Posts in Guest Post
The Cost of Becoming a Nation of Laputans

In the Jonathan Swift classic Gulliver’s Travels the main character encounters an island in the sky called Laputa. The aristocratic residents of the island were described as being so engrossed in thought that they often required servants to prod them as they were walking so they wouldn’t walk into stationary objects and each other.

All anyone needs to do is look at crowds of United States citizens engrossed in their mobile devices while walking to see how much they represent Laputans in this regard, but the cost of being out of touch with their environment has more serious consequences than needing assistance to navigate walkways.

Governmental bodies, and the individuals with deep pockets who fund their election campaigns, at all levels have taken advantage of citizens’ disinterest and indifference to their activities to turn what was created to be a representative republic into an unconstitutional oligarchy. This has been evidenced at the city level by repeated abuses of “emergency measures” to bypass the need for approval of the populace at large before handing public dollars over to professional sports teams.

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US Army Wades Into Battle With Las Vegas Golden Knights

The Las Vegas Golden Knights haven’t had a whole lot of problems in their unprecedentedly successful inaugural season.

Since 1960, none of the 64 expansion teams to launch in the NHL, NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball managed so much as a winning season. Then, the Knights came along winning the Pacific Division, posting a .655 winning percentage, and sweeping their first-round playoff series with the Los Angeles Kings...

... But their toughest battle may be off the ice.

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Accounting for Publicity: Scott Foster & Group Licensing Under Collective Bargaining

On March 29, 2018, while preparing for a home game against the Winnipeg Jets, the Chicago Blackhawks suddenly found themselves without prospective starter Anton Forsberg, who was injured during his off-ice warmups. With nobody else available to back up now-starter-by-necessity Collin Delia (making his own NHL debut as a recent call up from AHL Rockford), the Blackhawks signed 36-year-old, former Western Michigan University goaltender Scott Foster to a one-day amateur tryout contract. The catch? Foster last played for the WMU Broncos in 2006 (for reference, Jonathan Toews’s freshman year at University of North Dakota) and is employed as an accountant for Golub Capital.

By now, the rest is history: with the Blackhawks up 6-2 over Winnipeg, and with Delia suddenly incapacitated with cramps with 14 minutes to go in the third period... who is this guy in the black Vaughns and the AC/DC mask?... let’s check the program for #90... he wouldn’t be in the program on such short notice... yep, there he is, emergency goaltender Scott Foster! Foster made seven saves on seven shots, preserving the win and earning a first star of the game and a story of a lifetime. In a rush to beat the April 17, 2018 filing deadline with the IRScapitalize on Foster’s (almost literally) fifteen minutes of fame, the Blackhawks put out this tweet in order to (sorry, can’t help it) hawk some merchandise...

What is wrong with this story, and why am I flagging the Chicago Blackhawks for an audit? Let’s open the books.

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Esports Levels Up - Franchising & Antitrust

The year was 2017. It was a simpler time - no 16 seed had beat a 1 seed in March - but that is when the world of esports revolutionized. League of Legends had announced its 2018 season of the North America League Championship Series would move to a franchise model. The Overwatch League (“OWL”), a franchise league for Blizzard’s popular title Overwatch, was beginning to take shape. And then, like UMBC’s upset, the NBA announced an esports franchise league out of nowhere: the NBA 2K League (“2K League”). For the inaugural season of the League, seventeen of the thirty NBA franchises will participate.

Up until the announcement of the 2K League, every franchise league looked like a shell of what we know. For example, the the OWL has city based teams, like the San Francisco Shock, player minimums, and player benefits. The announcement of the OWL promised more than this shell, specifically announcing a player combine and draft. These events, however, never came to fruition. Then came the 2K League, with not only player minimums and and city based teams, but also a combine and a draft. The 2K League announced an application process, followed up by a player combine, and then a draft. Thousands applied, 250 people participated in the combine, 102 and will be draft eligible. The combine ran through the month of February and the draft lottery order was selected on March 13 (with Mavs Gaming, the Dallas Mavericks, winning the first overall pick). The draft will take place April 4 at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden’s Lobby (1 p.m. ET).

Although it is incredible to see the growth of esports and creation of franchise leagues, one has to wonder whether these leagues will ever face litigation surrounding a complex body of law that all traditional sports leagues have faced: Antitrust. This post seeks to give a 30,000 foot view of antitrust, what defenses/exemptions are available, and present arguments for the leagues. A majority of the discussion will focus on the 2K League because, to me, it presents the greatest antitrust battle.

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The Uphill Legal Battle for Defamation Claims in Professional Sports

Guest Post by Rex Sheild

Professional athletes and coaches are consistently in the limelight, whether they wish to be or not. Sure, some professional athletes and coaches prefer to be at the center of attention, for branding purposes if nothing else. Others, however, would rather maintain a more private life. Regardless of the particular professional athlete or coach preference, they will still be succumbed to defamatory remarks from all types of individuals across a wide range of mediums. As such, in my latest for Sports Law Blonde, I will dissect defamation law in the realm of sports and provide previous and recent case law.

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Professional Athletes Leading the Way on Marijuana Reform in United States

Guest Post by Derek Helling

Individual citizens and groups all over the United States are taking part in petition campaigns, legislative hearings and other forms of lobbying to decriminalize the possession and commerce of Cannabis and its by-products. Current and former professional athletes are included in these groups.

The most notable example of this legal advocacy is former NFL player Marvin Washington, who is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions. The suit seeks relief for the plaintiffs against federal laws penalizing Cannabis possession and transportation that the suit argues violate the United States Constitution.

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Guest Post - Rex Shield

Since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed down their decision in O’Bannon v. NCAA, the discussions surrounding college athletes’ name, image, and likeness have come to the forefront, and rightfully so. As such, a former University of Central Florida football player, Jah Reid (not to be confused with Jah Rule, of course) sued the university’s athletic department — formally referred to as the UCF Athletics Association (“UCFAA”). His attorney filed a complaint with the Orange County (FL) Circuit Court on May 12. Additionally, Reid named Rise and Conquer LLC (“Rise and Conquer”) as a defendant. Scott Frost, UCF’s Head Football Coach, serves as Rise and Conquer’s de-facto CEO, according to online records.

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Guest Post - Alyssa Newswanger

Dealing with minor to serious consequences in the wake of another public scandal is not new territory for U.S. Women’s National Team (“USWNT”) goalkeeper, Hope Solo. However, has an errant comment, after a devastating loss, really become the possible nail in the coffin of her national team career?

Let’s take a quick walk through Solo’s history with the national team and her public incidents that have led to this drastic decision from U.S. Soccer.

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