NFL

Ezekiel Elliot v. The NFL

The National Football League (NFL) has been flooded with off the field controversies this year, including, the ongoing legal battle between the NFL and Dallas Cowboys’ running back, Ezekiel Elliot. On August 11, 2017, the NFL suspended Ezekiel Elliot six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. This resulted from a year-long investigation by the NFL into domestic violence accusations made against him by Tiffany Thompson, an alleged ex-girlfriend. On August 15th, the NFLPA filed an appeal of the suspension. Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL chose to appoint Harold Henderson as the arbiter of the appeal hearing. Henderson upheld the suspension, sparking an ongoing legal battle between Elliot and the NFL. On August 31, Ezekiel Elliot’s legal team filed a lawsuit against the NFL in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Texas. Elliot claims that the NFL willingly overlooked critical information in their investigation that shows Thompson’s claims of domestic violence may not be credible. On September 8, the U.S. District Court of Eastern Texas ruled that “Elliot did not receive a fundamentally fair hearing”, and granted a preliminary injunction on the Henderson appeal hearing. Consequently, Elliot has been able to play; however the NFL has filed [read more]

Taking on the National Football League

On October 15, 2017, several news and media outlets reported that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick would be filing a grievance against the National Football League. Kaepernick, following the requisite procedure, filed his grievance under the National Football League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement alleging collusion amongst the 32 owners of NFL teams. What started out as an individual practicing his right to protest, particularly to shed light on specific social injustices, has escalated rapidly into a national debate centered on players kneeling during the national anthem. As a result of his protest, and in combination with both the immense media coverage and fellow athletes who joined in protest, Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned a year later. In what is undoubtedly a monumental task taking on the NFL, Kaepernick still stands on the verge of making more history if an arbitrator finds the allegations are true. Article XVII(a)(1) of the NFL collective bargaining agreement states that no NFL team or employee “shall enter into any agreement, express or implied, with the NFL or any other club, its employees or agents to restrict or limit individual club decision making as to . . . whether to negotiate or not to negotiate with [read more]

How the Law Sees Kaepernick’s Protest

By Lee Henderson Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner has sparked much conversation about the customs and legal rules expected during the National Anthem. While some take offense to the issues the back-up quarterback is kneeling for, most critics are offended by what they perceive as a disregard for the military members who fought and died for the flag (despite Kaepernick’s denial.) Since the Anthem’s first use in the early 1900’s, standing during it’s playing was a contentious issue. Following Hoover’s declaration that the Star-Spangled Banner be the country’s official national anthem in 1931, a poll revealed that public opinion was split as to proper behavior during the Anthem, half of respondents saying mandated standing was overly authoritarian. Congress weighed in on the issue when it passed 36 U.S.C. § 301, also known as the National Anthem Statute, which said that people should “face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart.” Although this still stands as law, no criminal penalties were ever prescribed in case of violation of the provisions. The Supreme Court also took its turn commenting on the status of these customs as they [read more]

NFL & Concussions: Should the League Be Liable?

By: Alyssa Jones Football is ingrained in American culture. This has been evidenced by the fact that professional football has been voted as America’s favorite sport for thirty years straight. Furthermore, the recent Super Bowl 50 garnered 111.9 million television viewers. And the National Football League (“NFL”) grosses over seven billion dollars annually. Yet, despite our country’s attraction to the game, there are some serious dangers that lurk in the background. Football is a physical sport and with this physicality comes many associated health risks. Besides the long-recognized risk of broken bones and torn ligaments, recently, the risk of long-term cognitive problems have become a salient issue. A few months ago, the movie Concussions was released, starring Will Smith, which further shed light on this matter.   The NFL has even admitted that “it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at ‘notably younger ages’ than in the general population.” For example, the NFL’s report found that “[f]ormer players between 50 and 59 years old develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at rates 14 to 23 times higher than the general population of the same age range.” Furthermore, the [read more]