Phillie Phanatic Creators Fire Back with New Filing

Wade Harrison and Bonnie Erickson, credited with designing the Philadelphia Phillies’ mascot, the Phanatic, have filed a reply to a lawsuit alleging that the creators were threatening the baseball club with pulling the team’s rights to use the mascot. The creators have described the lawsuit by the Phillies as a “weapon.” At issue is whether the creators of the Phanatic can use the Copyright Act’s termination right – a rule made to allow authors to regain control over works they created, but signed away. The…
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St. Louis Stadium Authority Tells Supreme Court: Don’t Further Delay Rams Move Suit

The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that there is no reason for the court to halt its lawsuit against the Los Angeles Rams and owner Stan Kroenke. Last week, the Rams and Kroenke asked Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to halt the case while they petition the Supreme Court to intervene. While the St. Louis Authority stated that the Rams and Kroenke may continue to pursue their supreme court petition, they argued that the court…
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$29.5 Million Sports Betting Scheme Unraveled by SEC

On August 30, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court of Nevada against John Thomas, 74, and Thomas Becker, 72. The SEC alleges Thomas and Becker ran a fraudulent $29.5 million sports betting investment scheme. The two men raised the funds from 600 investors across 40 states by “offering investors pooled investment contracts whereby [the investors] obtain the opportunity to share in the purported profits” from Thomas’ and Becker’s “proprietary sports betting system.” Thomas and Becker communicated…
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Scandal, Lawsuit, Settlement: Louisville, Pitino Reach an Accord

The University of Louisville Athletic Association (ULAA) and ex-coach, Rick Pitino, reached a settlement on September 18, 2019, following a two-year legal battle. Previously, we reported that Pitino was terminated following the NCAA’s investigation into alleged inappropriate recruitment practices by the Louisville men’s basketball team. As a result of the investigation, the NCAA forced the University of Louisville to vacate many of its wins, including the school’s 2013 national championship. Following the NCAA’s actions, the university terminated Pitino’s employment in October 2017. In November 2017,…
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NFL Running Backs Could Break from Players’ Union

On August 9, 2019, a group called the International Brotherhood of Professional Running Backs (IBPRB) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking that NFL running backs be severed from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and formed into a new union. According to the IBPRB, NFL running backs “have unique career structures; and the current one-size fits all [approach to players contracts] is inappropriate.” The petition looms over the ongoing talks between the NFLPA and the NFL over a new collective bargaining…
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NHL and NHLPA Instill Hope for Peaceful CBA Talks

On Friday, January 25, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman held a press conference surrounding the NHL All-Star Game and implored his desire for peaceful collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations. Given the multitude of lockouts over negotiations in the past, his comments have instilled cautious optimism throughout the fandom of the league. Pursuant to the current CBA in effect, the league and players alike have the option to prematurely terminate the agreement as of September 15, 2020, regardless of the technical end date of 2022. With these…
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NHL Partners with MGM

On October 29, 2018, the NHL announced a partnership with MGM Resorts International and became the second North American sports league to reach a partnership with the professional sports betting operator. As per the terms, the NHL officially designated MGM Resorts as the official sports betting partner of the NHL. Specifically, the deal allows MGM Resorts to host NHL promotional opportunities and establishes MGM Resorts as an official resorts partner of the NHL. Further, the deal provides MGM Resorts access to the NHL’s proprietary game…
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DOJ Investigating MLB’s Recruitment of Foreign Players

On October 2, 2018, Sports Illustrated published a report stating that the United States Department of Justice “has begun a sweeping probe into possible corruption tied to [MLB’s] recruitment of international players.” The report published numerous emails, documents, videotapes, photographs, confidential legal briefs, receipts, copies of player visas and passport documents, internal club emails, and private communications by franchise executives. Reportedly, MLB teams, like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves, have attempted to circumvent MLB rules and United States immigration law in their…
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Kaepernick’s Grievance against the NFL to Advance

Colin Kaepernick’s case against the NFL will proceed to a full hearing, following an arbitrator’s decision on Thursday, August 30, 2018 to deny the NFL’s motion for summary judgment. The former 49ers quarterback accuses the NFL of colluding to keep him out of the league since he became a free agent in March 2017, arguing that the organization refuses to hire him because of the national anthem protests Kaepernick initiated in 2016. Now, with the case going to a full, trial-like format, some team…
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Cubs Fan Files Copyright Suit against the Team over Souvenir Design

On Friday, August 17th, a retired Michigan advertiser filed suit against the Chicago Cubs, alleging that the Cubs stole his design for 1984 souvenirs and reused the design for 2017 souvenirs without his permission or compensation. Dan Fox was a Chicago advertising executive in 1984, when he contracted with the Cubs to create a souvenir for the team’s divisional championship: a clear acrylic block encasing an ivy leaf from Wrigley Field’s outfield wall. In the original license agreement, the Cubs’ acknowledged Fox as…
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