DOCUMENT: Sports, Stupid

Lingerie League Gets Litigious

Ex-players threatened with lawsuits over beefs aired online

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Lingerie League Gets Litigious

DECEMBER 17--The Lingerie Football League, where bikini-clad women grapple on the gridiron, is threatening legal action against a group of former players who have complained that the league has reneged on promises to pay the medical bills for women injured during practices and games.

In a December 10 letter, a lawyer for the league warned nine ex-players that "evidence gathered" showed that the women had "participated in the posting" of false information online (apparently on Facebook and MySpace pages). The letter, a copy of which you'll find here, is the latest heavy-handed tactic employed by the struggling 10-team league, which launched about three months ago with the laughable assertion that it was "one of television's biggest commercial properties."

According to several former players, league founder Mitchell Mortaza and his deputies have repeatedly threatened legal action when players have complained (or simply inquired) about health coverage and wages. In an e-mail exchange, Mortaza declined to comment on the letter, but he wished TSG "the best of luck with your story, especially the elements that you obtained illegally which is actionable."

Mortaza, a former "Blind Date" contestant whose rap sheet includes drunk driving and public intoxication arrests, is the league's chief enforcer. In an October e-mail to a player who had written to him about disorganized practices, Mortaza responded, "Let me give you a little advice and this goes for any other player creating unnecessary, drama. Simply SHUT UP and play football." He added that he wished the woman stopped attending practices "so we have reason to terminate you and assess the termination fine."

That fine--$5000--is detailed in the league's standard player contract, which also warns of a $500 fine if a woman wears any "additional garments" underneath her lingerie uniform. The league, an ex-player told TSG, did not want women wearing bras or underwear, since that would inhibit instances where players were exposed when uniforms were ripped off or pulled down during play. Such "accidental nudity" is addressed in the contract, which requires a player to "knowingly and voluntarily" agree to such inadvertent exposure.

Other e-mails from league officials show them threatening to file a stolen property report with the Chicago Police Department over a uniform that one ex-player purportedly did not return. That woman was warned that the league's "outside law firm in Chicago will be pressing charges and making certain there is a bench warrant issued...We are also actively building a slander case against you and will be filing when ready because of your sustained false accusations. We are subpoening records from several public internet websites."

In an e-mail to members of the Chicago Bliss, the team's coach, Keith Hac, ripped his players as "irresponsible children" after an "alcohol related incident" at a promotional event. Hac noted that he took "full responsibility" for the incident, adding that, "I should never have allowed the drinking on the bus in the first place (several underage girls) and I should have not allowed it to continue as long as it did." Hac concluded with this helpful advice: "Stop acting like a bunch of Chicago Bliss tee-shirt wearing bimbos when the liquor starts flowing." (4 pages)