Players’ Unions v. Jock Taxes: An Inside Look at This Waging Legal Battle

Last week, we reported that the NHL Players’ Association, MLB Players’ Association, and NFL Players’ Association sued the city of Pittsburgh for charging a fee on nonresident professional athletes that play within the city. These fees, often referred to as jock taxes, have come under fire over the past few years.

The players’ associations are not challenging the legality of jock taxes in general. It is well established that states and municipalities have the right to tax income earned by athletes in their jurisdiction. …

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One More Time: New Lawsuit Argues NCAA Must Pay Athletes Minimum Wage

Trey Johnson, a former defensive back for Villanova University, has sued the NCAA, arguing that the organization has violated federal labor law and that it must pay student-athletes a minimum wage.

In his lawsuit, Johnson argues that student-athletes clearly constitute employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, he notes that college students in work-study programs are classified as employees, meaning that they are subject to minimum wage laws. Meanwhile, student-athletes, who work longer schedules and create the need for some of these work-study …

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NFL, MLB, and NHL Players’ Associations Sue Pittsburgh Over “Unconstitutional” Athletes Fee

The city of Pittsburgh is being challenged for a fee it is charging  nonresident professional athletes who play for Pittsburgh teams.

The NHL Players’ Association, MLB Players’ Association, and NFL Players’ Association, along with baseball player Jeff Francoeur and hockey players Kyle Palmieri and Scott Wilson, have sued the city of Pittsburgh. The city currently imposes a three percent general revenue income fee on professional athletes who reside out of state. Athletes who live in the city, however, pay only a one percent fee. Pittsburgh …

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Game On: FaZe Clan’s $20 Million Lawsuit Against eSports Gamer Will Continue

A federal judge will allow a $20 million contract lawsuit filed by FaZe Clan Inc. against a popular eSports star to proceed.

In May 2019, Fortnite player and social media celebrity, Turner Tenney, known to fans as “Tfue,” sued FaZe Clan, a popular eSports organization, in California state court. Tenney alleged that FaZe lured him and other gamers into “grossly oppressive, onerous and one-sided” contracts, allowing FaZe to make millions while Tenney earned a mere $60,000. He also filed a complaint with the California Labor …

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U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Ordered to Reveal Sponsorship Income

In March 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) filed suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the USSF violated the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for paying the women’s soccer team players less than the U.S. Men’s National Team.

On October 28, 2019, the USSF filed a motion to compel disclosure. The USSF seeks documents from the …

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MLB Opposes Umpire’s Request to Withdraw Confidentiality Designations in Discrimination Lawsuit

Major League Baseball has asked a federal magistrate judge to reject umpire Angel Hernandez’s request to eliminate confidentiality designations in his racial discrimination lawsuit against the league.

As we reported earlier, MLB umpire Angel Hernandez sued the league in July 2017, alleging that they discriminated against him based on his race. Hernandez has not worked the World Series since 2005 and, despite applying numerous times, was denied a promotion to crew chief. He alleged that these rejections were racially motivated and that chief baseball officer, …

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Jets Player Sues NFL, Alleging ADA Violation Over Helmet Visor

New York Jets safety Rontez Miles filed a lawsuit against the NFL, claiming that a referee violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when he forced Miles to remove a helmet visor. Miles said that the visor was necessary to protect his eyes from sun glare. He had previously collided with another player and was injured when his helmet did not include the visor.

The incident took place on August 19, 2017, during a preseason game against the Detroit Lions. According to his complaint, a …

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New York Introduces Bill Entitling College Athletes to Ticket Sale Proceeds

New York Sen. Kevin S. Parker (D-Brooklyn) recently introduced a bill that would allow college athletes to become eligible to receive compensation.

The bill would allow college athletes to sign endorsements, but was recently amended to allow athletes to also enjoy a 15 percent cut of the income generated from ticket sales. This change comes after reports revealed Parker planned to add language that required schools to share 15 percent of all athletics revenue with athletes.

“At the conclusion of each school year, each college …

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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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A Widow’s Fight Against the NHL Faces Procedural Hurdle

Often, when lawsuits involve sports-related brain and head injuries (CTE), it’s easy to assume that the NFL is involved. However, concussion-related lawsuits are not solely confined to professional football.

In 2018, the NHL was engulfed in concussion litigation. Kelli Ewen, the widow of former NHL player, Todd Ewen, filed a lawsuit against the NHL in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In her complaint, Ewen alleges that the NHL promotes a culture of “violence and concealment of long-term brain injuries associated …

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