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Can NFL Players be Fired, Disciplined for Protesting During National Anthem?

President Donald Trump has suggested that the National Football League’s television ratings decline was caused by “fans seeing those people (players) taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem.” Trump has urged fans to “leave the stadium” when players kneel during the national anthem and suggested that NFL team owners fire players who … Continue Reading

NLRB Finds Sports Team’s Electronic-Content Workers As Employees Eligible To Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board has found the individuals who produce electronic content for viewing during professional basketball games are employees, rather than independent contractors. Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball, LP, 365 NLRB No. 124 (2017). The Board reversed the decision of an NLRB regional director and reinstated a representation petition filed by the International Alliance of … Continue Reading

Eight United States Senators Implore NCAA to Adopt ‘Uniform Policy’ on Sexual Assault

On the heels of the NCAA’s Board of Governor’s recent policy announcement requiring college coaches, athletics administrators and student-athletes to be educated in sexual violence prevention, eight United States Senators have forwarded a letter to the NCAA’s Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence. The letter from Richard Blumenthal, Robert Casey, Jr., Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand, … Continue Reading

New Sexual Violence Prevention Education Policy Adopted by National Collegiate Athletic Association

Coaches, athletics administrators, and student-athletes must be educated in sexual violence prevention under a policy adopted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Governors on August 8, 2017. The new policy provides that annually, every member institution’s president or chancellor, athletic director, and Title IX coordinator will be required to attest that the … Continue Reading

Former Big League Pitcher Awarded More than $1.5 Million for Wrongful Termination

A New Jersey jury in the Superior Court of New Jersey for Camden County has awarded former Major League Baseball pitcher Mitchell Williams $1,565,333 in a wrongful termination action he filed against MLB Network, Inc. Mitchell Williams v. The MLB Network, Inc., et al., No. L-3675-14. Williams, nicknamed “Wild Thing,” played professional baseball from 1986 … Continue Reading

Pacific Pro League To Provide Amateur Football Alternative, Glimpse Of Value Of College Athletes

NFL agent Don Yee, longtime representative of Tom Brady, and a list of football notables including ESPN’s Adam Schefter and two-time Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan intend to form the Pacific Pro Football League (“PPFL”) with four teams in the Southern California region and commence league play in the summer of 2018. Not seeking to … Continue Reading

National College Players Association Urges Prospective Student-Athletes To Negotiate Scholarship Terms With Colleges

The College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) and Executive Director Ramogi Huma’s (Huma) efforts to unionize the Northwestern University football team failed when the National Labor Relations Board refused to rule on the legal ability of these student athletes to form a union. Huma has now shifted his focus to working with the National College Players … Continue Reading

Visa Options For Athletes

In these days of “extreme vetting,” entering the United States as a business visitor (B visa or Visa Waiver status, with an ESTA approval) can have its hazards – especially for athletes who need to enter the United States quickly and have no time to spare. [Link to blog on extreme vetting: http://www.globalimmigrationblog.com/2017/05/state-department-proposes-supplemental-questions-for-visa-applicants/ ] Earlier this … Continue Reading

NCAA Baseball Coach Fired After Only One Season Following Scholarship Controversy

Alabama baseball coach Greg Goff was fired after one season at the helm of the Crimson Tide baseball program after a disappointing 19-34-1 overall record and a 5-24-1 record against Southeastern Conference competition. However, despite the team’s poor performance and lowest overall win total since 1980, it is believed that Coach Goff’s reported decision to … Continue Reading

Jackson Lewis Attorneys Speaking at the Sports Lawyers Association’s Conference in Denver

Jackson Lewis attorneys Gregg Clifton and Paul Kelly, leaders of our Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group, will be guest panelists at the Sports Lawyers Association’s 43rd Annual Conference in Denver from May 18-20.  Gregg is speaking on the panel “TMZ Posted What!? Sports Crisis Management in the Age of Social Media” and Paul on … Continue Reading

Former NHL Player Receives Probation For Drug Offense

Former NHL player Kevin Stevens avoided a federal prison sentence following a hearing this week in U.S. District Court in Boston.  Stevens, who played in the NHL for 16 years (1987-2002), including  parts of 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, also starred at Boston College and for the 1988 U.S. Olympic team.  In the early … Continue Reading

Campus Sexual Assault Investigations Need Greater Fairness for All Parties, Trial Lawyers Group Says

The American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) has released a White Paper on Campus Sexual Assault Investigations aimed at improving the process employed by universities to address campus sexual assaults. Concerns over sexual assaults on college campuses had prompted the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to issue a Dear Colleague Letter, … Continue Reading

NCAA To Address Historic Early Recruiting Legislation

Landmark reform to restrict colleges’ aggressive early recruiting tactics of student-athletes is on the agenda at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Council April 12-14 annual meeting. One item, Proposal 2016-26, could make lacrosse the pilot program for creating specific restrictions for the recruiting of high school athletes prior to the beginning of their … Continue Reading

Agents Convicted for Smuggling Cuban Baseball Players

The criminal conviction of two sports agents for smuggling Cuban baseball players into the United States in an attempt to sign them to lucrative contracts serves as a reminder for agents, potential agents, and everyone else in the sports industry that compliance with the law is essential, even in the competitive business of sports management. … Continue Reading

Judge Recertifies MLB Minor League Collective and Class Action

Federal Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero struck a blow to MLB when he reversed course on his earlier decision and recertified a minor league collective and class action against MLB. In July 2016, the court decertified the minor league collective and class action in Senne, et al. v. Kansas City Royals Baseball Corp., et al., … Continue Reading

NFL Owners, Commissioner Consider Question of NFL Conduct Policies Regulating Non-Football Offenses Once Again

New York Jets player Darrelle Revis is entering the third year of his approximately $70 million five-year contract with the team. He is slated to receive a $13 million base salary ($6 million fully guaranteed) and a $2 million roster bonus this season, but only if he remains on the Jets roster. Unfortunately, the cornerback … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Concludes Division I Scholarship Football Players are Employees under Labor Law

Scholarship football players in Division I FBS private sector colleges and universities are employees under the National Labor Relations Act, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard F. Griffin has concluded. Accordingly, he explained, the players have all of the rights and protections available to employees under the Act. Click here to read the full … Continue Reading

Players To Boycott Football Activities, Bowl Game, Over Suspensions Of Teammates

University of Minnesota football players announced on December 15 that they are boycotting all football activities, including their December 27 Holiday Bowl game against the Washington State Cougars, to protest the University’s decision to suspend 10 teammates over a sexual assault allegation, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune. The University adopted an affirmative sexual consent … Continue Reading

The Potential Trump Effect On The Sports World

While the nation and the world react to the victory of President-elect Donald Trump and theorize what his impending presidency will mean for national policy, the world of sports is not immune from similar meditation. The international nature of professional and collegiate sports has continued to grow during the early portion of this millennium and … Continue Reading

Labor Board Reviews Northwestern Student-Athlete Policies

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in a recent Advice Memorandum (NLRB Case No. 13-CA-157467), has effectively ended the closely-watched enforcement action against Northwestern University on whether certain intercollegiate student-athletes are statutory employees for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB had declined in August 2015 to assert jurisdiction over a representation petition … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Declines To Consider Antitrust Case Against NCAA

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a decision holding that NCAA athletes did not have to be paid beyond the cost of attending college. NCAA v. O’Bannon, Nos. 14-16601, 14-17068 (9th Cir. Sept. 30, 2015), cert. denied, No. 15-1167 (Oct. 3, 2016). A U.S. district court had decided the NCAA’s use of the … Continue Reading

Sports Events Move Out Over North Carolina ‘Bathroom Bill’

First it was the National Basketball Association. Then, the National Collegiate Athletic Association joined in. Now, the Atlantic Coast Conference has followed the other governing bodies in taking punitive action against North Carolina in response to a state law that curbs anti-discrimination protection for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.  The ACC, headquartered … Continue Reading

Moving Your Infractions Case Along and Avoiding the Next One

In the nine years I served on the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions (COI), we processed roughly 120 major infractions cases. Most were handled through in-person hearings, but a few were handled on paper, through the summary disposition process. To the extent university presidents and other institutional staff members felt bold enough to voice … Continue Reading

MLB Looks For A Strike Out In Stadium Safety Case

Major League Baseball has asked a California federal court to dismiss a proposed class action claim that accuses the league of failing to sufficiently protect spectators with safety netting. Brought in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Gail Payne et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball et al., 4:15-cv-03229, … Continue Reading
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