HOF Game lawyer: “I know fraud occurred”

AP

On Monday, the first tangible suggestion emerged that fraud occurred in connection with the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game, with quotes from Colts punter Pat McAfee coupled with a statement from lawyer Michael Avenatti making it clear that, eventually, the lawsuit filed two weeks ago will be revised to assert deliberate deceit. The Hall of Fame thereafter called the accusation “totally baseless.” Appearing on Tuesday’s PFT Live, I asked Avenatti why he believes fraud happened.

“Well, I don’t believe fraud occurred, I know fraud occurred,” Avenatti said, “because people are coming out of the woodwork now and providing us with facts and evidence that shows no question that fraud occurred on behalf of the league and the Hall of Fame. The reason why we know that now is because, for instance, Pat McAfee on the morning after the game gave a podcast during which he described exactly what he witnessed in connection with the cancellation of the game. . . . The league and the Hall of Fame informed the players, ninety players to the Packers and ninety players for the Colts, at least an hour and a half before they told the fans that the game was cancelled. Then to make matters worse they told those same individuals not to say anything about it, to tweet about it, et cetera. They clearly tried to cover this up and keep it from the fans in the interest of money.”

The argument the Hall of Fame withheld the information from fans to keep them in the stadium, buying food, drink, programs, and other merchandise that otherwise wouldn’t have been sold.

“The Hall of Fame and the league have yet to provide an answer to the following very basic question. Why did you tell the players, personnel and ESPN that the game was cancelled but you waited an hour and a half, two hours to tell the fans? They don’t have an answer for that question. . . . Someone needs to pose this question again to the Hall of Fame and the NFL and ensure they answer it. Why didn’t you tell the fans at the same time you told ESPN and the players and why did it take you at least an hour and a half to do so? They haven’t answered that question. They don’t want to answer the question because the answer is ugly.”

Avenatti eventually will have a chance to force someone to answer the question, along with an opportunity to review phones and other electronic information for evidence that would provide the answer indirectly.

“We fully expect to uncover text messages demonstrating [fraud],” Avenatti said. “I will tell you this, and this has not been announced previously, we know for a fact that a text message was sent out to members of the Hall of Fame or individuals assisting the Hall of Fame with VIP guests informing them that the game was cancelled and also expressly telling them not to tell the fans. When we get our hands on that text message the NFL and the Hall of Fame have a serious, serious problem and we expect this to reach all the way to the top. We don’t believe that some middle manager made this decision. Commissioner Goodell and Mr. Baker, the head of the Hall of Fame, are going have a lot of explaining to do in connection with the case.”

The league and the Hall of Fame have done no specific explaining yet. Eventually, they’ll be required to do so within the confines of litigation that wasn’t settled last week.

“Too many people knew about this and too many people were involved with this, and now we’re learning the truth about the timeline and what really happened,” Avenatti said. “This is going to get very, very ugly for the league and the Hall of Fame as time progresses. They should have taken our $450 [per customer] offer. Instead, they decided they want to pay their lawyers millions and this is not going end well I can assure you that.”

It will likely take a while for it to end, given the speed with which civil litigation often moves, or doesn’t move. At some point, though, the truth will come out — whatever it may be.

101 responses to “HOF Game lawyer: “I know fraud occurred”

  1. If this collapses against the NFL and some or all of the Al Jizerra are suspended. While Brady is doing time for PSI. The NFL will really lose its credibility and image this year..

  2. I believe this lawyer has them by the short and curlies. Imagine when discovery gets to moving along, I’m sure the NFL and HOF don’t want a lot of those communications to see the light of day. They should have just taken the offer on the table.

  3. The No Fun League and its Golden Boy Commissioner along with the buffoon running the Hall of Fame are at fault here. No the fans. The truth will eventually will come out and it will be embarrassing for the No Fun League.

  4. imsorryyoufeelthatway7 says:
    Aug 23, 2016 3:30 PM

    Someone wants to make a name for himself.
    —————————

    This guy already made a name for himself when the NFL decided to sell Super Bowl tickets for seats that didn’t exist.

  5. He might be right. We will see.

    Then again, does anyone want a lawyer representing them who publicly says his client might have a case but he’s not completely sure?

  6. lol a grown man wearing plastic cheese on his head. lul. the game was canceled because he looked ridiculous.

  7. a1b24312 says:
    Aug 23, 2016 3:43 PM

    The lawyer clearly has an agenda, likely involved with promoting himself.
    ————————-

    Probably more like making the NFL accountable for their actions.

    Were the teams even still at the stadium when they told the fans that the game was cancelled?

  8. What they should have done is found someway for the fans to meet the players and get a handshake. That would have been so much better than the stupid game anyway.

  9. a1b24312 says:
    Aug 23, 2016 3:43 PM

    The lawyer clearly has an agenda, likely involved with promoting himself.

    —————————————–

    Smart move if he can prove the case.

  10. So the lawyer would have us believe that the league deliberately conspired to do things that would allow them to cancel the game? What a joke!

  11. I, like everyone else here, am not privy to the facts.

    I do know that whenever I hear a lawyer say “I know it happened”, I take it with so many grains of salt.

    Lawyers are not concerned with facts. Many times the Facts are a lawyer’s worse nemesis. The only thing certain is he stands to make millions with a class action suit.

  12. I remember hearing how the game was in jopardy and then canceled on NFL Network and ESPN, then quite a while later one of thr announcers is “the fans in attendance just got the announcement of the game being canceled.

    While everyone seems to have their nose in the phone looking for pokemon or checking social media some of them should have known. The NFL is more at fault by a lot. And i understand them not wanting to sit on wasted concessions, and apparel since there is omly one game there a year., it would certainly have been cheaper than what it will cost them now

  13. breadmeatcheese says:
    Aug 23, 2016 3:52 PM

    lol a grown man wearing plastic cheese on his head. lul. the game was canceled because he looked ridiculous.

    _________________________________________

    I’m a Packer fan, and I don’t own a cheesehead. Don’t think its a big deal to support your team in a fun kinda way. I do however find it funny that you consider it a worse offense than a grown man saying LOL (lul).

  14. At this point, I wouldn’t doubt the NFL made contributions to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for favors from the State Department.

  15. Maybe they just wanted to see how many dopes would enter the stadium wearing Styrofoam headwear on a hot summer night?

  16. Well maybe we could start with the fact that a beer is $12. Why isn’t that illegal? The same amount of beer would cost you 1/6 of $9.99 on the streets – $1.66 a beer roughly has been inflated 722%. Meanwhile the tax payers are paying for the stadium the game is being played in, players are holding out for more guaranteed MILLIONS, the owners are making ridiculous profits all at the expense of the average, everyday, blue collar fan that probably pulls in around $38,000 annually. We can start there and work our way up to the $8.00 hot dog. W(ed)T(hurs)F(ri)?!?!?!

  17. lingsun54 says:
    Aug 23, 2016 4:04 PM

    So the lawyer would have us believe that the league deliberately conspired to do things that would allow them to cancel the game? What a joke!
    ————————-

    He is saying that they cancelled the game, then deliberately waited 1.5 hours before they informed the people in the stands. People that continued to buy concessions and merchandise, in anticipation of a game that was never going to be played.

    After the last 2 years, I wouldn’t put anything past the owners and the league office.

  18. “While everyone seems to have their nose in the phone looking for pokemon or checking social media some of them should have known. The NFL is more at fault by a lot. And i understand them not wanting to sit on wasted concessions, and apparel since there is omly one game there a year., it would certainly have been cheaper than what it will cost them now”………….

    Question ? Why would the HOF and NFL be under some kind of timetable to announce the cancellation of the game ? Was there some type of language on the ticket that demanded prompt anouncement of cancellation ? If not, then what is this lawyer trying to prove ? What fraud ?

  19. I always take what a class action lawyer says with a grain of salt. They always make out way better than any of their customers. I dislike Goodell, but most lawyers are even worse.

  20. detsteve says:

    Question ? Why would the HOF and NFL be under some kind of timetable to announce the cancellation of the game ? Was there some type of language on the ticket that demanded prompt anouncement of cancellation ? If not, then what is this lawyer trying to prove ? What fraud ?
    —————————-

    Because there is no legitimate reason to wait an hour and a half before telling the people in the stands, unless you want them to continue buying concessions and merchandise. That stuff ain’t cheap.

  21. As usual, arrogant Goodell can never admit that he made a mistake. His only success in the job is making money for the owners. Otherwise, he is a disgrace.

  22. I can’t stand Roger Goodell and his dead shark’s eyes, but anyone who thinks that dude does anything with the multi-billion dollar property of the 32 team owners needs to puff puff, give.

    Does an agent speak autonomously or are they just the mouthpiece of the players? Why would Roger be any different?

    It will be clear as ever when he takes the proverbial (and inevitable) fall for them, settles for a golden submarine parachute, then slithers back into the undersea cave where they originally found him.

  23. Under goodell the league became a “lying league”.

    It’s like a mantle that came on all their leadership.

    One lie after another and it’s made the league look bad.

    I have no respect for the owners since they endorse the liar.

  24. Guess the ESPN and NFL Network mobile apps aren’t very popular. I tuned into both networks to watch their pregame show and saw a banner stating the HOF game had been cancelled. This was long before the game. They even interviewed the head HOF guy and he said they were working on something for the fans. Lawyers!

  25. orange and blue own the nfl says:

    This guy’s gonna get laughed out of court like Brady did.
    ———————–

    That’s a new one. Just who did Brady laugh out of court?

  26. cadreamer1969 says:
    Aug 23, 2016 5:21 PM

    I tuned into both networks to watch their pregame show and saw a banner stating the HOF game had been cancelled. This was long before the game.
    ————————

    The only thing that does is bolster the case against the HOF/NFL.

  27. Even if the fans weren’t told that the game was cancelled for some period of time, there are many explanations that do not involve fraud. Here’s one of many: we needed time to set up our security plan so that irate fans would not cause damage to property or other fans. That’s a pretty solid reason and I’m sure there are others. Not saying that those are the real reasons, just saying that this lawyer’s supposed smoking gun might be firing blanks.

  28. orange and blue own the nfl says:
    Aug 23, 2016 3:58 PM

    This guy’s gonna get laughed out of court like Brady did.

    …….

    If they have proof the Hall and the NFL just wanted to cash in a bit to recover some losses, the NFL will fold faster than Superman on laundry day. You can ship that.

    It’s like if you bought a ticket for a museum tour and they just pushed you into the gift shop instead and then kicked you out.

  29. Them knowing 90 mins before doesn’t matter. The fans already flew in for the Hall of fame stuff the day before, probably even on Friday. The game is just a bonus that you didn’t get. They still had cheerleaders and food to enjoy.

    If you flew to a AC/DC concert and it is canceled, you don’t get the price of your flight, hotel and car rental refunded back if you ask for a refund. You just get the face value ticket price back.

  30. Until he is proven innocent Godell should be removed from doing his job and is salary should be withheld and if he wants to appeal the prosecuting attorney would handle that part of the process.

  31. fanboyarmy says:
    Aug 23, 2016 5:40 PM

    You guy really think Goodell runs the league all by himself? WOW!
    —————————–

    No we don’t, bozo, but as people keep saying over and over, Goodell gets paid $40 million to take bullets for the owners, so he is going to take the damned bullets.

  32. The real question should be whether the game was cancelled before they started letting fans into the stands.

    As for not telling the fans in the stands sooner, so as to not incite a riot, I imagine that waiting longer was a worse choice.

  33. I find the comments fitting, billionaires have us common folk fighting for them, to rip us off and continue to give them our money…..the billion dollar industry, the NFL, sold over priced hot dogs, soda, beer and souvenirs for almost two hours before telling the fans the game was cancelled then refused to refund each fan 475 dollars for game tickets hotel and other inconveniences and people are mad at the lawyer…..smh thats why they have over 90% of the wealth, they got us fighting each other over scraps…..

  34. The concert comparison doesn’t equate. I’ve been going to concerts for over 35 years and have never been to or heard of a concert being canceled the day of performance. That’s the issue here not only was this cancellation the day of but even worse an hour before start time.

    Had the NFL cancelled the game earlier it could have limited a fans losses. Before someone brings up a weather cancellation it’s not the same. For one everyone has access to weather reports and can use common sense by simply looking outside.
    What’s really at issue is how negligent the NFL was by not making sure much earlier that the field was in good enough condition for a game to be played.
    A reason why musicians don’t cancel a performance the day of is because they actually care about their fans.

  35. The only reason for keeping the fans on premises after it was decided the game wouldn’t be played was financial. It really didn’t matter that they’d already seen the enshrinement; they paid for a ticket to see a football game, which was cancelled under less-than-optimal circumstances. They deserved a refund. Paying $450 a fan is lunch money to the NFL; they should have paid.

    Discovery in this case is going to make the ongoing CTE/concussion convo look like a walk in the park. This attorney has already bested them once. He’s not going to lose, especially if he can get proof of the texts he’s probably already been told about or had forwarded to him privately.

    Attending a NFL game is a several-hundred-dollar adventure these days. Why should the fans have to make the financial sacrifices when the league is too stupid/craven to invest what amounts to pennies to ensure a playable field, let alone player safety?

  36. Would ACDC wait til you were in your seats with family and friends after spending 80 dollars on beer and souvenir before they canceled? Even though they knew there wouldnt be a show for over an hour?

  37. Where is all the, why would the league deliberately try and sabotage one of the premier players? Why would the league lie and frame the pats??

    How much more mounting evidence do you need before you understand the league can not be trusted. They continually lie

  38. The Colts and Goodell are in cahoots once again!

    Goodell lets them get away with piping in phony crowd noise every home game.

    They tanked 2 entire seasons to get the #1 pick. First for PEDton Manning. Then there was the infamous and blatantly obvious “Suck for Luck” Campaign. They even sold t shirts!

    They carry inflation needles on the sidelines out in the open.

    They hide broken ribs and lacerated kidneys from the injury reports.

    They admitted to tampering with New England’s football in the Well’$ Report.

    The owner is a walking pharmacy, forever in a booze and pills formed haze.

    They, along with the Ravens and Mike Kensil fabricated the Deflategate fantasy and fed lies to the media for over a year.

    Now the Colts intentionally scammed their own fans.

    No one is surprised.

  39. breadmeatcheese says:
    Aug 23, 2016 3:52 PM

    lol a grown man wearing plastic cheese on his head. lul. the game was canceled because he looked ridiculous.
    ==============================================

    Yup, those cheesehead hats look just as bad as wearing historically inaccurate* horns on your head.

    * hint: Vikings didn’t wear horns on their helmets going into battle.

  40. Aren’t there about 200-300 ‘reporters’ who cover the NFL? Why the heck aren’t they holding the league’s butt to the fire? Where have all the real journalists, rather than news aggregators wearing braids, gone?

  41. “If they have proof the Hall and the NFL just wanted to cash in a bit to recover some losses, the NFL will fold faster than Superman on laundry day. You can ship that.”

    ****

    Is that anything like Brady’s billion dollar defamation lawsuit? Lmao.

  42. lingsun54 says:
    Aug 23, 2016 4:04 PM

    So the lawyer would have us believe that the league deliberately conspired to do things that would allow them to cancel the game? What a joke!

    I don’t believe they’re saying that the NFL conspired to cancel the game; what they’re saying is that the NFL made the decision to cancel the game much earlier and decided for whatever reason to not inform the fans until much later. The fraud come from the delay and the insinuation is that the delay resulted in fans collectively spending a significant amount of money on concessions, souvenirs, etc.

  43. landoflefselutefiskandlosers says:
    Aug 23, 2016 6:57 PM
    Aren’t there about 200-300 ‘reporters’ who cover the NFL?
    ____________

    Probably because they like their jobs. Even if they are candid and honest and don’t exxagrrate, some of those companies don’t like that remember the UFC fired a reporter for breaking big news before the.company could.

  44. beauregard says:
    Aug 23, 2016 4:04 PM
    I, like everyone else here, am not privy to the facts.

    I do know that whenever I hear a lawyer say “I know it happened”, I take it with so many grains of salt.

    Lawyers are not concerned with facts. Many times the Facts are a lawyer’s worse nemesis. The only thing certain is he stands to make millions with a class action suit.
    ——————————
    You should have stopped after typing that first sentence, then read it and decided not to post! Firstly, although lawyers often proclaim their side’s righteousness, they don’t that often start their public statements with something as strong as “I know…” and then say someone committed fraud, because it opens them up to potential libel. Secondly, if (as you say) “lawyers are not concerned with facts” then how can the facts ever be a lawyer’s “worst nemesis”?? Thirdly, he’s already said he’ll represent the fans for no charge. Of course he’ll get publicity, but he isn’t going to make “millions” with this class action suit. You’re a fool and your own “worse” enemy.

  45. Good luck. At most you’ll have them for running up the concession total.

    If you want to hit them with travel they would have to have known the game wasn’t going to happen days in advance. Even if it was cancelled an hour earlier what does that mean in regards to hotel and flight? Nothing.

    This ambulance chaser should’ve taken what the league offered last time and called it a day.

  46. granadafan says:
    Aug 23, 2016 6:56 PM
    breadmeatcheese says:
    Aug 23, 2016 3:52 PM
    lol a grown man wearing plastic cheese on his head..
    ========================
    Yup, those cheesehead hats look just as bad as wearing historically inaccurate* horns.. hint: Vikings didn’t wear horns on their helmets going into battle.
    ——————————————
    But some might have worn them at ceremonies, and a football game is more of a ceremonial battle than an actual war. The earliest horned ceremonial helmets from Scandinavia date to the Bronze Age, representing status or depicting gods – which again makes them relevant as depictions at games (invoking the gods etc).

  47. Arrogance begets ignorance. And that’s what happened. A $millon plus worth of food, beer, other merchandise and salaries would have been trashed because of the cancelled game. So the arrogant powers that be decided that rather than wasting the food and merchandise, they would delay the announcement and sell as much of it as possible. Thinking, and this is where the ignorance comes in, that those paying fans planned on buying expensive hot dogs and beers anyway, whether a game was played or not. Typical Goodell narcisstic arrogance. He probably thought that all he would have had to do was go to the stadium and offer to sign some autographs and half the paying fans wouldn’t have even wanted a rebate.
    Well this may work out really well. By getting access to Goodell’s electronic communications, the attorney is playing the owners against Goodell. Just as Goodell plays the players against each other. And the owners against each other. This time there is an outsider involved who is beholden to no one. Not to the owners, not to anyone at Park Avenue, not to the players or coaches. And he really doesn’t have to prove his case. He just needs to make the case strong enough to be heard and the threat of making Goodell’s communications public may be sufficient to get the owners to settle and fire Goodell. My, my, my there is possibly a heaven.

  48. I have no reason to not believe there was intentional deceit, it’s entirely expected at this point with the NFL.
    But it’s odd to hear an attorney speak in such absolute terms.
    The NFL is covering its tracks and will make it very difficult for this attorney to prove anything.
    The NFL believes it can’t be messed with right now, not in any court.
    They are like a sovereign nation unto themselves.
    If they can get text messages and it truly “goes to the top”, it will be fun to have a good laugh at the oh so corruptible commissioner.

  49. Hope its not the same lawyer who said “My client Aaron Hernandez is innocent of these charges”.

  50. For a lawsuit to be worthwhile, you have to have wrongdoing and damages. Just what are the damages that occurred here? People ate food they otherwise wouldn’t have eaten? They would have had to eat something somewhere anyway, right?

    And they bought merchandise? Ouch. That just doesn’t seem like damages big enough to scare a defendant like the NFL. People were not horribly hurt by being told 90 minutes later the game was cancelled. This seems silly.

  51. The fans got a ceremony that included the players and new HOF inductees.

    excerpt
    Hall of Fame President David Baker said fans will receive a refund, and there was a ceremony on Sunday with players and new Hall of Fame inductees, per Schefter. Schefter also reported the cancellation will cost the Hall of Fame an estimated $4 million, though Baker called it an “easy, ethical decision” not to play the game.

    Lawyers!

  52. coloradical420 says:
    Aug 23, 2016 4:32 PM
    Well maybe we could start with the fact that a beer is $12. Why isn’t that illegal? The same amount of beer would cost you 1/6 of $9.99 on the streets – $1.66 a beer roughly has been inflated 722%. Meanwhile the tax payers are paying for the stadium the game is being played in, players are holding out for more guaranteed MILLIONS, the owners are making ridiculous profits all at the expense of the average, everyday, blue collar fan that probably pulls in around $38,000 annually. We can start there and work our way up to the $8.00 hot dog. W(ed)T(hurs)F(ri)?!?!?!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    You are so right. It is incredible that the NFL and its teams force (at gunpoint) fans to make purchases of $12 beers and $8 hotdogs.

    Wait – you mean, people actually have a choice about making these purchases? You mean people can eat and drink before going to the game and save their money?

    And to be honest, here in NY – no one making $38,000 is going to games……

  53. streetyson says:
    Aug 23, 2016 8:09 PM

    But some might have worn them at ceremonies, and a football game is more of a ceremonial battle than an actual war
    ____________

    If you reach any further than that your going to end up drafting Christian Ponder 12th overall.

    One thing I DO know is that Wisconsin is the leader in producing cheese, plus Cheeseheads have saved lives before so they DO have their benefits.

  54. I am certain there is a lawyer on this site, but normally the first thing they ask in a deposition is ‘whadda know and when did ya know it?”

    When those two questions are answered, then the NFL will settle.

    I do not believe for a second they will drag this out, spending the millions they did on PSI and TB, just to win this case….oh wait….

  55. mzew233 says:
    Aug 23, 2016 3:25 PM
    If this collapses against the NFL and some or all of the Al Jizerra are suspended. While Brady is doing time for PSI. The NFL will really lose its credibility and image this year..
    0000000000000000000000000000000000

    They’ve already lost a tremendous amount of credibility.
    How Goodell keeps his job is beyond me. He’s costing the owners money. Lawyers, depositions, angering fans,
    When do the owners wake up and realize this man is on an ego run for the ages.

  56. @rootpain, bigbits2

    I have to agree with you both. Also, no attorney is going to set himself up for a libel suit! For an attorney to not only be beholden to know one, but also to come out and say that “he knows a fraud was committed” leads me to believe that some one in the NFL hierarchy, or an HOF employee said something to Avenatti!

    If, and it’s a big IF, Avenatti can prove even one act of fraud, or the attempted perpetration of a fraud the NFL/HOF will have a very serious problem on their hands.

    And Pat McAfee doing a podcast isn’t going to help the NFL/HOF either.

    BTW, Pat. Can you say Article 46…You can bet Fraudger we’ll be giving you a call soon.

  57. David Baker is a hukster. I can’t believe the pass he’s been given by the “media” in this whole thing.

  58. This guy probably has a case, but if you were a lawyer wouldn’t you be embarrassed working on this kind of case vs. something actually important. Get a little more money and ditch the “fraud” claims.
    He might have gotten his law degree from one of those schools that used to be on match box covers.

  59. to paraphrase Eg Chen,

    this guy plays at being a man. he exists only to torment the living.

    ****

    I agree, most lawyers are scum.

  60. orange and blue own the nfl says:
    Aug 23, 2016 7:02 PM

    “If they have proof the Hall and the NFL just wanted to cash in a bit to recover some losses, the NFL will fold faster than Superman on laundry day. You can ship that.”

    ****

    Is that anything like Brady’s billion dollar defamation lawsuit? Lmao.
    ——————

    Brady never said anything about a defamation suit… Peyton promised one though, and nothing has come of it. Now that is funny.

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