hot Coffee and you will see that the lawsuit you refer to was not as frivolous as it appears to be on its face.  This lawsuit though appears to be ridiculous.

John4
John4

 @Dodgerguy R Agree 100%.  This lawyer should be disbarred.  Kind of like the lawyer who sued the dry cleaners for several million due to some damaged pants.  This lawyer, McGuinness needs to go back to school to take some extension courses and work as a janitor.  He clearly is not qualified to be a Lawyer.  

danny whatley
danny whatley

This is a typical lawyer move, look at our congress and senate and you can see the stupidity of lawyers. He is trying to make money off of others problems and that is what lawyers and politicians do best.

John4
John4

 @nwaber Well done.  Excellent comparisons, and you got to use the word "gestalt".