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ANI v. NFL (aka The End of Sports As We Know It?)

 
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baldmaga
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:53 am    Post subject: ANI v. NFL (aka The End of Sports As We Know It?) Reply with quote

Lester Munson's ESPN.com Article

The writeup outlines the possible unprecedented ramifications this supreme court case could have on the face of professional and even high level amateur sports.

From the Article:

Quote:
Experts agree that the case known as American Needle vs. NFL could easily be the most significant legal turning point in the history of American sports. If the high court rules in favor of the NFL, the development will be more important to the sports industry than Curt Flood's battle against the reserve clause in the 1970s; than baseball's collusion cases in the mid-'80s; than the NFL players union's epic fight for free agency in a series of antitrust cases that stretched over a decade; and even than the enactment of the Sports Broadcasting Act in 1961, which is the legislation that is the foundation of the NFL's television riches.

"There is nothing of more concern to me," says one veteran union official, asking for anonymity because of the pending case and the significance of the issues. "Our leverage is in the antitrust courts, and a bad decision in this case could tilt the playing field beyond recognition."


This honestly could be posted anywhere, but considering the NFL is the main cog, I went with this forum.
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levski
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this. Extremely interesting.

Talk about a bunch of billionaires and multi-millionaires wanting to stick it to the mere millionaires and the poor schmucks calling themselves fans. Only thing I can say is that if the NFL (and other leagues) win the decision, I hope that the majority of fans (if not all) burn their season ticket renewal notices and focus instead on Arena Football and lacrosse...
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baldmaga
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I'll have to be a club soccer fan. Might as well embrace ESPN picking up the American rights to La Liga. Go Real Madrid! Maybe Kobe and LeBron will play for their Basketball Club with Ricky Rubio one day.
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levski
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incidentally, I won't be surprised if European leagues benefit from a decision for the NFL, when it comes to basketball and hockey. Both of these sports have pretty big leagues in Europe, and Europe, after all, has more than twice the number of people than the USA and Canada... and even though soccer is king there, if basketball and hockey teams can attract star players from the NBA/NHL, those European leagues could flourish...

I suppose baseball and football players would be screwed...
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THE SHADOW
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I quit watching the NFL and NBA both about 10 years ago.

Dont mess with my College Football and Im happy Wink
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baldmaga
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

THE SHADOW wrote:
Dont mess with my College Football and Im happy Wink


I forget if it was in the article or if it my own thought, but College Football would remain unchanged for the forseeable future if this were to go though, considering Utah was using mainly antitrust arguments to establish a playoff.
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Oden
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the worst happens, I'll just stop spending money on sports and watch whatever happens to be on basic cable or less. There's nothing that says I have to spend my $$ on the D-backs, Cardinals and others. I do it because I want to. If the case is presented and the NFL wins, I just won't want to anymore.
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levski
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

THE SHADOW wrote:
I quit watching the NFL and NBA both about 10 years ago.

Dont mess with my College Football and Im happy Wink


Technically, students are not professional players, right? Wink
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levski
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More legal analysis

http://abovethelaw.com/2009/03/sports_and_the_law_supreme_cou_1.php

Quote:
Yet, the Seventh Circuit in American Needle took a decidedly more pro-league view. At the district court level, Judge Moran held that the NFL clubs morphed from a collection of separate businesses into a single entity by jointly licensing their trademarks for many years through a subsidiary, NFL Properties. Then, on appeal, a unanimous court affirmed, stating that the single-entity status of sports leagues "should be addressed not only one league at a time, but also one facet of a league at a time."

In my view, both the district court and the court of appeals got this case wrong for two reasons. First, both courts' opinions imply that because the NFL clubs have collectively licensed their trademarks for a long period of time, the NFL clubs have transitioned into a single entity; yet, there is absolutely no legal doctrine to support the view that multiple entities can transform into a single entities based on their business practices. In addition, both the district court and the court of appeals focus heavily on the efficiencies of joint licensing as part of their reason for finding the NFL to be a single entity. However, under antitrust law efficiencies have traditionally served more as a subject for Rule of Reason analysis than for determining single-entity status.

Nevertheless, even if American Needle has the better legal argument, the NFL clubs seem to have the stronger legal team. If the Supreme Court grants certiorari in this case, the NFL clubs will be represented by the law firm Covington & Burling LLP, which is where former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue continues to serve as Senior of Counsel. The attorneys at Covington & Burling have a very long history of helping to push antitrust law in the NFL's direction. Even in this litigation, Covington & Burling has already convinced two courts to take an iconoclastic position.



Like I said, I imagine a whole bunch of really really really rich folks right now are sitting in their office rubbing their hands together, anticipating the profit windfall that'll come their way if/once the Supreme Court lathers some olive oil on their bald heads... [/Seinfeld reference]
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Last edited by levski on Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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levski
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://sportsjudge.blogspot.com/2009/06/american-needle-v-nfl-case-going-to.html

Quote:
While there are a lot of strong defenses to the NFL's current licensing arrangement (e.g., pro-competitive effects, undue delay in bringing suit, etc.), I have long held the position that the NFL is not--and can never be-- a single entity. This is because the NFL is composed of 32 separate teams, with separate owners each containing disparate economic interests.

Indeed, the NFL teams have tried to defend their concerted conduct under the single-entity defense on eight prior occasions. Thus far, the NFL is 0-for-8 in those cases (sounds like the start to the 2008 Detroit Lions season).

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levski
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And to put some cherry on the cake, the United States government, through the U.S. Solicitor, has tried to fumble this case like Tony Romo on the one yard line in a playoff game...

http://abovethelaw.com/2009/06/sports_and_the_law_elena_kagan.php

Quote:
Back in February, the U.S. Supreme Court asked the acting solicitor general to file an amicus brief in the case American Needle Inc. v. National Football League -- a move that seemed to indicate that the Supreme Court would soon hear oral arguments. Yesterday, however, U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan did her best Jeff Feagles impersonation by filing a 22-page amicus brief (pdf) that ultimately attempted to punt this case off the Supreme Court's docket. The brief, which was co-authored by the Federal Trade Commission, concluded that "[t]he petition for a writ of certiorari should be denied."...

The United States brief ultimately recommends that the Supreme Court not grant certiorari for two reasons. First, while the United States lawyers seem to believe that the NFL is not a single entity, they seem resigned that American Needle would have still ultimately lost the case on other grounds. In addition, the United States amicus brief points out that "the somewhat idiosyncratic nature of the relationship between individual NFL teams and the league as a whole makes this case an unsuitable vehicle for resolving broader questions of the kind the NFL respondents identify."

Unfortunately, by encouraging the Supreme Court to deny certiorari, the United States is ultimately helping activist sports leagues to use the Seventh Circuit's ruling in American Needle to further expand the single-entity exemption in other matters. For instance, the NHL, through their lawyers Skadden Arps, have since argued to the Second Circuit that the American Needle holding exempts all of their league's internal business decisions from antitrust scrutiny. This clearly is not a position ever stated by the Seventh Circuit in American Needle, much less one ever stated by the Supreme Court in Copperweld. It is also not a position that would ever be acceptable from the perspective of a sports consumer.

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Justin
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soooo for those that dont speak legalese....If the NFL wins then all sports will raise their stadium prices and drive down the players contracts?
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levski
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justin wrote:
Soooo for those that dont speak legalese....If the NFL wins then all sports will raise their stadium prices and drive down the players contracts?


Basically.
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levski
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can see all the documents submitted so far to the SCOTUS here

http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=American_Needle_Inc._v._NFL%2C_et_al
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TAP
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

levski wrote:
Justin wrote:
Soooo for those that dont speak legalese....If the NFL wins then all sports will raise their stadium prices and drive down the players contracts?

Basically.

The Attention Deficit Disorder version. Laughing
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levski
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good news for the MLBPA though - they just selected their lawyer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ifgj8WXp8w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z36iEZxxt40

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2EirLJqghA
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TAP
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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

9-0 decision against the NFL

http://www.nflplayers.com/Articles/CBA-News/NFLPA-Welcomes-Supreme-Court-Decision-Against-the-NFL/
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