Over a week has passed since ESPN let loose its detailed report stemming from Larry Nassar's sexual assault incidences. The entire situation regarding the adequacy and possible active sexual assault cover ups at Michigan State University is unfortunate because there is so much that happened in the past that cannot be sufficiently remedied beyond justice being served. Some people are beginning to speak out against sexual assault cases they personally experienced, and some people are choosing to dig deeper into the dirt, almost as if trying to take ESPN's Outside the Lines report to the next level (and that report already took things to an uncomfortable but necessary level). In doing so, this creates a problem that implicates certain Michigan State figures - at this point, are we able to separate subjective opinion and irresponsible journalism from objective facts to learn what has really been going down in East Lansing?Read More
The Overwatch League (OWL) began a few weeks ago and saw, in my opinion, a pretty successful inaugural weekend! Viewership has dropped a bit since, but that is to be expected to an extent. As its second week of competition began, though, the OWL experienced what could be called its first bit of "sports law" controversy - Félix "xQc" Lengyel, the tank for the Dallas Fuel, made some anti-gay slurs about one of his Houston Outlaws opponents on Thursday night on his personal Twitch account livestream after the Outlaws shut out the Fuel, 4-0. Austin "Muma" Wilmot, the tank for the Outlaws, is openly gay, & despite xQc stating afterward that he had no malicious intent in his remarks, OWL chose to stay strong in its disciplinary stance.Read More
In light of the horrible Larry Nassar & USA Gymnastics sexual assault matters & lawsuit, I wanted to share a piece I wrote back in 2013 (i.e., as a law student).
Keep in mind that I was a 2L at the time and did not have quite the understanding of the law as I do now 5 years later (oh my goodness, 2013 is already 5 years ago), but nonetheless, this Comment on USA Swimming is very informative and discusses the same issues as we are today within a different National Governing Body (NGB). Moreover, this Comment shows how another NGB dealt with sexual assault allegations initially and how its later dealings still proved to be insufficient. Hopefully, USA Gymnastics can learn from USA Swimming's past legislative and moral failures. Even more importantly, it evidences how Nassar and USA Gymnastics is only the latest example of administrative failures in handling sexual assault matters. It is a widespread issue across sports, and that widespread issue stretches well beyond sports at that.
In large part, USA Swimming's failures in handling sexual assault were not more widespread until 2017 thanks to an Indianapolis Star investigation. Not to toot my own horn here, but to a legal eye, this was easy to spot as a hot topic problem years before that.
Without further ado...Read More
On Wednesday, North and South Korea agreed to the unthinkable - they are forming their first joint Olympic team and will march together in February's Opening Ceremony for the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games! This is pending approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), naturally, but this is a massive step toward cooperation between the Koreas after nuclear weaponry programs created quite a bit of tension. (Even war was a potential outcome at one point!) This marks the first time in 11 years the two nations will parade together for the ceremony and takes it indeed further. Since South Korea is this Games' host country, this set up an opportune moment for reconciliation. There are a few unique points that should be highlighted from their provided joint statement...Read More
Per usual, I would like to make my predictions regarding what topics I believe will be extra sizzlin' in 2018, but I will do so in a slightly different way. Here are brief descriptions of what each topic is, some insight as to why I have it on my predictions list, and who you can pay attention to for the latest news, updates, and analysis throughout the upcoming year: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
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