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Muscle Sport Magazine

Many Questions on NPC/Manion – NSL/Thompson Pact

When an unprecedented agreement such as this one takes place (especially when it appears as if a gag order is part of it), there are more questions than answers as a result. It was announced today by both parties that the NPC and Jim Manion and the Nspire Sports League and Lee Thompson have reached a settlement to drop their respective lawsuits against one another.

There have been other rival organizations in the past where no such agreement was necessary, such as the WBF, PDI and WBBF.

Here is the joint statement that was released:

The disputes and legal proceedings between Jim Manion, NPC, Lee Thompson and Nspire have been resolved and settled to the satisfaction of all involved parties. As part of the settlement, Mr. Manion and Mr. Thompson have confirmed that NPC and Nspire (formerly known as NPC Global) are separate business entities with no affiliation between the two. Mr. Manion, NPC, Mr. Thompson and Nspire have also confirmed that all athletes, sponsors and promoters can compete and/or do business freely with NPC, Nspire, or any other amateur bodybuilding, fitness and physique organization without any negative repercussions or fear of retribution from Mr. Manion, NPC, Mr. Thompson and/or Nspire. No further statements or comments concerning this matter will be issued or made by Mr. Manion, NPC, Mr. Thompson and/or Nspire.

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Let’s break this down basically line-by-line and read into it a little since neither side can make statements about it:

*The disputes and legal proceedings between Jim Manion, NPC, Lee Thompson and Nspire have been resolved and settled to the satisfaction of all involved parties – There were two lawsuits filed (one by each party) – the NPC against the NSL for trademark infringement for using the NPC Global name when the league was initially formed back in September and the NSL against the NPC for tortuous interference.

*As part of the settlement, Mr. Manion and Mr. Thompson have confirmed that NPC and Nspire (formerly known as NPC Global) are separate business entities with no affiliation between the two. – No surprise there. 

*Mr. Manion, NPC, Mr. Thompson and Nspire have also confirmed that all athletes, sponsors and promoters can compete and/or do business freely with NPC, Nspire, or any other amateur bodybuilding, fitness and physique organization without any negative repercussions or fear of retribution from Mr. Manion, NPC, Mr. Thompson and/or Nspire. – Here is where it gets very interesting. The ‘tortuous interference’ aspect of Thompson’s lawsuit against Manion was exactly just this and it appears that is a one-sided angle of the agreement. The NSL has not even hosted its first show (which will be on December 12), so at best, this is a preventive maintenance inclusion if you view it as being geared towards Thompson. NPC memo

But for the NPC and Manion, on the other hand, it definitely looks as if this is an admission of guilt. Before you say that we’re jumping to conclusions, take into consideration a memo (right) sent out by Manion to the NPC district chairpersons that instructs them not to “intimidate, threaten, punish, harass and/or coerce Lee Thompson’s and/or Nspire’s current and/or prosepective [sic] athletes, members, customers, sponsors, vendors, family members and/or business partners as a result of those individuals or entities doing business with or considering doing business with Mr. Thompson and/or Nspire. Nor shall any District Chairperson disparage Mr. Thompson, his family members and/or Nspire. Your complete cooperation is required.”

Why would the head of an organization – and the one ultimately responsible for the actions of his subordinates – need to spell this out when that type of behavior should never be tolerated to begin with?

When there is a lawsuit slapped on someone and then they announce that an agreement has been made to drop said suit, we can speculate as to the reasons why. But when the exact same behavior as the allegations stated is quickly spelled out in a memo distributed on one side, the court of public opinion has the burden of proof for a conviction. Dec 12 NPC NSL

*No further statements or comments concerning this matter will be issued or made by Mr. Manion, NPC, Mr. Thompson and/or Nspire. – Another area where speculation can lead to Manion gaining more than Thompson. What will the NPC have on Thompson regarding the trademark infringement that them keeping quiet makes any difference? That entire situation became a moot point once the moniker Nspire Sports League replaced NPC Global. Back damages, at best, would have been the result of that suit. 

But the suit that Manion’s lawyers would have had to defend not only covered the tortuous interference, but also mentioned “rigged” contests, corruption, assault, extortion and tax fraud against the NPC and Manion. Quite the difference.

Manion has a lot to gain by keeping Thompson quiet, so to speak, and that  – in our opinion – is the game changer here and the reason why this memo was hastily prepared…misspelling and all.