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Spurs sued by Miami lawyer for resting top players vs. Heat

Jan 15, 2013, 6:57 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors AP

If you buy any product any product and it’s not what it is promised to be, you can ultimately sue the company that made it to get your money back.

Should you be able to sue a professional sports team if they do not provide the players expected to perform?

One Miami lawyer thinks so (and wants some publicity) so he has sued the San Antonio Spurs over he Thursday night game earlier this season when Gregg Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Darren Rovell at ESPN has the story.

On Monday, Larry McGuinness filed a class action suit in Miami-Dade County, stating that the team’s head coach, Gregg Popovich, “intentionally and surreptitiously” 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.”

Not exactly. The Spurs reserves were not cube steak, they almost won in a dramatic game that came down to the final minutes. They are professional athletes, not some high school team. The entire suit seems to suggest that in buying a ticket to a live event you do not have any risk in the players who will be performing that day, which flies in the face of common sense.

However, is one of the challenges of the tiered ticket pricing a lot of teams are going to — it costs more to see the Heat or the Thunder or other elite/big draw teams than it does to see the Bobcats and Magic. While there is always a risk that a player or players may not play, if I’m paying more to see Duncan, Parker and Ginobili I want to see them. Especially if they are not injured.

You have to think this guy’s case is bolstered a little by the fact David Stern apologized to fans and fined the Spurs $250,000 for the incident.

The legal issues here could be interesting. Is the risk that key players may sit assumed in buying the ticket to a live event like this (sometimes on Broadway you get the understudy for a night)? Did he actually get his money’s worth? Does he even really have standing here?

To me, it sounds like a lawyer trying to get some publicity, but it will be interesting to see if he can find and make a case.

  1. reasonablemindsays - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    This has zero chance of going to court. The guy is just looking for plublicity which PBT so kindly gave.

  2. apmn - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Completely frivolous. Technically, shouldn’t the suit be against the Heat? They are who sold the ticket, not the Spurs.

    • badintent - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:04 AM

      Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. You caught that ! I know you and I are the only bloggers that has a college degree on this site. Nice, well play.

      • Distinguished Male - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        Word of advice: If you are going to point out your higher level of education in the comment section of a sports blog, you might want to use correct spelling and grammar when you do so. Otherwise, you just look foolish.

      • badintent - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Ah, the spellling police cometh. Old Chinese proverb:Spend no time with spell check, spend more time blogging. Time is $$.Ask any lawyer biling for lunch time.

  3. forbugmenot - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    Next, the players will sue the fans for not showing up! Or maybe the players will sue the news media for printing bad things about them. Resting a player or players is part of the game.

  4. spideysdog - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    earlier poster has got it correct. he bought a ticket for a certain date to watch a certain team play a certain other team. he got what he paid for. I bought tickets to the Timberwolves game next week. can I sue if an injured Kevin Love doesn’t play. it’s stupid. Stern is almost as bad. sorry your network risked rating reductions Mr. commissioner, but if we have made it to the point where the commissioner can now decide who plays in which games we are in a whole lotto trouble. what’s next? minute quotas for stars? oops….. kobes a max contract player…. he must play 38 minutes a game in any televised game? B.S.. hurry up and head off to retirement David. you will NOT be missed.

    • skids003 - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:56 AM

      Kurt uses “common sense” and “lawyer” in the same sentence. That’s it in a nutshell.

  5. bedes003 - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    From my basic knowledge on how ticket sales work, wouldn’t he have purchased the ticket from the Miami Heat or even the NBA? In which case, how would suing the Spurs even work when he did not make a purchase from that organization. If he wants to sue (which he is stupid for doing so in the first place) he should sue what ever group decided to make that game a premium game which I highly doubt was the Spurs organization.

  6. atribecalledkevin - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    Dude is a plug.

  7. jerdogthompson - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Precisely why the great US of A is going down the tubes. Piece of S**T people like this suing over such an arbitrary & Asinine thing like this!!!!!!

    I’m taking my money and going to Costa Rica. Wurd.

    • davidly - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:30 AM

      Wurd, indeed, jerdog, I hear ya. And Kurt, too, alludes to truth regarding Stern’s part in this.

      I wanna help you out, though, and recommend the Philippines instead. They love the NBA over there, and it’s easier to find a place without being surrounded by the kind of Amurricaners you’d end up running into everywhere you go in Costa Rica.

      ‘Lessin’ of course you were thinking isolated spot on the Caribbean coast, then, nevermind. Just do it, jerdog, and good luck.

    • kavika6 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:03 AM

      There’s nothing wrong with Costa Rica! They treat Americans extremely well. Don’t tourists expect to run into mostly other tourists when vacationing in tourist spots? They also love the NBA down there.

  8. bougin89 - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    I guess you are either totally for this or against it. I’m for Popovich “resting” his players. If actually healthy do you think a coach like Popovich would allow anything like this? He has his team on a string, a good one at that. Some players legitimately shouldn’t play in the 3rd day of 3 consecutive games. In this case they had to go through a much more grueling schedule. I’d like to see another penalty for this….although I don’t think its going to happen,

  9. redstar504 - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    This is so stupid. Season ticket holders here in New Orleans tried to do that this year because of the bounty nonsense. That was for a whole season and I have 2 season tickets. I thought that was stupid and this is even stupider.

    The guy is suing over one game, get over it! You pay for the experience not the play.

    Again, what Pop did was a strategic coaching decision that considering his rosters makeup made a lot of sense. The NBA was wrong to fine the Spurs. This is just an attention grabbing moron trying to get a free commercial (minus the suit cost of course). Totally stupid but what else do you expect people file suit because people looked at them wrong today.

  10. classicrocktennisfan1977 - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:19 AM

    The lawyer felt cheated, eh? What does it say on the ticket stub? I bet it’s San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat. It doesn’t say San Antonio Spurs, starring (_____) co-starring (______) cast (______) versus Miami Heat, starring (_____) co-starring (______) cast (_______).

    Since Stern acted like Vince McMahon and fined the Spurs, wrongfully for 250k. Stern opened up a whole can of worms (Full WWE like Sports Entertainment vs. A sport that happens to entertain). Sadly, thanks to David this man may have his case heard by the judge.

    The reason I brought the WWE into the discussion. For the fact of having a commissioner telling a coach on how he can manage his roster. Taking away the organization/coaches right of managing as they see proper for their employees. You don’t see Bud Selig fining the Nationals organization for shutting Strasburg down. Don’t see Goodell fining teams for sitting their players in a late season game when said team clinched a playoff berth.

  11. cantonbound13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:51 AM


  12. jetstizzi85 - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    I am surprised it has taken this long. Who would have thought that a MIAMI lawyer would sue? HMMMM

    I for one was happy when the Spurs did that. It shows that some coaches out there actually care about the health of the players in the terms of long term.

  13. tindeaux - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    this doesn’t make sense… any sport teams can do whatever they want… get sued for this?
    What a great country we live in.

  14. reupjosh - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Stern brought this upon the league. This would never have happened, had he not make such a public outcry of the Spurs resting their players that night. Thumbs down on the commissioner’s office for scheduling that game after the Spurs’ back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

    How much can he possibly sue for? The sticker price on the tickets?

    No way this lawsuit goes through… it would be a huge can of worms. That idiot ambulance chaser is only trying to get his name out there. Shame on PBT for including his name in this piece.

  15. azarkhan - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Lawyers are leeches.

  16. strosfan85 - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    This is complete BS.. I dont understand why giving guys who you want to be healthy at the end of the year for the playoffs a rest is a such a criminal act.. I realize that this game was nationally televised but the back-ups nearly won that game against the MIA starters!! Not like the Heat won by 30.. Not like things of this sort dont have precedent, how many times do you buy tickets to a baseball game expecting to see a certain pitcher or your favorite player in the lineup that day only to find out they have the day off.. You’re not going to sue the baseball team, are you? Hopefully this will just all blow over soon and this lawyer will realize what an asinine decision this was, but you never know Stern might pull some strings to actually get this to court. Dont know what Stern has against the Spurs, probably just doesnt like teams from small markets winning..

  17. cantonbound13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    More proof the Miami Heat have the most classless fans in all of sports.

  18. franchiseplaya - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    This clown is probably one of those fairweather fans that comes to games late and leaves early and only goes to games to be “seen”. oh wait, thats pretty much every Heat fan.

  19. eugenesaxe - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    I look forward to the judge laughing him out of the courtroom as he tears the lawsuit into tiny bits.

  20. kavika6 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    I wonder if Stern would have given the fine and the lawyer would have attempted this frivolous lawsuit if the Spurs had won.

  21. butterfacesareok - Jan 17, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    Dont like it, you can always float to cuba, and it wasnt like miami had top product on the floor that night! ( almost lost to a starless spurs)

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