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
Former Michigan Football stud Peppers is a rookie for the Cleveland Browns and has looked pretty good on the field given the unfortunate circumstances of being on the Cleveland Browns. In Week 12, the Browns played their in-state rival, the Cincinnati Bengals, and because apparently no game in the NFL can finish 60 minutes of play without some controversy, the officials made a controversial call against Peppers when he made quite possibly the best hit of his career to date.
In the fourth quarter, Peppers was flagged and given a penalty for his hit on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone. The Browns were only down 23-16 when an official threw the flag and announced that Peppers received a personal foul because he made contact with Malone's helmet. The penalty gave the Bengals an automatic first down and moved the ball 15 yards down the field. Just moments later, the Bengals scored a touchdown to seal the deal and defeat the still-winless Browns 30-16.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