Category Archives: NFL

Touchdown Jets! Federal Judge Rules New York Football Team Can Use “Ultimate Fan” Phrase

New York Jets LLC recently scored a touchdown when a Louisiana Federal Court ruled that a sports marketing company no longer owned the trademark to “Ultimate Fan.” On May 30th, United States District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana granted the Jets’ motion for summary judgment against Action Ink Inc. holding that the ‘Ultimate Fan’ trademark was abandoned and Action Ink had no enforceable trademark rights to the phrase. Action Ink sued the Jets in 2012 claiming that it…

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NFL Players’ Workers’ Compensation Offset Suit Revisited by Second Circuit

On April 19, 2013, the Second Circuit reopened a claim allowing injured former National Football League (NFL) players from teams including the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and Carolina Panthers to go forward with further litigation against the National Football League Management Council (council) over the size of workers’ compensation offsets that can be claimed by their former teams. The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and the council are parties to a collective bargaining agreement that incorporates a standard player’s contract into its terms…

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Insurance Blunder Costs Newest Philadelphia Eagles’ QB $11.5 Million

Quarterback Matt Barkley was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 98th pick in the 2013 NFL draft.  He was the fourth quarterback selected and was the first selection in the fourth round.  History suggests that he will sign a four-year contract with the Eagles worth about $2.5 million.  Sure, that’s a lot of dough, but not nearly what Barkley would have earned had he foregone his senior season at USC and entered the NFL draft in 2012. As a projected top-10 pick…

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Objectionable Combine Questions Lead the NFL and NY Attorney General to Team Up to Combat Sexual Orientation Based Harassment and Discrimination

On April 24, 2013, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that the AG’s office would be working closely with the NFL to develop news policies to protect players from discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation.  Eventually, the effort will produce posters outlining the NFL’s anti-discrimination policies, which will be distributed and prominently placed in the locker rooms of all 32 teams across the league.  The NFL also plans to implement new training procedures to educate players and individuals involved in recruiting on…

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NFL Star Considering Malpractice Suit

A recent contract negotiation blunder may result in a hefty malpractice claim by a professional football player against his agent.  The former agent for NFL defensive end, Elvis Dumervil, is in hot water over his handling of Dumervil’s contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos.  Due to his agent’s failure to timely transmit an executed contract to the team worth $8 million per year, Dumervil is unemployed and considering a suit. NFL teams must decide whether to release or retain players by a league…

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Athletes Awarded Millions from California’s Workers Compensation System

All states allow athletes to be awarded workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained during their playing days.  However, California has emerged as a favorite jurisdiction for two reasons.  First, California is one of the few states that allow athletes to claim injuries for the cumulative effect of injuries over time, or what some jurisdictions would call either an “occupational disease” or “cumulative injury.”  Second, California has extremely lax personal jurisdiction requirements. Ordinarily, a claimant in a workers’ compensation claim would need to establish residency or…

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NY AG Says NFL Can’t Fish for Information about Player’s Sexual Orientation at Combine

On March 14, 2013, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent a warning letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after rumors emerged that the league was asking players about their sexual preferences when they reported to the scouting combine – employer behavior which is illegal in many jurisdictions.   The questions at issue were directed to three incoming college players who were allegedly asked whether they had girlfriends, whether they were married, or whether or not they “liked girls.” New York prohibits prospective employers from discriminating…

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Washington Redskins Tackle Challenge to Team Name

On February 7, 2013, the NFL’s Washington Redskins were forced to defend the validity of six of the team’s trademarks to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.  Several Native American Petitioners have claimed that the Redskins’ name and logo are disparaging and offensive to Native Americans – making them barred from trademark protection under the Lanham Act.  Jesse A. Witten, counsel for the Native Americans, noted, “We are focused on the word “Redskin’ and no other matter.  ‘Redskin’ is an…

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Choice of Law Provisions Bar NFL Player’s Workers’ Compensation Claims

A group of 15 former National Football League (NFL) players, including former Buffalo Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel, have asked the California Northern District Court to overturn a ruling of an arbitrator who concluded that players could not file for workers’ compensation in California due to choice of law provisions in their contracts.  The defendants include the NFL, the Buffalo Bills, and the New York Giants. Under California law, players who have played at least one or more football games in California (even though they…

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The Fight Over Legalized Sports Betting Begins

In 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, 26 USC 3701, to ban sports gambling outside states where it was already established (Nevada, and to much lesser extents, Delaware, Montana and Oregon) as of the time of the statute. In 2012, the New Jersey State Legislature passed a law allowing for wagering on the outcome of sporting events at racetracks and at Atlantic City casinos, and Governor Chris Christie signed that into law. The four major North American sports leagues, plus the…

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