THE SPORTS world doesn't have a Bill of Rights to
guarantee the right to bear tote bags and protect against cruel and unusual
punishment at the hands of mascots. But you wouldn't know that by looking at
the court dockets, which have been loaded of late with suits filed by litigious
fans, players and dinosaur. Herewith, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's favorite silly
? In 1999 an Ottawa Senators season-ticket holder
filed a $27.5 million suit against holdout Alexei Yashin on the grounds that
the value of tickets diminished when the captain held out for more money. It
was thrown out of court.
? When he was traded to the Redskins in 2004, Clinton
Portis offered new teammate Ifeanyi Ohalete $40,000—in three installments—for
the right to wear Ohalete's number 26. After Ohalete got cut, Portis stopped
the payments. They settled: Ohalete got a total of $38,000.
? A male fan who was denied a red nylon tote bag
during a 2005 Mother's Day promotion at Angel Stadium sued the team for sex and
age discrimination. The class-action suit argued that male fans and women under
the age of 18 were entitled to $4,000 in damages since only women 18 and over
received the bags—which were worth $1.45 each. The court ruled for the Angels,
but the next year on Mother's Day the team gave totes to all fans.
? Had the case made it to trial, it would have been
the trial of the century. Or at least the furriest trial of the century. In
1994 the Famous Chicken added a skit to his routine in which he acted out many
a parent's fantasy—by pummeling Barney. The dinosaur's creators sued the
Chicken for $100,000 for each offense. Said a Barney flack, "[S]ome of
those children become visibly upset when they see Barney beaten up." Barney
took another beating when the case was thrown out and his handlers had to pay
nearly $180,000 in court costs.