Legal Blitz Co-Founder Featured In Philadelphia Newspaper

We’re going to have to widen the door frames of his office soon because Steve Silver’s head might get too big with all the attention he’s been receiving lately. First the Legal Blitz co-founder was a celebrity in Jamaica, then he was on ESPN radio, and just last week he had a top story on Deadspin that garnered more than 65,000 reads.

Now, he is the subject of an excellent feature in the most recent edition of The Jewish Exponent — the second oldest Jewish newspaper in the country. Author Jon Marks compared him to Superman, but he’s just our fearless leader defending against torts by day and blogging about sports law by night.

In all seriousness, it was a wonderful honor and it goes to show what hard work can do. Steve and Co-Founder Ben McKenna launched this site back in 2011 never imagining it would open so many doors and attract so much attention. Once you see your dream, go get it.

In addition to the content posted on this site from lawyers and professors around the nation, you can check out all of Steve’s work for Above the Law Redline and Deadspin on his Kinja site here. None of this is possible without our readers. So thank you for being loyal.

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An Examination of the Language Governing Athlete Agents

By Amanda Siegrist, Esq. and Nicholas Blosio. Siegrist is an assistant professor of recreation and sport management at Coastal Carolina University. Blosio is a recent graduate of CCU where he studied Recreation and Sport Management. He plans to attend law school to continue his education with a focus in contracts and sport law.

High school baseball star pitcher Andy Oliver was beginning to see his dreams come true when he caught the attention of major league scouts in 2006.  Professional teams were approaching him to discuss the possibility of signing out of high school and skipping the college process altogether. 

Due to the magnitude of the situation, Oliver and his father sought the expert advice of a local attorney and agent, Tim Baratta. Baratta was present in an advisory role at a meeting between the Minnesota Twins and Oliver. Ultimately, Oliver decided not to accept the $390,000 signing bonus from the Minnesota Twins and instead decided to stick with his original plan of pitching for Oklahoma State University (OSU) on a full scholarship.

In an allegedly retaliatory fashion, Baratta sent invoices to Oliver for his services, as well as informed OSU and the NCAA of the meeting with the Twins.  Subsequently, Oliver’s amateur status was investigated and called into question by the NCAA in 2008. The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between NCAA bylaws and the Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA), particularly in relation to the Oliver v. NCAA case, and to suggest changes that will better protect amateur athletes.

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New California Law Classifies Cheerleaders as Employees

By Miriam Straus, Esq. Attorney Straus is an associate at Kalogredis, Sansweet, Dearden and Burke, Ltd. in Wayne, Pennsylvania where she focuses on litigation and healthcare issues. She was also a gymnast at Brown University before attending the George Washington University Law School.

California is often a hotbed of progressive policies and unique legal conflicts in the highly active 9th Circuit. California sports are no different as cheerleaders recently scored a major labor law victory.

Last month, California passed a law that requires the state’s professional sports teams to classify their cheerleaders as employees for purposes of state labor laws. The legislation (AB-202) was signed into law on July 15, 2015, following several high-profile lawsuits by NFL cheerleaders.

In March 2015, a California court granted final approval of the $1.25 million settlement of a class action lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders brought by two Raiderettes. The plaintiffs alleged various state law violations, including failure to pay cheerleaders for hours worked, failure to pay overtime, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, and unlawful deductions from their pay. Similar lawsuits have been filed against the Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets, the Cincinnati Bengals, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In addition, a second lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL was filed in January 2015.

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The Legal Blitz Joins ESPN Radio To Discuss The Consequences of Tom Brady Destroying His Cell Phone

As Legal Blitz Co-Founder Steve Silver wrote yesterday on Above the Law Redline and Deadspin, since Roger Goodell broke the Internet on Tuesday by upholding Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for deflating footballs, every NFL fan and critic has suddenly turned into a lawyer. Yet, lost amidst the speculation and prognostication about appeals, lawsuits, injunctions, and venues is the bombshell contained in Roger Goodell’s decision that Brady destroyed the cellphone he used before, during and after the critical AFC title game against the Colts last year.

Silver joined ESPN 940 in Fresno Tuesday to discuss what the destruction of Brady’s cellphone means and Brady’s likelihood of success as this debacle moves to the federal judicial system. You can listen to Silver’s full interview here.

You can also weigh in after the jump about whether you think the league or Brady will ultimately prevail.

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High School Concussion Lawsuits Could Alter Game Forever

By Doug Fuglsang. Mr. Fuglsang is a licensed attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin with a Sports Law Certificate from the National Sports Law Institute. He can be reached at doug.fuglsang@gmail.com.

Two-a-days are right around the corner for one million high-school football players. Although participation in football steadily declined the previous five years, last year managed to buck the trend with a slight increase of about 6,600 participants and those still playing will still rule their schools each Friday in the Fall.

Yet while there is no doubt the NFL is King, there could be trouble on the horizon for America’s new favorite pastime. Mimicking the recent lawsuits against the NCAA, Pop Warner, and NFL, the Illinois High School Athletic Association (“IHSA”) is facing a lawsuit over its concussion management program; marking the first time a state athletic association has faced a class-action lawsuit.

Some speculate that lawsuits over the handling of concussions will bring about the demise of football in this country. This theory is misguided for several reasons discussed below, but that hasn’t stopped the IHSA from running the anti-lawyer playbook. Publicly, the IHSA lobbied for public opinion calling the lawsuit “a misguided effort that threatens high school football.” They place heavy emphasis on the increased costs associated with implementing safety precautions and dealing with lawsuits; as is always the case when safety and increased costs are in direct conflict with each other. It’s the typical rhetoric one would expect to sway people that don’t understand how the legal system works.

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Legal Blitz Co-Founder Earns Top Attorney Honors

It is with great pleasure and unabashed bragging that we congratulate Legal Blitz Co-Founder Steve Silver on being named to Billy Penn’s “Who’s Next in the Law” list. The media outlet recognized 18 Philadelphia lawyers under the age of 40 who are “making a difference in Philly’s legal community.”

Billy Penn called the honorees “movers and shakers in the law, and the people who were nominated as the next generation of legal professionals in this city.”

As to our own fearless leader, Billy Penn wrote, “A former reporter for the Las Vegas Sun, Steve is now a litigation associate at McBreen & Kopko where, in addition to premises liability cases, he also practices sports and gaming law and run a sports law blog called The Legal Blitz. His writing on sports and gaming law has been featured by the Huffington Post, Deadspin, Above the Law, the Philadelphia Business Journal, the Legal Intelligencer and the World Sports Law Report. This past year, he was successful in overturning a decision by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association barring a world-renowned Jamaican track star from competing in the Penn Relays, and he testified in front of the South Carolina Senate Higher Education Subcommittee in support of a bill to create post-graduate trust funds for NCAA student-athletes.”

Mazel Tov to Steve and remember that you can follow him on Twitter at @TheLegalBlitz and check out his work for Above The Law Redline and Deadspin on his Kinja site.

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NFL concussion litigation moves closer to a resolution

For several years, a group of about 5,000 former NFL players have battled the league in a class action lawsuit over concussion-related injuries (In re: National Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation MDL No. 2323). The plaintiffs sued the NFL in the Federal Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia claiming that it actively hid the medical risks associated with repeated concussions and was not providing healthcare coverage rightfully owed to former players diagnosed with severe neurological disabilities as a result of playing the game.

Yet rather than proceed to the Super Bowl of football litigation, the parties reached an agreement that the Hon. Anita B. Brody approved on 22 April 2015, which has since been appealed to the Third Circuit. As a guest columnist for the World Sports Law Report, Steve explained the background to the settlement, the disagreement that has seen some members opt out of the settlement, and considers whether this settlement could serve as a framework for future concussion litigation settlements at an international level. Check it out here: World Sports Law Report Volume 13, Issue 5.

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Career Spotlight: Former College Athlete Turned Sports Agent and Professor Shares Industry Insights

The sports agent business is not for the faint of heart. As Prof. Siegrist explains, it is an "eat what you kill industry."

Finding a law school graduate who likes his or her job is a rarity these days. However, former Wingate University volleyball player Amanda Siegrist, has found two jobs that she loves thanks to a career path that began after an internship with a professor’s sports agency.

During the academic year, Siegrist is an assistant professor of recreation and sport management at Coastal Carolina University. Siegrist, who earned her J.D. at the Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law, has focused her research on the scope of the NCAA’s authority, particularly in criminal matters and the Uniform Athlete Agent’s Act. The rest of the year, she is an agent and event manager for KMG Sports — an Ohio agency that has represented more than 500 athletes and coaches.

With a career focused on sports, law, and management, The Legal Blitz had to pick the brain of one of the coolest and hardest working attorneys in the sports law world to learn more about her job path and her take on today’s top sports law issues. Check out her full Q&A after the jump.

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The Legal Blitz Talks Sports Law On Sports Kings Live

Warning, this an outright bragging self promotion.

Go listen to Co-Founder Steve Silver’s appearance on the Sports Kings Live podcast. He joined Big Mike and Rob Calloway to drop some knowledge about sports law. In particular, he discussed Georgia’s controversial new “Todd Gurley Law,” general NCAA hypocrisy, as well as Deflate-gate and our hatred for the use of “gate” after everything these days.

You can listen in right here. If you have any questions, please post below.

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Path To In-House Position Paved With Hard Work and Some Luck

We were all law students once. So no matter how far removed I get from the days of Bluebooks and IRAC essays, exam nightmares will always haunt me.

That’s why I figured it might be a welcome distraction for everyone cramming for finals right now to hear from someone who was once there too and is now working in a dream job. It might seem impossible now, but that hard work can and will pay off.

Meet Brian Rothenberg. Rothenberg earned a B.S. in Marketing from Rutgers College prior to obtaining a JD from Emory Law School. After several years cutting his teeth at a large firm in Philadelphia, Rothenberg decided to make the move to go in-house. But he didn’t just take any in-house position; Rothenberg went big.

He is now the Vice President and Senior Deputy General Counsel of Comcast-Spectacor, the sports and entertainment firm that owns the Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Center. Comcast-Spectacor also owns various sports and entertainment entities including Global Spectrum, Ovations Food Services, ticketing company Paciolan, and Front Row Marketing Services. Rothenberg has provided legal support and oversight for all of these entities for the past 13 years. So he knows a thing or two about how to land a great job and provide excellent legal services to clients, no matter how large or small.

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