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Tuesday, January 05, 2010
 
Bloomberg Legal Expert and Supreme Court Reporter Greg Stohr on American Needle v. NFL

Greg Stohr of Bloomberg has a thoughtful commentary on American Needle v. NFL. He interviews several people, including me, for it. Here are some excerpts:

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A broad ruling could insulate professional sports leagues from antitrust claims over video-game licenses, television rights, franchise relocation and even player salaries. Only Major League Baseball is exempt from antitrust laws now.

The NFL dispute “could become the most important sports law case in U.S. history,” said Michael McCann, a professor at Vermont Law School in South Royalton and the author of a law review article on the case.

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The NFL took the unusual step of joining American Needle in requesting Supreme Court review. The league is seeking a broader legal shield, one that might even preclude antitrust accusations that teams conspired to hold down player salaries. The league’s current labor agreement expires after next season.

That possibility prompted the players’ unions for the NFL and three other leagues to urge the Supreme Court to rule for American Needle, or at least limit use of the “single entity” defense. The unions’ lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler, called the NFL’s arguments a “Trojan horse” aimed at securing a sweeping antitrust exemption.

“It’s hoping for an even broader ruling that would give it immunity in player markets, in broadcast markets and in stadium markets, far beyond the ruling of the 7th Circuit,” Kessler said.

That wouldn’t be so bad, said Gary Roberts, dean of the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis and co-author of a sports law casebook. He said that the NFL is essentially “one business” and that players shouldn’t have more legal rights than the unionized workforce of any other employer.

“Why should the highest paid unionized workers have more weapons at their disposal than the guys working in auto factories or coal mines?” Roberts said.

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To read the rest of the piece, click here. To read other Sports Law Blog coverage on American Needle, click here.

Stohr, incidentally, is an attorney and author of a terrific and even-handed book on affirmative action--specifically the litigation concerning the University of Michigan's policies--titled A Black and White Case: How Affirmative Action Survived Its Greatest Legal Challenge (a preview of which can be read on Google Books). If you're interested in that topic, I'd strongly recommend picking up Stohr's book.






2 Comments:

You should probably mention that Roberts has spoken out on the issue before and is a pretty well known union buster.

Blogger Wheell -- 1/06/2010 1:35 AM  


good

Anonymous rose -- 1/09/2010 1:47 PM  


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