Arbitrator Denies Eric Reid’s Grievance Against Bengals

On October 23, 2018, it was announced that an arbitrator denied the National Football League Players Association’s (NFLPA) grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals. As we have previously reported, on July 11, 2018, the NFLPA filed a grievance against the NFL over its national anthem policy. The policy, announced in May 2018, instructed players to either stand during the anthem or to not come out of the locker room until the anthem is over. In response, the NFLPA filed several non-injury grievances “on behalf…
Continue reading...

Heisman Trophy Trust Sues HeismanWatch.com

On Wednesday, October 3rd 2018, the Heisman Trophy Trust, the organization behind the famed Heisman Trophy, filed a trademark claim against HeismanWatch.com, a website that tracks the competition for the award. The trust submitted their compliant to New York federal court, positing that the website has used the Heisman trademarks without their consent or permission to capitalize on its fame.  The website HeismanWatch.com has been managed by owners Chase Leavitt, Joseph Middleton, and Kimball Dean since 2014, and has podcasts and social media…
Continue reading...

Shocking Testimony Heard at NCAA Corruption/Bribery Trial

On October 3, 2018, weeks before the start of the college basketball season, shocking testimony was heard in the NCAA Corruption/Bribery Trial. As we have previously reported, on February 21, 2018, Yahoo Sports reported that financial records, documents, and wiretaps tied to prominent former NBA agent, Andy Miller, and his former associate, Christian Dawkins, provided the prosecution with a detailed window into the ongoing NCAA Corruption and Bribery scandal. The scandal, now case, involves Adidas executive Jim Gatto, Adidas contractor Merl Code, and sports…
Continue reading...

NFL Sued by Former Athletes over Pro Bowl Promotionals

World Sports Alumni Inc. (WSA), a sports marketing firm, is suing the NFL and a chapter of the National Football League Alumni Association (NFLAA) over the use of former athletes’ names and pictures in promotional advertisements without their permission. WSA alleges that the NFL and NFLAA depicted retired NBA player Nick Anderson, retired NFL player Brandon Meriweather, and retired heavyweight boxing champion Riddick Bowe to promote the Pro Bowl events without the former athletes’ knowledge or consent. The complaint states that, in December 2017, NFLAA…
Continue reading...

In Pursuit of Class Certification against EA, Retired NFL Players Cite Bette Midler

The retired NFL players suing Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) are citing an unexpected figure in their continued efforts to gain class certification: singer Bette Midler. The athletes’ action against EA began in 2010, over the company using their likeness in the video games, arguing that, while EA pays the NFL players union when featuring the names and likeness of current players, EA failed to compensate retired players in the same fashion. A federal judge recently ruled against the athletes, refusing to certify their case as…
Continue reading...

University of Arkansas Files Suit Against Counterfeit Retailers

On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, the University of Arkansas’ Board of Trustees filed a suit seeking to stop a “massive network” of counterfeit websites selling fake or unregistered Razorback merchandise. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court, in the Northern District of Illinois. Defendants are not named, but are described as retailers “residing in China” or “other foreign jurisdictions”, operating “without any authorizations or licenses”. These phony retailers are extremely successful, as the complaint alleges that they receive tens of millions of visits per…
Continue reading...

USGA Reaches Agreement with Shinnecock Indian Nation Ahead of U.S. Open

The United States Golf Association (USGA) will host the 2018 United States Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York on June 14-17. This will be the fifth time the national championship is held at Shinnecock, and the first time since 2004. The second ever U.S. Open was played at Shinnecock in 1896, which marked the start of a long standing relationship between the USGA and the Shinnecock Indian Nation. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club was constructed on land once owned by the Shinnecock…
Continue reading...

SCOTUS Declines Opportunity to Reconsider MLB Antitrust Exemption

Major League Baseball’s immunity from antitrust violations under the Sherman Act has been called an “anomaly.” It has also been consistently upheld by courts since 1922, when it was unanimously affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States. The exemption was codified by Congress in the Curt Flood Act of 1998, maintaining an exemption for MLB and its clubs when conducting the “business of baseball” and providing more freedom to players seeking free agency and salary arbitration. Despite striking out with lower courts, two…
Continue reading...

Are EA’s Visual Representations in Madden Generic Enough to Avoid Liability in Publicity Claim?

In 2010 Michael Davis and other former NFL players filed suit in California, alleging that video game maker Electronic Arts (EA) violated their rights of publicity when it used famous teams from the past in Madden games from 2001 until 2009. In their complaint, the retired players argued that while EA obtained permission from current players to use their names and likeness, the company failed to do so with the retired players. While the former players did not allege that their names actually appeared in…
Continue reading...

Minnesota Judge Orders Awarded Damages in NFL Publicity Case to Remain in Escrow

On April 12, 2016, a Minnesota federal judge ordered $150,000 in payments awarded be kept in escrow in response to a request made by NFL players’ attorneys that the fees awarded to certain law firms be withheld, due to a “loan squabble.” In 2010, professional football player John Frederick Dryer filed a putative class action against the National Football League.  His main argument claimed that NFL films violated professional football players’ publicity rights and rights under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125.  Out…
Continue reading...