Sports Law Outline Martin Edel I. Role of the Commissioner ( 61-69, 86-96, 109n.5, NBA v. NBPA) 1. Parameters of the Commissioner's Authority 1. Charles O. Finley & Co. v. Kuhn (1978) 1. The Commissioner stopped the As from selling the contracts of three of its MVPs court allowed him to do this with the best interests of baseball clause. 1. The commissioner is hired by the owners and has broad sweeping powers 2. The Commissioner can act on any matter that involves the integrity of or public confidence in baseball. Integrity and public perception of baseball are to be determined by the Commissioner. 1. Here the Commissioner has expressed concern for 1. debilitation of the Oakland Club 2. lessening of the league's collective balance 3. the unsettled circumstances of the reserve system. 3. MLB Agreement 1. the functions of the Commissioner shall be...to investigate...any act, transaction or practice... not in the best interests of the national game of baseball and to determine...what preventative, remedial or punitive action is appropriate in the premises, and to take such action... Art I sec 2 (a) & (b) 2. Major League Rule 12(a): no...[assignment of players] shall be recognized as valid unless...approved by the Commissioner. 1. The clubs agreed to be bound by the CBA and Rules. 4. Must not act arbitrarily or capriciously. Decisions must be made in good faith, after investigation, consultation and deliberations in a manner which he determined to be in the best interests of baseball. Whether he was right or wrong is beyond the competence and jurisdiction of the court to decide. 1. Much like Chevron deference in Admin law, the commissioner is given wide deference to make such decisions because he is an expert and is held accountable to the owners. 2. Chicago NL Ball Club, Inc. v. Vincent (1992) 1. Commissioner Vincent wanted to realign the Cubs into the NL West division, the Cubs challenged his authority to do so. 1. 1982: Expansion and Realignment require: 1. 75% vote of all clubs 2. Consent of transferred club 2. March 1992: As one might imagine, the Cubs did not give their consent. 3. July 6 1992 : Commissioner does it anyway and realigns the Cubs 4. Question: Whether the broad best interests of baseball authority in the MLAgreement empowers the Commissioner to abrogate the Cubs right to veto their transfer (pursuant to the NL Constitution). 1. HELD: The power to investigate acts, transactions and practices does NOT encompass restructuring divisions of the NL. 1. There has been no affirmative conduct for the commissioner to investigate punish or remedy under Art I. Even if article I could be read this way Art. VII, expressly limits the commissioner's jurisdiction to resolution of disputes other than those whose resolution is expressly provided for. 1. Such in the NL constitution. (ArtI must be read in light of Art VII) 2. This is beyond the commissioner's power.
3. Commissioner Review of Game Officials (109 n.5) 1. Sometimes the decisions of game officials come into question. 1. Generally the commissioner will defer to the JUDGMENT call of the officiator because he is considered to be an expert, and he was there to witness the actual event, in real time. (wow sounds tons like admin law) 2. Umpires and referees are often considered to be final speakers of the game decisions. (Dont argue balls and strikes!) 3. Umpires are unionized, have conducted strikes and have some bargaining power 4. Though Commissioners have reversed game officials and ordered replays. 1. Depends on 1. Timing and severity of the mistake 1. Think a clock error early in the game may not necessitate replay, whereas a mistake late in the game may prevent that error from being corrected without a replay. 2. This is absurdly rare but, for an example see the George Brett walk off homerun against the Yankees. The homerun was later disallowed because of a pine tar violation. 4. NBA v. NBPA (2005) 1. This is the Ron Artest fight case. NBA Commissioner David Stern issued suspensions to each of the players involved with the fight. The players filed for grievance arbitration, because they contended this was an off the court issue. The NBA commissioner has final say on matters which occur on the court, off the court penalties are entitled to grievance arbitration hearings. The NBA ignored the union's notice. 1. HELD: The suspensions are entitled to an arbiter's review because the incident occurred off the court and in the stands. The arbiter was able to alter the suspensions. II. Discrimination in Sports 1. Discrimination is rampant in sports, but has generally shifted from on the field to off the field. 1. Not really discrimination so much as racial and gender inequity. 2. Several law's exist to curb discrimination in both the workplace and the educational settings 1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX as well 2. the 14th Amendment to the Constitution 1. Civil Rights Act of 1871 (ie section 1983) 2. Remember the State Action requirement 3. Equal Pay Act of 1963 3. Merit, Ol' Boy Networks, and the Black Bottomed Pyramid 1. Essentially, Black participants are concentrated at the bottom 1. Players 2. Whereas most of the top and mid-level non-athletic positions are filled by white people 1. There should be qualified black people for these spots, but they get passed over. 1. Theory: Ole Boys Club, the white guy at the top knows more white guys and hires them. Those guys in turn do the same all the way down. 2. Or Nepotism. 1. Don Shula's son, Don Shula is a coach. However, because his Dad was hired in an era where racism was normal, a black person does not get this same advantage. 3. While 8/10 NBA players and 68% of NBA and NFL players are Black respectively, only
5% of key sport management positions (front office, doctors, lawyers etc) are minorities. 1. Note, only 2.8% of top level managers in Corporations are black. Players who move up to the corporate side 1. George Brett was made VP of Baseball Operations just one year after his retirement from baseball. 2. Black people do not see these types of promotions. Affirmative Action? 1. The NFL requires that at least one black person be interviewed for a vacant Head Coaching position. This at least expands the the exposure that some up and coming african american coaches get. Coach Tomlin is the shiznit. 2. Justice Blackmun DISSENTING in Regents of UC v. Bakke: We must first take account of race in order to get past it. 1. Meh, IMHO. 3. Anti-Discrimination laws however make it so that taking race into account at any time could be a violation of the law. 1. Wygant v. Jackson BoE: J. White: ANY preference based on on race must receive a vigorous examination to ensure constitutional equality 1. JPS: racial classifications are too pernicious to permit any but the most exact connection between justification and classification. 4. Affirmative action can insinuate poor views on minorities that are generally unwarranted. For example, if Mike Tomlin got interviewed because the league forced them to, it may look like he got the job simply because of AA, or that he got the job at the expense of a qualified white. Even though, he deserved the job to begin with. 5. The article concludes that AA is necessary. 1. I think its ridiculous. Honestly, while it is a VERY hard case to make if the hiring practices at any employer are actually discriminatory there is a legal recourse. Otherwise, as race relations improve (as they have, though we are not perfect) we will see a rise in minorities who join the upper echelon of management. Gay People 1. To many, this is the worst thing someone can be in sports. For all of the progress that we have made in the real world, sports still lag behind in tolerance (or dare I say acceptance?) of homosexuals. 2. Locker room atmosphere enhances these homophobic feelings. 3. The hegemonic masculinity involved in the social development of males in sport means that sports have to confirm the masculinity of those in sports, and being (openly) gay flies in the face of that image that many portray as being an athlete. 1. Hegemonic Masculinity 1. he belief in the existence of a culturally normative ideal of male behavior 4. Dave Kopay, came out after 10 years of NFL play, Billy Beane and Glenn Burke were gay baseball players. 1. Roy Simmons was gay. His teammate Butch Woolfolk said he played with 4 gay players, he did not know Simmons was a fifth. 5. The text contends that gay men represent a more serious challenge to the political dominance of male elites than lesbians 1. However, there is a LONG history of abuse of lesbians in collegiate and professional basketball, and all female softball players are presumed lesbians except Jenny Finch. Gender Discrimination
1. Postema v. NL of Professional Baseball Clubs (1992) 1. Postema was a female umpire, who graduated 17 in her class of 130. He umped professionally in the GCL, FSL, AA Texas League, and then in the AAA PCL. 2. Other managers called her a Cunt and one MLB pitcher (Knepper) said if she was an MLB ump she would be an affront to Gd and contrary to the teachings of the bible (because the bible discusses baseball and umpires...) 1. Even when higher ups knew about this, they did nothing about such conduct. 3. 1987: AL Asst President and former head of Umpires: She needs to be better than everyone else to get to the bigs, because she is a girl. 4. 1989: Larry Napp AL Asst Ump Supervisor echoed that sentiment. The defendants never contradicted or corrected Napp, nor did they punish him. 1. She then received a performance evaluation which was poor, even though her peers considered her to be a better than average game caller. This was the first evaluation she ever got. Just months after she was fired. 5. ISSUES: TITLE VII 1. Hiring/ Promotion Claim 1. Postema cannot make this claim because no one was hired, you cannot claim that you were illegally not promote