Thus far, 2014 has not been kind to the Buffalo Bills' family.
A few weeks ago, longtime owner Ralph Wilson passed away at the age of 95, leaving the future of the team in the Buffalo area, at the very least, questionable to the extent that rumors of Donald Trump stepping in as the owner were viewed as a good thing by many.
Prior to that, it was the tragic news that Bills legend Jim Kelly's cancer had returned. He is currently in Buffalo undergoing treatments.
All of this to go along with the general malaise of merely being the Buffalo Bills, y'know?
So given the very human toll that's piled up over the previous month, perhaps the occurrences of this past week don't really register emotionally for the Bills themselves, but for any other NFL team (ahem, Texans) this would be enough action for an entire year.
Let's start with a lawsuit settled, shall we?
In the sports world, for many people, signing up for text flash message services is still a thing.
Well, NFL teams provide this service as well. Unfortunately, the Bills do it a little too prolifically. And they will now pay for their eagerness:
The Buffalo Bills have agreed to pay up to $3 million - largely in the form of debit cards redeemable only at the team store - to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the team of sending too many alerts to fans who signed up for a text-messaging service.
To be fair, I receive text flashes from my radio station (Just text FLASH to 610-26!) to keep me updated on all the happenings in Houston sports! (Please read that last sentence in "cheesy voice guy" voice. Thanks.)
Jerry Wojcik, a Bills fan and area native now living in Florida, contended in his October 2012 suit that the team violated the terms of its text service by sending him 13 messages over two weeks when it promised to send no more than five per week.
The lawsuit was panned as frivolous by some sports fans, media commentators and legal experts.
But in a settlement filed last week in federal court in Tampa, Fla., the Bills agreed to provide up to $2.5 million in debit cards to people who had signed up for the text service, along with $562,500 to Wojcik's lawyers and $5,000 in cash to Wojcik as class representative.
Language on the website promised fans who enrolled in the messaging service would receive three to five messages per week for 12 months, but according to Wojcik, he received six messages during his second week in the program and seven messages during a later one-week period.
The horror! Who could blame Wojcik? Who wants to hear about the Bills anymore than is absolutely necessary?
Moving from one courtroom to the next one, the Bills were then taken to task by their cheerleading squad, who maintained that Buffalo has long been operating a low cut, cleavage laden sweat shop.
Here's that story:
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Five former Bills cheerleaders on Tuesday sued the team over a pay system they say had them working hundreds of hours for free at games and at mandatory public appearances where they sometimes were subjected to groping and sexual comments, and one said they had to take a jiggle test so their boss could see how firm their bodies were.
The case against the Bills says its cheerleaders, the Buffalo Jills, are wrongly classified as independent contractors and are subjected to policies that violate the state's $8 per hour minimum wage law and other workplace rules. Two members of the Jills squad held a news conference Tuesday with their attorney, Frank Dolce.
The Bills' cheerleaders aren't paid for games or practices and have to make 20 to 35 appearances, most of which are unpaid, at community and charity events each season, the lawsuit said. On top of that, they have to pay $650 for their uniforms and are not reimbursed for travel or other expenses, the cheerleaders said.
The time and expense, as well as rules governing their personal lives, far exceeded what they signed on for, the women said.
The civil action, which seeks unspecified back pay and legal fees, names Stejon Productions Corp., which assumed management of the Jills in 2011, along with former manager Citadel Communications Co., and the team.
And finally, the bad week seeped into the Bills' web team, as they accidentally prematurely published the story of head coach Doug Marrone's having cancer:
The Buffalo Bills published an article which reported head coach Doug Marrone had cancer. Though Marrone may have planned to announce his cancer, the story looks to be prematurely published, since "BLANK TYPE OF CANCER" is still in the dek.
Nick St. Denis seems to be the first to have noticed the unfinished article from nine hours ago. The text of the article is two sentences and placeholder text with the intent to insert quotes from Marrone about his cancer.
The story's already removed, but here's a screen cap.
Word later matriculated out through more conventional channels and with actual details on the type of cancer! Bonus!
#Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone says he had a cancerous mole found on his skin. It has been removed. Won't effect ability to coach team.
— Jeff Russo (@JeffRussoWKBW) April 23, 2014
Statement from Doug Marrone "The recent extraction procedure will have no effect on my ability to coach the team moving forward." #Bills
— Jeff Russo (@JeffRussoWKBW) April 23, 2014
Lawsuits, settlements, jiggle tests, and more cancer. Welcome to Buffalo!
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.