Cowboys’ Elliott Catches Yet Another Reprieve in Fight Against NFL Suspension

South District of New York Judge Paul Crotty granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Tuesday, October 16, 2017, blocking the NFL’s suspension of Dallas Cowboys’ star Ezekiel Elliott, pending a hearing before the presiding judge, Katherine Polk Failla, who is on vacation. Judge Crotty’s ruling that “irreparable harm” would be caused if Elliott served the suspension comes only five days after the Fifth Circuit had overturned the first injunction, issued by a Texas court, which had frozen Elliott’s suspension. The Fifth Circuit…
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Erin Henderson Tackles the NY Jets with Wrongful Termination Suit

Erin Henderson, former New York Jets linebacker, sued the Jets on Friday, September 29, 2017, alleging the team wrongfully terminated his employment because of his bipolar disorder. He is seeking punitive damages along with $3.3 million in compensatory damages — the amount of his unpaid 2016 salary plus his non-guaranteed 2017 salary. Henderson alleges the Jets placed him on the non-football injury (NFI) list on Oct. 22 without saying why, leading other teams to shy away from signing him, thinking it was related to previous…
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The NFL’s Players’ Association and the NFL Battle in Two Separate Lawsuits About Ezekiel Elliottt’s Six-Game Suspension

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and the National Football League’s Players’ Association (NFLPA) filed suit seeking to vacate the forthcoming ruling of an arbitrator on the appeal of Elliott’s six-game suspension in a domestic violence case. The suit, filed in federal court in Texas, alleges that the NFL’s appeal process is fundamentally unfair because the arbitrator denied a request to have Elliott’s accuser testify at the appeal hearing. Elliott also alleges that NFL executives hid information that was favorable to his case before Commissioner…
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Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliot Six-Game Suspension Upheld

As expected when Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliot and the NFLPA hurriedly filed a temporary restraining order (TRO) on September 5, 2017, arbitrator Harold Henderson has upheld Elliot’s six-game suspension stemming from domestic violence allegations. Elliot and the NFPLA had challenged the arbitration process, alleging it was fundamentally unfair.  Henderson’s decision stated “[i]n a case involving violation of a policy, fair and consistent means whether the process and result were in compliance with the terms of that policy. This one is, in every respect.” The TRO…
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Ezekiel Elliot Throws Red Flag Alleging Unfair Arbitration Hearing

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) filed a lawsuit and a temporary injunction in federal court on August 31, 2017 seeking to vacate an arbitration award before it is announced, after a three-day arbitration hearing with arbitrator Harold Henderson. The suit was filed in the face of anticipation that Henderson will rule in favor of the NFL rather than Elliot and uphold Elliot’s six-game suspension. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had imposed the six-game suspension on August 11 after a…
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Will NFL Players Begin Wearing Tech on Uniforms?

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) stated that its newly unveiled business accelerator has entered into an agreement with Whoop Inc., which will provide players with fitness tracking devices that they can wear. Notably, the deals allows players to retain ownership of the data they collect. As background, OneTeam Collective, a business incubator launched by the players union in December to help emerging sports-related companies grow by leveraging the licensing rights and advice of pro athletes. According to the NFLPA, the deal ensures…
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Professional Sports Unions Blast Illinois Workers’ Compensation Proposal

As discussed previously on the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider last month, Illinois has introduced a Senate Bill to limit the age that an injured Illinois professional athlete can collect workers’ compensation benefits to the age of 35. Since that time, professional sports unions have come out strongly in opposition to the measure, including the National Football League’s Player Association (NFLPA) and the Major League Soccer Player’s Union. The NFLPA, after previously warning that the proposed measure could result in free agents being cautioned against…
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NFL Players Union Argues No Breach of Collective Bargaining Agreement on Player’s 10-Game Drug Suspension

Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle, was hit with a 10-game drug suspension last season for the alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. In response, Johnson filed suit last month against the NFL Players Association, arguing that the Union’s inactions caused his suspension. Specifically, Johnson sued the NFL and the Players Union for allegedly failing to follow the collective bargaining agreement and the collectively bargained NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances in punishing him with a 10-game suspension. After raising jurisdictional issues and determining that…
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Packers’ Defensive Lineman Drops Suit Flagging NFL, NFLPA for ‘Illegal Formation’

A Green Bay Packers defensive lineman has dropped a lawsuit against the NFL and NFL Players Association on Monday, December 19, 2016. Mike Pennel, the third-year nose tackle from CSU-Pueblo, was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Pennel intended to appeal the league’s finding, contained in a November 8 letter, at a hearing set for December 6. Before that hearing took place, however, Pennel filed suit in the Federal Northern District Court of Ohio on November 29. The substance of Pennel’s argument focused not…
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Start ‘Em Up: NFLPA Launches Business Accelerator

On December 6, 2016, the National Football League Players Association launched the OneTeam Collective, a business incubator that will help drive innovative sports-related companies’ growth. This effort was initiated alongside six other founding partners: Harvard Innovation Lab, Intel, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, LeadDog Marketing Group, Madrona Venture Group, and the Sports Innovation Lab. OneTeam will acquire equity stakes in new sports-related startups in exchange for the licensing and content rights of NFL players. Generally, companies like Nike or EA Sports must shell out a…
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