The San Antonio Spurs are being sued by a lawyer who is alleging the team violated the state’s deceptive and fair trade practices law.
On Monday, Larry McGuinness filed a class-action suit in Miami-Dade County, stating Spurs 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 Miami 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.
Before the game, Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green back to San Antonio, saying that he believed that resting his top players for their fourth game in five days was a smart decision.
Even though players aren’t guaranteed to play at any time, the lines are a little more blurred because teams charge fans more to attend games versus better teams. When asked how he thought the fans felt, Popovich admitted at the time that it wasn’t ideal.
„If I was taking my 6-year-old son and daughter to the game, I would want them to see everybody,“ Popovich said. „And if they weren’t there, I’d be disappointed.“
It’s often assumed that fans might not see certain high-profile players because of injury, but McGuinness said this was different, given that all of the top players were not available to play.
„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.“
NBA commissioner David Stern apologized to fans for Popovich’s decision at the time, calling it „unacceptable.“ Days later, the NBA, which is not named as a defendant in this case, fined the team $250,000.
Some might argue that the Heat’s fans got their money’s worth. That’s because the team barely beat the undermanned Spurs that night 105-100. McGuinness said that doesn’t mean a game with the Spurs‘ top players couldn’t have been more exciting.
McGuinness said he didn’t believe the Spurs were served with the lawsuit yet.
Spurs spokesman Tom James said the team would have no comment.