Friday Sports Briefs

NFL Antitrust Case Heard by Supreme Court

I have the pleasure of teaching Sports Law at Quinnipiac University School of Law this semester.  One of the early themes has been how sports law, despite being based on traditional legal theories, is often treated differently by courts and by the law in general. 

Will this hold true in the NFL antitrust case American Needle v. NFLAndrew Brandt of the National Football Post has some excellent analysis on the NFL’s legal strategy in American Needle v. NFL.  Brandt’s take on the interest of the Supreme Court justices in the case, and the NFL at large, may be significant:

From reports on the hearing, the justices did not seem overly knowledgeable or fawning over the most successful sports league in the country. This, in itself, is noteworthy, as history has shown judges to be fans as well. In the seminal case of Flood v. Kuhn, in which Curt Flood challenged the baseball antitrust exemption, Justice Harry Blackmun, in ruling for the majority, waxed poetic about the romance of baseball, invoking the names of dozens of famous players and reciting phrases from “Casey at the Bat” and “Tinker to Evers to Chance.” In reading the opinion in that case, once those musings appear in the first couple pages, it became clear that Blackmon was going to decide for Major League Baseball

Perhaps in American Needle the influence of sports will not be as pronounced as in other cases.

Walter Camp All-Americans in New Haven

The annual Walter Camp Football Foundation All-American weekend is underway, beginning with a pep rally yesterday. 

Once a year, the foundation aims to make New Haven “the college football capital of the world,” said President Alphonse Paolillo Jr., who is a city alderman. The event draws college and professional football players and is named for Walter Camp, a Connecticut native and Yale University graduate, dubbed “the father of American football.”

The All-American team is headlined by Colt McCoy, who will be in town.  John Elway, who will be awarded the Distinguished American Award, will also be in New Haven.  For more on the Walter Camp Football Foundation, visit http://www.waltercamp.org/.

Gilbert Arenas Charged with Felony

Michael McCann of si.com and the Sports Law Blog has a great piece on Arenas, and the recent felony gun charges brought against him.  In addition to covering the potential plea deal, McCann whether the Wizards have grounds to terminate Agent Zero’s contract:

The Wizards could attempt to terminate Arenas’s $111 million contract under Clause 16 of the NBA’s Uniform Player Contract. Clause 16 empowers NBA teams to terminate a deal if a player “at any time, fails, refuses, or neglects to conform his personal conduct to standards of good citizenship, good moral character (defined here to mean not engaging in acts of moral turpitude, whether or not such acts would constitute a crime), and good sportsmanship …”
McCann cites the Boston Celtics’ dealings with Vin Baker in 2004, as a recent example of an NBA team attempting to void a player’s contract.

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