X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

Clubhouse

20 Professional Athletes Who Have Sued Their Respective Organizations

20 Professional Athletes Who Have Sued Their Respective Organizations

Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The disputes between professional athletes and sports organizations can often lead to a media circus. However, sometimes litigation is needed to resolve issues that usually includes financial liabilities. Check out these athletes who filed lawsuits in court against their respective organizations.

20. Rowdy Roddy Piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper
Getty Images

20. Rowdy Roddy Piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper
Getty Images

The popular wrestler filed suit against WCW, which was purchased by WWE, for age discrimination and breach of contract after being released in 2000 while recovering from a wrestling-related injury.

19. Jane Blalock

LPGA Tour
Getty Images

19. Jane Blalock

LPGA Tour
Getty Images

The New Hampshire native, who finished her career with 27 tour wins, filed a lawsuit against the LPGA Tour after getting fined and suspended by the executive board for rules infractions. The golf scandal took place from 1972 to 1975, and Blalock eventually won, preventing those punishments from being enforced.

18. Casey Martin

Casey Martin
Getty Images

18. Casey Martin

Casey Martin
Getty Images

The disabled golfer filed suit against the PGA Tour in 2001, asserting that the PGA Tour could not lawfully deny him the option to ride in a golf cart between shots. Prior to this case, the PGA Tour required all golfers to walk between shots, and argued that this policy constituted an important aspect of the game of golf. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Martin in a 7–2 decision.

17. Dan Gardella

MLB
Getty Images

17. Dan Gardella

MLB
Getty Images

Unable to get a baseball job in the major or minor leagues after playing in Mexico, Gardella sued MLB in 1947 seeking $300,000 in damages. He charged that the reserve clause was "monopolistic and restrains trade." Two years later, faced with the chance of a courtroom defeat, the league offered amnesty to the players who had gone to the Mexican League, and Gardella dropped his lawsuit for a $60,000 settlement.

16. Jeremy Mayfield

Jeremy Mayfield
Getty Images

16. Jeremy Mayfield

Jeremy Mayfield
Getty Images

The former driver filed a lawsuit against NASCAR, its owner, and the drug testing company. The charges were defamation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract, and negligence over his suspension for failing a random drug test in 2009. Mayfield has argued that a combination of over-the-counter allergy medication and the prescription drug Adderall led to a positive test.

15. Dave Hill

PGA
Getty Images

15. Dave Hill

PGA
Getty Images

The 13-time winner filed a $1 million antitrust suit against the PGA Tour in 1971 after being fined $500 for conduct unbecoming a professional golfer. In response, the tour put him on probation for one year, and Hill increased the amount of damages he was seeking to $3 million. The case was resolved out of court in less than a year and Hill was taken off probation.

14. Zina Garrison-Jackson

Zina Garrison-Jackson
Getty Images

14. Zina Garrison-Jackson

Zina Garrison-Jackson
Getty Images

The 1990 Wimbledon runner-up and former Fed Cup captain filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the United States Tennis Association, saying she was unfairly treated, and was paid a lower salary than Davis Cup coach Patrick McEnroe while being held to higher standards. The case was settled, although its terms were never disclosed.

13. Rolando Viera

Cuban Baseball
Getty Images

13. Rolando Viera

Cuban Baseball
Getty Images

The Cuban-born pitcher unsuccessfully sued MLB to challenge its draft procedures for Cuban players. According to MLB rules, Cuban players were subject to the draft unless they came to the U.S. from a third country rather than directly from Cuba. Hoping to be a free agent, Viera filed the first-ever lawsuit by a player to challenge the draft, and argued that the draft rules were discriminatory.

12. Vijay Singh

Vijay Singh
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

12. Vijay Singh

Vijay Singh
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Fijian received a favorable ruling in his lawsuit against the PGA Tour when a judge allowed his complaint that he was treated differently from other players under the tour's anti-doping policy. The tour had announced that Singh would be suspended for saying in a Sports Illustrated story that he took deer antler spray, which was believed to contain the banned substance IGF-1.

11. Ken Stabler

Ken Stabler
Getty Images

11. Ken Stabler

Ken Stabler
Getty Images

The former quarterback joined a lawsuit in 2012 regarding the league’s handling of concussions and allegedly reluctance to acknowledge the realities of CTE. The suit wants the NFL to take responsibility for head injuries, court-ordered “medical monitoring” of injuries arising from head trauma, and compensatory and punitive damages for negligence and fraud.

10. Iain Fraser

Major League Soccer
Getty Images

10. Iain Fraser

Major League Soccer
Getty Images

The Canadian was the lead plaintiff in antitrust suit filed by eight Major League Soccer players against MLS, the league's investors, and the United States Soccer Federation. The Court found that Major League Soccer was a single entity and therefore legally incapable of conspiring with itself.

9. Jim McMahon

Jim McMahon
Getty Images

9. Jim McMahon

Jim McMahon
Getty Images

The former Chicago Bears quarterback sued the NFL, and alleging that he suffered a broken neck and broken ankle, but was given painkillers to play through the pain. McMahon said he became addicted to painkillers and took more than 100 Percocet a month, even during the offseason.

8. William "Bill" Radovich

NFL
Getty Images

8. William "Bill" Radovich

NFL
Getty Images

The former All-Pro guard was the plaintiff in a 1957 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled professional football, unlike professional baseball, was subject to antitrust laws. It was the third of three such cases heard by the Court in the 1950s involving the antitrust status of professional sports.

7. Gary Leeman

Gary Leeman
Getty Images

7. Gary Leeman

Gary Leeman
Getty Images

The second Toronto Maple Leafs player ever to score 50 goals or more in a season, Leeman joined 10 former players who filed a class action lawsuit last year against the NHL, alleging that the league didn’t do enough to protect them from head injuries during their careers.

6. Marcellus Wiley

Marcellus Wiley
Getty Images

6. Marcellus Wiley

Marcellus Wiley
Getty Images

The 39-year-old former defensive end joined the class action lawsuit filed against the NFL earlier this year, accusing the league of hiring substandard medical personnel and illegally distributing painkilling drugs without properly warning players about the long-term effects.

5. Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees
Getty Images

5. Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees
Getty Images

The highly-paid superstar sued MLB and the MLBPA last year, seeking to overturn a season-long suspension imposed by an arbitrator, who ruled there was enough evidence that A-Rod had used three banned substances and twice tried to obstruct the sport's drug investigation. The New York Yankees' third baseman later dropped the suit.

4. Spencer Haywood

Spencer Haywood
Getty Images

4. Spencer Haywood

Spencer Haywood
Getty Images

In 1970, despite the NBA's requirement that a player may not be drafted by a NBA team unless he waited four years following his graduation from high school, Haywood jumped from the ABA to the NBA and joined the Seattle SuperSonics. He joined SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman to file an antitrust suit against the league. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before the NBA agreed to a settlement.

3. Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

3. Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

As president of the NBPA, "The Big O" sued the NBA in 1970 alleging that the draft, option clause and other rules restricting player movement were violations of antitrust laws. The suit was settled in 1976, when the league agreed to let players become free agents in exchange for their old team's "right of first refusal" to match any offer they might receive.

2. Richard Dent

Richard Dent
Getty Images

2. Richard Dent

Richard Dent
Getty Images

Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Richard Dent was one of eight plaintiffs named in a lawsuit filed against the NFL seeking an unspecified amount of damages for more than 500 retired players. The suit claims the league illegally supplied players with painkillers and narcotics without getting prescriptions or warning the players of possible side effects.

1. Curt Flood

Curt Flood
Getty Images

1. Curt Flood

Curt Flood
Getty Images

The veteran filed a $1 million lawsuit against baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn and MLB in 1970, alleging violation of federal antitrust laws after being traded. That same year, the owners and the MLBPA agreed to the "10/5 Rule" -- sometimes called the "Curt Flood Rule" -- which allows players with 10 years of major league service, the last five with the same team, to veto any trade.

Marvin Moore is a Texas Rangers writer at RantSports. Follow him on Twitter at @SportsMarvin, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your circles on Google.