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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.

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