NFL's 'Mr. Irrelevant' Awarded $5.4 Million
ST. LOUIS (CN) - A St. Louis Rams linebacker won a $5.4 million default judgment against a supplement provider whose tainted product caused him to fail an NFL drug test. Some of David Vobora's award was for lost endorsement opportunities as "Mr. Irrelevant" - the quasi-honorary title given to the last player chosen in the annual NFL draft.
U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel awarded judgment to Vobora for his lawsuit against S.W.A.T.S., "a business entity, form unknown."
Vobora found, and the judge agreed, that Anti-Steroid Program LLC dba S.W.A.T.S. sold an "Ultimate Sports Spray" that contained the banned substance methyl testosterone.
After using the spray, Vobora failed a drug test and was suspended for four games without pay. Vobora said he sent in the bottle of "Ultimate Sports Spray" for testing and it came back positive for the banned substance.
"This court finds and concludes that plaintiff has suffered both special and general damages," Sippel wrote. "At the time the facts in the complaint occurred, plaintiff was a starting linebacker in the NFL for the St. Louis Rams. Mr. Vobora was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2008 as the final draft selection, a draft selection commonly referred to in the NFL as 'Mr. Irrelevant' due to the unique 'honor' of being the final pick of the draft. Plaintiff Vobora was the first 'Mr. Irrelevant' to start an NFL game as a rookie since Marty Moore started for the New England Patriots in 1994."
Vobora lost more than $90,000 in salary to the suspension, plus an undetermined amount for performance bonuses and endorsement opportunities from being "Mr. Irrelevant."
"The court heard testimony that the positive drug test and resulting suspension made Mr. Vobora less marketable than other similarly situated players who have not been suspended," Sippel wrote. "Mr. Vobora is less marketable not only due to his tarnished reputation but also because he has one strike against him under the NFL's performance enhanced drug protocol."
Vobora was awarded $3.04 million for loss of future income, $2 million for damage to reputation, $170,000 for loss of performance bonuses, $100,000 in loss of marketing endorsements and $90,000 in lost salary.
Vobora was represented by Howard Jacobs.