The Legal Implications of Los Angeles Lakers’ Social Media Gaffe

By Jon Hyman

Mar. 31, 2016

Here’s one you don’t see every day.

The Los Angeles Lakers are peeved at one of their teammates, rookie D’Angelo Russell. So far, no big deal. That is, no big deal until you understand the cause of the rift. According to multiple media reports:

… some teammates' trust in Russell is eroding after a video surfaced in the past week that shows Russell recording a private conversation between himself and teammate Nick Young. Young does not appear to realize he is being taped. The video, which is believed to have come to light last week via the Twitter account of a celebrity gossip site, shows Russell filming Young while asking questions about Young being with other women.

Team members also describe the incident as a “prank gone wrong.” Not only is it a prank, it’s also likely illegal under California’s anti-wiretap law.

State wiretap laws come in two flavors — one-party consent and two-party consent.

  • In a one-party-consent state, as long as one of the parties being recorded is also a party to the conversation, no law has been violated.
  • In a two-party-consent state, all parties to the conversation must provide their consent to be recorded.

California, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, is a two-party-consent state. So, by surreptitiously recording a conversation with a teammate, D’Angelo Russell is not only a bad co-worker, he’s also law breaker.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at


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