This weekend is the 83rd Annual National Football League Player Selection Meeting, a.k.a. the 2018 NFL Draft! If a team has a successful draft, Lord knows that its trajectory can change dramatically. Because of these stakes, the league has formalized the process over the years to (try to) become more equitable to every team. As you can imagine, player selection means contracts on contracts on contracts, rules and regulation enforcement, a shift from amateur to professional status, and OH so much more law-related fun. Here are a few fun bits of knowledge y'all should store in your brains.Read More
The following passage is an excerpt from Justin Bedi's Sports Are Worth How Much!? And Other Questions In Pro Sports, Answered (Kind Of), from the chapter “The History and Impact of Unions In Pro Sports”. It has been edited and condensed to appear in this publication.
“Love them or hate them, unions are a part of the way the working world is organized.
The labor movement has touched virtually every corner of the globe and has impacted every industry, from steelmaking and car manufacturing, to the public service and piloting, to the world of professional sports.
Unions are undoubtedly controversial; on a scale from nuisance to difficult problem, business owners see unions as industry death knells, and on the other side, workers see them as vital to protecting their rights. The debate over the impact and effectiveness of unions is fraught with realities, myths, and hyperbole, and this is particularly true of the professional sports industry, because every part of sports is exciting—even the unions.
Unionism in professional sports boils down to an inherent conflict between billionaire owners and millionaire athletes—the kind of drama that drives daytime soap operas. And due to the overwhelming popularity and cultural significance of professional sports in the U.S. and Canada, the everlasting drama between team owners and athletes has been highly publicised and made accessible to the public.Read More
If Deflategate's courtroom battles placed "sports law" into mainstream conversation in 2015-2016, then 2017 gave sports law an entire fleet of those Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tubemen [Note: If you do not understand the reference, I encourage you to click the link.] As we step - no, run - into a new year embracing all the change that is more likely than not going to occur, I would like to put the past twelve months into perspective and reflect on what I predicted would be the sports law hot topics to watch in 2017, what happened and what did not, and see whether the topics attained some means of closure. All in all, I can proudly say that my umbrella picture that 2017 would be a continuation of prevalent sports law trends was pretty accurate.Read More
nless you have been living under a rock like Patrick Star, you know the name Roger Goodell. Goodell is the current NFL Commissioner who has reigned over the League since being the chosen one to succeed Paul Tagliabue in 2006. His name has not been able to escape media attention and public criticism since taking the position thanks to a combination of (a) the successive "scandals" by teams and individuals, (b) the increasing popularity of non-traditional news platforms like social media & online video streams, and (c) a more widespread understanding of the NFL Constitution & Bylaws outside of the League, where experts in the sports industry (e.g., me & my fellow sports attorneys!) are educating the fans on what the heck is going on with the product - the game itself and the people involved - they love.
Commissioners of professional sports leagues play an extraordinary unique role. They are known as the face of their league because they speak on behalf of their league. They are "the CEO of the league" because they look out for the best interests of the team owners and the overall operation of the business. Furthermore, they are in charge of looking after the best interests of their league as a whole. Special duties are intimately attached to the commissioner role, which is why we see them wear many hats depending on the circumstances. In short, no traditional business has a position quite like a professional sports league commissioner who (a) needs to protect the integrity of the game, (b) tackles the delicate responsibility of enforcing rules and disciplining players and/or team owners, and (c) resolves a variety of disputes, big and small.
The NFL Constitution and Bylaws forms the contractual relationship between the League and the owners, particularly, whereas the Collective Bargaining Agreement forms the contractual relationship between the League and the players. Article VIII of the Constitution and Bylaws, plainly titled "Commissioner," covers the many rules touching who the Commissioner is, what his responsibilities are, and what he is authorized to do. I know a lot of people have been asking me questions about this portion in general. Hopefully, your questions get answered, and if they do not, ask away in the comments!Read More
IF YOUR BRAIN NEEDS A BREATHER FROM FIFA, DAILY FANTASY SPORTS, & PEYTON MANNING, THIS IS FOR YOU. HERE ARE A FEW QUICK FLASHBACKS AT WHAT TOOK PLACE ON THIS DAY IN "SPORTS LAW" HISTORY.
11 YEARS AGO...Read More
I have a fantasy football draft on Wednesday night. Anyone who knows me knows that I believe Tom Brady is a god on and off the field and that I would jump at the chance to select him. Does Deflategate's legal proceedings in front of Judge Richard M. Berman affect my strategy for drafting him to lead my fantasy team to victory? Not really. There is a good chance (in legal terms, you could say "more probable than not") that he will play in the NFL regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers next week through one scenario or another thanks to legal strategy. The legally available routes are discussed in further detail here for those who are interested. For those who want the blunt story, here it is.
Note: "Arbitration Award" refers to Goodell's decision as arbitrator to uphold Brady's four game suspension.Read More
IN THE ENCOURAGING WORDS OF CELINE DION, "A NEW DAY HAS COME," OR AT LEAST WE HOPE SO FOR THE SAKE OF THE MLB'S CREDIBILITY IN THE FUTURE. THE BEST PART IS THAT IT IS JUST IN TIME FOR THE ALL-STAR BREAK AND VARIOUS HONORABLE EVENTS, LIKE THE HOME RUN DERBY, BEING HELD THIS WEEK.
Indeed, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) entered uncharted territory in the business world, and it involves a component that has has been a major hot topic for over a decade. Professional baseball is changing its strategy to incentivize its athletes to steer clear of products that may lead them - intentionally or unintentionally - to breach the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and place their future in the league in jeopardy.
The MLBPA and Klean Athlete Nutritional Supplements, an NSF Certified for Sport® line, have formed a non-exclusive partnership that is self-described on Klean Athlete's homepage as a "first-of-its-kind partnership designed to optimize nutritional health and well-being of players."Read More