Snyder’s Last Stand

The Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Indians, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Kansas City Chiefs play different sports in different cities, but collectively, they share many things. Each team is beloved in their respective city by fans, young and old. Each team has a rich history and tradition. And each team is the proud owner of a trademark that could be construed as disparaging toward Native Americans, playing on stereotypical notions or imagery to sell merchandise to the public at large. A lot has been said…
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Northwestern Football Players Encouraged to Just Say No to Union

Last month the Chicago office of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued a ruling stating that athletes at private universities are employees of their respective schools and have the right to unionize.  Now, with Northwestern’s players scheduled to vote on unionization on April 25, Pat Fitzgerald, the school’s football coach, is urging his players to vote against the measure. The players leading the unionization effort are hoping to secure things such as better medical coverage, four-year scholarships, and even the possibility of being paid. …
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Updated: The Wells Report Could Mean Big Changes in NFL Workplace Policies; Two Fins Coaches Fired

On February 14th, attorney Ted Wells of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP issued a 144-page report (commonly referred to as the Wells report) to the National Football League concerning the alleged harassment of Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. On October 28, 2013, Martin abruptly walked off the team after a lunch room joke, which he says was the final straw after enduring nearly a year of harassment from his teammates. Martin checked himself into a hospital for mental health help. Amidst bullying…
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Bengals Cheerleaders File Class Action Against Team Over Compensation

On February 11, 2014, Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Alexa Brenneman filed a class-action lawsuit against the team, accusing the organization of failing to pay their cheerleaders minimum wage.  Brenneman’s suit claims that she was paid only $855 for her work during the 2013 football season, yet worked over 300 hours – meaning that she was making roughly $2.85 per hour.  The minimum wage in Ohio is $7.85 per hour. The Oakland Raiders were recently hit with a similar suit; Raiders’ cheerleaders filed an action in January…
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Junior Seau’s Family Displeased with Proposed Settlement in NFL Concussion Case

Fighting recently broke out amongst plaintiff’s attorneys attempting to settle the massive multi-district concussion litigation against the NFL after the presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, nixed a $760 million dollar settlement deal proposal.  Judge Brody’s concerns were that the lump sum would be inadequate to fund what could potentially involve 20,000 claims by a variety of NFL alumni over a period of 65 years.  Now, the family of the deceased NFL star Junior Seau is voicing their own objections to the proposed deal.…
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They Just Wanted to do the ‘Super Bowl Shuffle,’ but now Former Bears are Heading to Court, Looking for Trouble…

On January 31, six members of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears filed a lawsuit to prevent current license holders Julia Meyer and the Renaissance Marketing Corporation from using the “Super Bowl Shuffle” music video for personal financial gain.  The video, which was created by the team three months prior to the Bears’ victory in Super Bowl XX, was an instant success, earning a gold record, a platinum video award, and even a Grammy nomination. The ex-Chicago bears who brought the suit –Richard Dent,…
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Former Lions Running Back Latest to Sue NFL Over Concussions

Jahvid Best was a first-round draft pick for the Detroit Lions in 2010.  Only three years later, the team released Best due to health complications the running back suffered as a result of incurring multiple concussions on the playing field.  Best is now the latest NFL alum to join a long list of others in suing the league for intentionally downplaying the long-term risks of concussions and their role in later-life cognitive decline. Best’s suit names the NFL, as well as helmet-manufacturers Riddell and Easton-Bell…
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Delay of Game: Slow Progress on Settlement in NFL Concussion Litigation

By late last year the giant NFL concussion lawsuit – a case where several thousand former NFL players are suing the league for intentionally downplaying the risks of concussions and related head injuries – looked to be drawing to an early end.  Now, one week after U.S. District Judge Anita Brody rejected a motion for preliminary approval of a proposed $765 million settlement to end the ongoing multi-district concussion litigation against the NFL, renewed settlement talks amongst attorneys for the 4,500+ NFL alumni are becoming…
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Judge Nixes Jury Verdict in EA Sports ‘Madden’ Infringement Case

On January 22, 2014, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer overturned a multi-million dollar jury award against EA sports in a copyright infringement case.  The underlying action was originally brought against the video game giant by Robin Antonick, a programmer who was initially given credit and royalties for creating the first edition of ‘Madden Football’ in 1988.  Antonick alleged that subsequent versions of the game were created using his own source code, violating copyright infringement laws and entitling him to compensation.  A federal jury agreed with…
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Family of Deceased High School Football Player Files Suit Against School

Late last fall, sixteen year old Damon W. James staggered to the sidelines and collapsed during a Westfield/Brocton high school football game.  Three days later, Damon died at Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, New York.  It was initially reported that Damon suffered from a traumatic head injury caused by a helmet-to-helmet collision.  However, it is now believed that several football-related head injuries incurred earlier in the season made Damon particularly susceptible to the fatal blow. Damon’s mother and father have filed a notice of…
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