Sports Law Roundup – 7/7/2017

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I used to write the sports technology roundup at TechGraphs, an internet website that died, and now I am writing the sports law roundup at ALDLAND, an internet website.

After a break for the holiday weekend, here are the top sports-related legal stories:

  • NASCAR tune up: NASCAR driver Mike Wallace and members of his family have sued concert promoter and hospitality entities after the Wallace family says employees of Live Nation’s lawn care contractor brutally attacked them in the VIP parking lot outside a Rascal Flatts concert in Charlotte.
  • Minor League baseball wages: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has rejected claims by players in one of the minor league baseball player lawsuits proceeding as a direct challenge to MLB’s longstanding antitrust exemption. The court explained that it was bound by Supreme Court precedent to uphold the exemption, and that the players’ allegations– centering around an assertion that MLB and its teams colluded to suppress minor league player wages– involve “precisely the type of activity that falls within the antitrust exemption for the business of baseball.” This arguably was not the worst result for minor league baseball players in recent days, however.
  • Umpire discrimination: Angel Hernandez, a longtime MLB umpire who is of Cuban descent, has sued the league on claims arising out of general allegations of racial discrimination against minority umpires in promotions to crew chief status and in World Series assignments, as well as specific allegations of Hernandez’s personal targeting by Joe Torre, who began working as MLB’s umpire supervisor in 2011. On the latter issue, Hernandez claims to trace a negative change in his reviews beginning in 2011 to friction between him and Torre that originated a decade prior, when Torre was the manager of the New York Yankees.
  • Athlete financial adviser: In April, a former financial adviser to former San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan pled guilty to wire fraud in connection with allegations that the adviser tricked Duncan into guaranteeing a $6 million loan to a sportswear company the adviser controlled. Last week, a judge sentenced the adviser to four years in prison and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $7.5 million, the total amount of Duncan’s investment in the adviser’s company.
  • Penn State football coach: Not content to stay out of the legal news, Penn State has sued Bob Shoop, a former Nittany Lion football defensive coordinator now filling the same role for the University of Tennessee, alleging that he breached his employment contract with PSU when he left for the UT gig during the term of the contract. That contract included a provision that, if Shoop left early to take anything other than a head coaching position, he would owe Penn State fifty percent of his base salary. In the lawsuit, PSU is seeking $891,856 in damages. The move to Knoxville is a return to Tennessee and the SEC for Shoop, who was James Franklin’s defensive coordinator  at Vanderbilt from 2011 until he joined Franklin’s dead-of-night departure from Nashville to State College in 2014.
  • Gambling: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal in a case involving the State of New Jersey’s challenge to a 1992 federal ban on expansions to sports betting outside of the states– Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware– where it was legal at the time.
  • Fox Sports 1 executive: Fox Sports has terminated Jamie Horowitz, a top television executive responsible for the “embrace debate” brand of sports programming first at ESPN and now at FS1, because he is the subject of a sexual harassment investigation at the latter network. Horowitz had been the president of Fox Sports’ national networks since May 2015 and was responsible for bringing Skip Bayless, Jason Whitlock, and Colin Cowherd to the FS1 airwaves. Most recently, Horowitz was responsible for substantial layoffs in Fox Sports’ digital group and an elimination of all written content at FoxSports.com.
  • NBA arena security: A former manager of security operations at Philips Arena, the home of the Atlanta Hawks, has sued ATL Hawks LLC, the company that owns the Hawks and the arena, alleging that he lost his job because he complained after white concert performers Axl Rose and Brian Wilson were allowed to bypass metal detectors a week after similar requests from black performers Drake and Future were denied.

Sports court is in recess.

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Bdoyk’s year in review

My favorite time of year is when my go to blogs begin to slowly unveil what they thought was the best of the previous 11-12 months. I tend to nod my head in visible agreement or audibly exclaim a Gob Bluth-esque “C’mon!” as certain selections grace their lists. I anticipate that you, fair readers, will do precisely the same. Thus, without further ado…here goes nothing.

Muzac

1. Bon Iver, Bon Iver

It’s no secret that I adore Bon Iver. I have had their first album and any live material I could get my hands on in frequent rotation for the last 3 years. I’ve even changed the way I say their name multiple times (specifically after being scoffed at when say both Bahn Eye-ver and Bone Ee-vehr, now I just sort of mumble it and tend to swoon over Justin Vernon instead). Anyways, this album was highly anticipated by me and many others, and did not disappoint. In fact, it also produced the best song of the year. And to cap it off, it was the best concert of the year. [note to fans: Bon Iver + Ryman + Acoustic = Unreal]

2. Adele, 21

Similar to Bon Iver, I’ve been waiting for Adele’s sophomore release for a long time. As the days led up to its release, she began her media tour and I fell in love with her all over again. When I lived in New York, I had the chance to see her twice. Both times I was struck that her live performance was better than her first album, a feat I previously thought impossible, and, to top it all off, she was just so damn likeable, chatting with the audience, giggling like an excited school girl. Fortunately/unfortunately she performed a ton in support of this album, so much so she found herself under the knife, and isn’t expecting to make another album for another 2-3 years. In the meantime, I’ll be watching this and definitely not not getting teary eyed.

3. The Head and the Heart, The Head and the Heart

I’m not sure how/when this band popped on my radar, but boy am I glad they did. Their album is simple, but fabulous. Like the previous two on this list, I can listen to it beginning to end, never skipping a song. I’ve probably listened to Down in the Valley close to 2,398,509,259 times since May, and still haven’t gotten sick of it.

4. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Ok, so this is sooo 2010, but I’m going to go ahead and include it. Hopefully ‘Ye will feel better about not getting an Album of the Year nod with this honor. Perhaps even more interesting than the album is the story behind how it came to be. Kanye’s a nut, that’s for sure. He also has a lot of feelings. He also is a pretty brilliant producer and each of these combine for some serious hotness. Throw on the full album next time you’re at the gym and tell me you didn’t do some fist pumping. Also, Nicki Minaj’s verse on Monster is one of the best rap verses maybe ever, and makes me want to get in a fight.

Well I don’t have a 5th so I’m going to throw out my Honorable Mentions and miscellaneous awards here:

Black Keys, El Camino. Haven’t listened quite enough to put it on the list, but I can tell you there are some gems on here. My personal favorite, Mind Eraser, is like a song version of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and I’m super into it. Sister and Lonely Boy are also pretty epic.

Jay Z & Kanye West, Watch the Throne. Seems too easy to have on there. However, it’s really, really good. Some of the lyrics are absurd slash offensive, but the beats are undeniably super hot and may inspire an instant party no matter where you are (don’t ask me how I know this).

Best Cover:  TIE! Both are too good for me not to include them

Take Care (Drake), Florence + the Machine

Dirty Diana (Michael Jackson), The Weeknd

Best Jam: Girl I Want You to Know, Lupe Fiasco

Best Love Song: A Million Years, Alexander

Sports Moments

1. The end of the NFL lockout

Sundays from February to August feel empty enough to me as is; thus, the prospect of not having a season was a little bit much for me to realistically consider. There were some desperate points in there. However, as the end came, just days after the passing of the Pats’ owner’s beloved wife, and Bob Kraft played an instrumental role in the negotiations, it felt doubly sweet.

2. The epic collapse of the Red Sox/Eva(n) Longoria’s extra innings walk-off

I am still  not in a place where I can talk about this. But, boy, was it memorable.

3. Brees surpassing Marino for single season yardage

See? Sometimes procrastinating has its perks. The inclusion of this moment comes less than 24 hours after it happened. Sure, the talking heads will all point to how the game has changed sufficiently, making the comparison of Marino and Brees’ accomplishments laughable. However, Brees seems like a great guy. His post-game speech in the locker room was as genuine as they come. All in all, excellent work for an excellent dude.

Related
Exexpatriate’s year in review
Bpbrady’s year in review
ALDLAND’s year in review