Judge Dismisses Publicity Rights Lawsuit by Former NFL Players

A federal judge in Minnesota nixed a lawsuit brought by three former NFL players Fred Dryer (LA Rams), Elvin Bethea (Houston Oilers), and Ed White (Minnesota Vikings) who claimed that the NFL violated their publicity rights in using video clips of them playing football.  The players had opted out of a $50 million settlement offered in a class action suit over publicity rights of athletes. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson found the NFL Films’ productions that featured game footage of Ram, Oilers, and Vikings were…
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So Far 9 Former NFL Players Say ‘No’ to Settlement Offer

As the deadline to opt out of the proposed concussion settlement, so far nine players or their representatives chose to opt out while more than 4, 000 players have registered to receive any updates on the settlement. Although some former players, including Dave Duerson and Junior Seau, wish to delay the deadline until after November 19 when a fairness hearing is scheduled, the deadline is currently set on October 14.  In a motion filed on October 2 to keep the current schedule, the lead players’…
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FCC Eliminates Its NFL Blackout Rule

Here in Buffalo, football fans are enraged by the words “Blackout Rule.”  That reaction, however, may be a thing of the past.  On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted unanimously to end the rule. The nearly 40 year old rule was enacted by the FCC to promote attendance at local games.  It did so by banning cable and satellite providers from airing local broadcasts of a game that did not meet attendance requirements.  More specifically, a local broadcaster cannot air a game within a…
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NFL Asks Court to Dismiss NFLPA’s 2010 Salary Cap Collusion Claim

The NFL is seeking the court to nix the NFLPA’s claim that teams colluded to cap salaries in 2010 during which salaries were unrestricted because the league opted out of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the players. In a filing submitted on Wednesday, the NFL argued that the NFLPA is not entitled to any relief because the players voluntarily decided to release the collusion claim in a February 2013 CBA.  Additionally, there was a separate release in the 2011 CBA barring the NFLPA’s current…
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Another Hurdle for the Washington Redskins Fight for Trademark Protection

In June, a group of five Native Americans successfully challenged the Washington Redskins’ trademark as disparaging. Now, the five Native Americans asked a federal judge to dismiss the team’s counter-lawsuit to reverse the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) decision. The Native Americans filed a motion in U.S. District Court arguing that the team does not have a legal right to sue the five Native Americans to reverse the USPTO’s ruling. After the USPTO ruled in favor of the Native Americans, the Washington Redskins…
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“Morals Clauses” in Sports Contracts – More Important Now Than Ever Before?

NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson are the latest in a long line of professional athletes whose misdeeds have been exposed to the glare of public scrutiny and discourse on whether they should be terminated or suspended due to their conduct away from the playing field.  Implicit in the dialogue and debate on the proper response of professional sports leagues and teams to the off-field misdeeds of their players is the contractual right to terminate or suspend  players under the so-called “morals clauses” of…
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The Real Cost of Concussion-Related Litigation

The NFL is expected to pay out about $950 million over the next 65 years to resolve a class action brought by retired football players for head-injury claims. It is estimated some 3,600 players, about 17 percent of potential class members, will get paid from the settlement. Over 5,000 football players sued the NFL for head injuries, alleging that the NFL did not inform players of the link between repeated traumatic head impact and long-term brain injuries. In August 2013, the NFL agreed to pay…
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NFL Painkiller Plaintiffs Want in On Concussion Settlement Negotiations

On Tuesday, September 2, 2014, the National Football League filed a response opposing the potential intervention of a class of ex-players (who are suing the league on other grounds) into the concussion-lawsuit settlement proceedings. In a separate action, a class of ex-NFL players lead by Super bowl MVP and Chicago Bear Richard Dent are suing the league for encouraging injured players to abuse painkillers to stay on the field.  This class now seeks intervention in the NFL’s concussion litigation settlement negotiations  for fear of the…
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Ex-NFL Linebacker’s Workers’ Compensation Claim Proceeds On Basis of Two Games Played in California

As an example of the type of claim likely meant to be curtailed by AB 1309 (previously discussed here), the claim of a former Carolina Panthers/Cleveland Browns linebacker continues to process its way through the California workers’ compensation system. In his claim, ex-NFL linebacker Tarek Saleh alleged that he sustained multiple injuries while employed as a football player for the Carolina Panthers between May 1997-February 1999 and for the Cleveland Browns from February 1999-January 2002. When Saleh was traded to the Browns,…
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NY Islanders Sale Put on Ice, Would-Be Buyer Seeks $10 Million in Damages

On Monday, August 11, New York Islanders owner Charles Wang was served with a lawsuit demanding $10 million in damages for allegedly backing out of a deal to sell the team. Philadelphia based hedge-fund manager Andrew Barroway’s company NY ICE claims that on March 10, Wang and Barroway reached a sale agreement, culminating in a handshake.  NY ICE was to receive 100% equity in the Islanders in exchange for $420 million.  The papers filed in New York County Supreme Court state that the negotiations began…
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