Thursday, July 28, 2011 - Great Free Agent Tracker has a great free agent tracker. It's located here -

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NFLPA Reminds Players NFL Has Soft Cap

As per Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal, today, the players trade association (aka NFLPA) issued a memo to NFL player agents advising them that the NFL has a soft cap this year. The salary cap $120.375 million, but clubs can exceed it under the terms of the Brady settlement agreement.

There is a $3 million salary cap exemption available per club at their discretion, which if used fully by a club would raise the cap another $3 million. The memo states as follows: "the way this works is that a club may exempt from the salary cap the salaries (up to $1.0 million per player) of three players on the team who have more than five Accrued Seasons in the NFL. If a club chooses to exempt these salaries they will therefore have $3.0 million in additional cap room to sign other players".

So it's a soft cap - but not too soft.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Radio Clip: Talk 980 - Moral Clauses & The NFL

Here's a link to my radio segment with Drew Remenda and Gary Nickle from Talk 980. This for me was a thought provoking clip and highly enjoyable. With Mendenhall as the backdrop, we talked about what's considered immoral when it comes to moral clauses.

We also talked recertification, where I ended saying that the Union recertifying is kinda like Superman flying around the Earth to reverse its rotation to turn back time.

Mendenhall, Moral Clauses & His Talent Agreement

by Eric Macramalla and Graydon Ebert
“What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side… I believe in God. I believe we’re ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge. Those who judge others, will also be judged themselves. For those of you who said we want to see Bin Laden burn in hell and piss on his ashes, I ask how would God feel about your heart? There is not an ignorant bone in my body. I just encourage you to #think.”
          - Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall’s Tweet following the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.

“If Mendenhall commits or is arrested for any crime or becomes involved in any situation or occurrence…tending to bring Mendenhall into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule, or tending to shock, insult or offend the majority of the consuming public or any protected class or group thereof, then we shall have the right to immediately terminate this Agreement.”
          - The moral clause in Mendenhall’s Talent Agreement with Hanesbrands.

While we respect Mr. Mendenhall’s right to express sincere thoughts regarding potentially controversial topics, we no longer believe that Mr. Mendenhall can appropriately represent Champion and we have notified Mr. Mendenhall that we are ending our business relationship. Champion has appreciated its association with Mr. Mendenhall during his early professional football career and found him to be a dedicated and conscientious young athlete. We sincerely wish him all the best.
         - Hanesbrands press release announcing termination of Mendenhall.


Mendenhall is fighting back after the Champion sports apparel company dropped him from his endorsement deal after comments he made on Twitter questioning the public celebration of Osama bin Laden’s death. Last week, he sued seeking roughly $1 million in damages from Champion’s corporate parent company Hanesbrands Inc. alleging that its decision to end his deal violated his First Amendment right to free speech.

Problem for Mendenhall is that this lawsuit is unlikely to succeed. Maybe even worse is that other sponsors might never touch Mendenhall again for fear of being sued if they terminate his contract.

Brand Owners & Endorsements: Looking To Make A Match in Heaven

Companies get athletes as sponsors because they want to associate their brands with a positive image. That can help with brand identity and brand elevation. When it goes well, it’s a win-win scenario. As part of endorsement deals, though, athletes can effectively give away their ability to speak freely.

If the athlete’s public image is sullied by his or her conduct, the value of the sponsorship is significantly diminished and the brand owner may want out.

That’s where moral clauses kick in.

History of Moral Clauses

Endorsement deals with athletes contain morals clauses which are drafted to allow companies to terminate the contract if the athlete’s off-field behaviour is undesirable. These moral clauses are usually pretty broad to give a company the option of cutting an athlete if they engage in questionable behaviour. Don’t forget – brand owners are generally risk adverse and they don’t want to associate themselves with a negative image.

Morals are shaped by the beliefs of a society, and so by implication, interpreting what’s moral can be a subjective exercise, at times elusive and constantly in flux.

The history behind moral clauses reveal their vagueness and how they are tied to the beliefs of a society. In the 1920s, the clauses became notorious during the McCarthyist era when they were used to terminate contracts of many writers, directors and producers who were accused of having communist leanings.

More recently, morals clauses have been used to terminate sponsor deals with Tiger Woods (adultery), as well as Michael Vick (dog fighting), Kobe Bryant (sexual assault) and Randy Moss (photographed with cocaine).

Mendenhall & His Moral Clause

Mendenhall’s contract contains provisions barring him from engaging in actions that would bring him “into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule, or tending to shock, insult, or offend the majority of the consuming public”.

From a legal standpoint, this is a broad clause, particularly the restriction from engaging in behaviour that would “offend”.

The clause is likely to cover Mendenhall’s Twitter comments, which prompted significant outrage in the public, and caused Steelers president Art Rooney to distance the organization from Mendenhall’s comments.

Any argument that Champion’s decision to terminate the endorsement deal is somehow a violation of his constitutional right to free speech is off base as constitutional rights are not applicable to the private relationship between Mendenhall and Champion.

Ultimately Mendenhall’s lawsuit does not have much chance of succeeding, and all athletes with endorsement deals need to think twice before making potentially controversial remarks on Twitter, Facebook or through other social media.

Maybe worse I’m not sure other sponsors will go near Mendenhall. The last thing they want is to get sued if Mendenhall is behaving badly.

Radio Clip Team 1200: We Talk the NFL Deal

Click here to listen to my segment with the guys on the morning show from the Team 1200. We breakdown the NFL deal and what fans should look for in the coming season.

Monday, July 25, 2011

From Britt to Pacman: Does the NFL Personal Conduct Policy Apply During the Lockout

During the lockout, there have been over 20 incidents that could attract the application of the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy.

Here's some of what went down during the lockout:

Chris Cook (brandishing a handgun). Mario Henderson (carrying a concealed weapon). Bryan McCann (public intoxication). Johnny Jolly (drug possession). Jason Peters (disturbing the peace).Aqib Talib (aggravated assault with a deadly weapon). Louis Murphy (drug possession). Mike Vrabel (felony theft). Kenny Britt (eluding police, obstruction). William Moore (speeding, driving with suspended license). Antwan Applewhite (drunken driving suspicion). Alex Magee (marijuana possession). Garrett Wolfe (theft, disorderly conduct, assaulting an officer, resisting arrest with violence). Kenny Britt (resisting arrest). Javarris James (drug possession).Brandon Underwood (disorderly conduct). Raheem Brock (theft, resisting arrest). Akeem Jordan (assault and battery). Hines Ward (drunken driving).  Pacman Jones (disorderly conduct while intoxicated and resisting arrest ).

The NFL has said all along that it will apply the Policy to players who violated it during the lockout. Here's what league spokesman Greg Aiello said on the matter:

“It is a league policy established by the commissioner. We review any violations of law by NFL employees for potential discipline. The personal conduct policy is not being applied to players now but will be applied when they return. Players will be held accountable for violations of law that occurred during the lockout.”

The Policy starts with this language:
"All persons associated with the NFL are required to avoid “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the National Football League.” This requirement applies to players, coaches, other team employees, owners, game officials and all others privileged to work in the National Football League."
The question is this: can the NFL enforce the Policy for conduct that occurred during the lockout?

Well the answer falls in a grey area. On the one hand, the NFL would argue that even though the players were locked out, they remained employees and the Policy covers the conduct of employees. On top of that, the Policy is not part of the CBA, which had expired.

On the flip side, the players would argue that the lockout deprived them of the benefits of their employment. That being said, how could they still be accountable to discharge their employment obligations?

So there is no clear cut answer on the issue. It's possible that the sides may have considered this in their negotiations. If they didn't, and the NFL looks to enforce the Policy, look for the reformed Union to fight it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hitting The Brakes - NFL Players Won't Vote Tonight

The NFL voted to approve the new CBA. Problem is that according to the players the deal contain provisions that the players did not approve. So according to the players, the NFL ratified a deal the players didn't see.

Jim Trotter of and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen have obtained a copy of the e-mail sent by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith to the board of player representatives. Here it is:
“As you know the Owners have ratified their proposal to settle our differences,” the e-mail states. “It is my understanding they are forwarding it to us. As you may have heard, they apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal. Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions. As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved. There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time. I look forward to our call tonight.”
So no deal tonight. In fact, the players aren't going to vote tonight.

Follow me on Twitter - @EricOnSportsLaw - for updates all night.

Radio Clip: Team 1200 - NFL & Mendenhall

Click here to listen to my radio segment with AJ Jakubec (my Offside cohost) and Lee Versage (we don't cohost anything together). We talk NFL lockout and the Mendenhall lawsuit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Podcast of Offside Radio Show: Cromartie & More

Click here to link to Episode 5 of the Offside Radio Show on the Team 1200. The show is Montreal Expos wall to wall. We interview Expos great Warren Cromartie on bringing baseball back to Montreal.

We also get his thoughts on a bunch of former Expos including Elis Valentine, Bill Lee, Tim Raines, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Dick Williams, Steve Rodgers and Tim Wallach. The interview is a lot of fun. Great insight from Cro.

We also interview Glen Hodgson from the Conference Board of Canada. We talked about his report on the viability of Montreal to have an MLB team. Here's a link to the report.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Packers: And Here's The Denial

The Packers are denying that they contacted the players as per my entry below. Contacting players is a no no in a lockout - no matter what the progress of talks.

CBS Sports: Packers Told To Report To Work Saturday

Another sign that the NFL lockout is just about done - the Packers have been told to report to camp Saturday. This is according to CBS Sports:

"Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Packers are telling players that the doors will open on Friday, and that the team wants the players in town in order to get started on preparations for training camp and the preseason."

During a lockout, teams cannot communicate with players.
Read the article here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hitting Reset: Will The Prosecution Get Second Kick At Clemens Can?

In the Roger Clemens trial yesterday, the prosecution introduced evidence regarding Laura Pettite that Judge Walton had previously ruled was inadmissible. That was a no no, because once introduced, Judge Walton concluded that Clemens couldn't get a fair trial. So that was it, and a mistrial was declared.

Yes - big misstep. Worse misstep than going on Skating With The Stars. Arguably, though, not as big a misstep as David Caruso trying to go from TV to the movies.

So the issue now is whether, after the prosecution dedicated lots of tax dollars and time in preparing for the trial, will there be a retrial (or a new trial).

Your starting point is the double jeopardy rule which arises from the Fifth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. It says a person can't be tried for the same crime twice. Here's an important point - if the jury didn't reach a verdict, a retrial could still happen.

In figuring out whether there will be a retrial, the Court will look at things like whether a retrial would result in unfair delays for Clemens, whether the prosecution would secure an unfair advantage for the prosecution and whether the prosecution did all this on purpose.

The Clemens case just started and there have been no surprises so far. It is a strained argument that the prosecution would gain some type of advantage by getting a retrial or hitting the reset button. The trial is also only 2 days old, and a new trial could get underway by October, although it could be later. So delay doesn't seem like a big issue.

Overall, the reasonable conclusion is that there will be a retrial.

That being said, this case has been a little strange and unpredictable. So anything could happen. Anything shouldn't happen, but it could.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Will The U.S. Please Invade Canada

The ESPYS aren't on television in Canada - again. If anyone south of the border is listening, please invade Canada so I can finally watch the ESPYS live.

Just don't deregulate anything.

Thank you and see you and Seth Myers soon.

Today's Radio Segment Schedule

Today I will be making my way across the country by way of radio segments.

The morning started with a conversation with the Team 1260 in Edmonton. We talked about Clemens and the NFL. Clip is on the way.

Next up at 12:15 (all times eastern time) is TSN Radio in Toronto with Bryan Hayes, where we will talk jury selection in the Clemens trial. Interesting topic.

At 5:30, I will be talking with Sports Radio 1290 in Winnipeg with Gary Lawless and Andrew Paterson. They want to chat NFL, but something tells me we may wander into Clemens territory.

At 8:30 I will be doing Talk 980 in Saskatchewan with Drew Remenda.

Finally, I meet with my team of psychiatrists for an evening session from 10 and 2.

Disparity in Ticket Revenue Another Reason for Revenue Sharing in NBA

Recently I wrote an article entitled, Revenue Sharing Will Be Part of Solution for What Ails the NBA. In it, I talked about the need for a robust revenue sharing model among teams to even out the competitive playing field. Unlike the NFL, the NBA does not engage in substantial revenue sharing.

Case in point - NBA teams don't share revenue for local television deals. The New Orleans Hornets make $8 million/year off their TV deal, while the Sacramento Kings make $11 million/year and the Portland Trail Blazers make $12 million/year. Portland's deal is worth $120 million over 10 years.

In stark contrast, the Lakers TV deal is worth $3 billion over 20 years - or $150 a year. That means that one year of the Lakers deal is worth $30 million more than Portland's entire 10 year deal.

The gap between big and small markets is so large that the NBPA believes it undermines the stability of the NBA and the competitiveness of many of the teams. This argument is not unreasonable.

Here's something else to consider. There is a significant disparity in NBA ticket revenue, which NBA teams also don't share. The Lakers generate about $1.9 million per game, while the Grizzlies ($322,105) TWolves ($350,118) and Bucks ($415,450) generate a lot less.

For the Lakers, that ends up being $82,000,000 in ticket revenue, which is well ahead of the other 3 teams (Grizzlies - $13,202,000; TWolves - $14,350,000; Bucks - $17,015,000).

In fact, the Lakers pull in more ticket revenue than all 3 teams combined.

The NFL has a 60/40 policy whereby the home team keeps 60% of gate receipts and gives 40% of receipts to a pool, which is then distributed evenly among the 32 teams. The NFL has the most comprehensive system of shared gate receipts.

With this types of disparity, it can be tough to generate any type of meaningful and long term competitive balance. Revenue sharing will be part of the NBA solution.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


"As a kid, you dream to be up here with a bunch of guys that you watched back in the day, like Sosa, McGwire...and Giambi, how much fun they have," Robinson Cano on winning the Home Run Derby.
Someone please give Cano a copy of the Mitchell Report.

Next thing he'll do is dedicate his win to Shoeless Joe.

Interview with CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon

Click here to listen to our interview with CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon. We covered a lot of issues including U.S. expansion, the NFL, Canadian expansion and what makes a good commissioner.

Clemens Didn't Have To Testify in the First Place

Looks like the jury is set and opening arguments will begin tomorrow in the trial of Roger Clemens. The underlying allegation against Clemens is that he lied to Congress about doing performance enhancing drugs and steroids. His former trainer Brian McNamee says he injected Clemens with PEDs and steroids over 3 years between 1998 and 2001.

Here's the thing about this whole mess Clemens got himself into: it's self-inflicted.

Clemens was never forced to testify before Congress. He wanted to testify. He was never subpoenaed. Clemens wasn't happy when the 2007 Mitchell Report came out, which was a report summarizing an investigation into the use of PEDs and steroids by MLB players. The report mentioned Clemens 82 times, only third to Canseco (105 times) and Bonds (103).

So he thought he would go to Congress and proclaim his innocence. Problem is that he denied to Congress what others have insisted is true - Clemens used banned substances.

So rather than clear his name, he is now on trial for lying about taking PEDs and steroids.

Episode 4 - Offiside: The Business & Law of Sports

On tonight's show with my co-host AJ Jakubec, we will interview CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon. The interview promises to be really interesting.

We will also breakdown the Clemens trial and what to look for. As well, we will chat about the economics of Christian Lopez's decision to give up the ball to Jeter and the Yankees.

The show airs tonight between 6 and 7pm Eastern on the Team 1200 radio station. If you are not within range in Ottawa, you can go to and listen live. There will also be a podcast posted after the show.

Will be a great show tonight - looking forward to it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Josh Hamilton

Sean Gregory for Time wrote an article entitled, "Rangers Fan Tragedy: More Sadness For Josh Hamilton".

Here's an excerpt:
You feel for so many people here. First and foremost, you feel for the Stone family. A father was trying to catch a ball for his kid, like so many dads before him, and paid an unfathomable price. You feel for the kid who lost his dad. You feel for the witnesses — who knows how many times that scene will unfold, unprompted, in their minds?

And you've got to feel for Hamilton. After the game, Rangers president Nolan Ryan said Hamilton was "very distraught" over the accident. Hamilton has overcome so many challenges, and the one facing him now will be no less difficult. Hamilton is not responsible for Stone's death, but sadly, he played a hand in it. What if Hamilton threw the ball just a little further into the crowd? What if he just tossed that particular ball aside? You can't help but ask these painful "what ifs," and Hamilton is likely asking these questions of himself. It's unfair for any man to bear that burden.
Read the full article here.

Radio Clip: NFL, NBA & Expos Coming Back To Montreal

Click here to listen to my radio segment with the Team 1200. We talk 80s TV show, NFL update, NBA lockout and whether Montreal could support an MLB team.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

As Per Your Requests...'s a link to my review of the Kovalchuk arbitration decision as well as a copy of the actual decision (which is only found here).

No doubt that the deals handed out on July 1 and onward, together with Brian Burke's recent comments, sparked talk of whether these contracts constitute a circumvention of the cap.

My review sets out things to look at when trying to figure out whether a deal equals a circumvention.

Radio Clip: Team 1200 - NHL, NBA, NFL, Clemens and Happy Days Reunion

We talk a bunch of stuff, including NHL, NBA, NFL and Clemens. We also chat about the Happy Days reunion. This excites me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Closing The GAAP: How Much Has The NBA Lost?

The NBA claims that its teams combined to lose $300 million last season, and nearly $1 billion over the past 3 years. As well, the NBA contends that 22 of its 30 teams lost money.

On the flip side, the NBPA argues that the NBA has inflated its losses. The players say that if you look at actual money teams lost and don’t take into account creative accounting, losses of $370 million in 2009-10 actually drop to $120 million.

So who’s right? Well both sides.

The NBA has applied generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) principles when determining its losses. That means that they take things like interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization into account when figuring out losses.

Here’s the thing: while they go on the balance sheet, there is little or no economic substance to something like amortization. It does not represent actual money that is going out the door.

And that’s where the players step in saying that the losses are inflated. The players say let’s measure actual cash that is lost. In short, they measure operating profit and not the more creative book profit.

By way of example, the New Jersey Nets claimed losses of $49 million in 2005 and $57.4 million in 2006. However, if you toss aside GAAP principles, the losses drop to just $7.5 million and $17.2M in 2005 and 2006 respectively. So rather than having lost $106.5 million over 2 years, the Nets lost $25 million. The players rightfully argue that this is a pretty substantial difference.

It is important to note that the NBA is not being misleading; they are simply calculating losses in keeping with accepted accounting principles. And the players know that - so they aren’t being misled or confused.

That being said, the NBA is losing money – the issue is just how much. Forbes looked into it and found that 17 of 30 teams were losing money. Forbes also found that 11 of these 17 teams lost less than $8 million annually. Still, though, a loss is a loss is a loss.

Here's the big concern for the NBA: while ratings, interest and fan momentum are on the rise, profitability has gone down. According to Forbes, collective league profitability has fallen over the last 4 seasons. That’s not the sign of a healthy business.

And when that happens, it is clear that the players need to make meaningful concessions.

Why The NHL Won't Lockout in 2012

by Graydon Ebert

This weekend NHL General Managers spent like they were auditioning for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, despite the fact that there was only one premier talent in the free agent market. This has led many to suggest that the NHL business model is in trouble, if not broken, which in turn might mean fans will see another lockout when the NHL CBA expires at the end of next season.

We at Offside think that the prospect of an NHL lockout as a result of high free agent spending is unlikely.

The first thing to remember is that the players are guaranteed 57% of hockey related revenue. The players get this amount whether the teams sign these contracts or not. Now the concern might be that all these above-market contracts might, in the end, result in the players getting more than their 57%. However, the escrow system ensures that anything the players are paid over their 57% is returned to the NHL. So if the NHL pays the players too much because its projected revenues were too high, it just pulls the difference out of escrow.

What the commentators in the media and the public rightly noticed is that many of the free agent signings were driven by lower market teams who had to spend significant amounts of money that they don’t have to get to the salary floor of $48 million, which is significantly more than the salary cap was when the NHL came out of the lockout. You only need to look at the Florida Panthers who added Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg and a bunch of mid-level players at above-market contracts despite losing millions of dollars a year to understand what is happening.

However, these signings are not evidence that the financial relationship between the players and the league is broken.

Yes, perhaps the NHL would like to see the players get a smaller share of revenue, but the league as a whole is thriving. The strong Canadian dollar, the NHL’s new TV contract, solid TV ratings and strong attendance in traditional markets have produced continually rising revenues league-wide.

The problem is that this success is not evenly distributed among all the teams. Some teams are doing well and can afford to spend well past the floor. Other teams are really struggling and the CBA requires these struggling teams spend an amount of money on player salaries that is unrealistic given their challenges in generating revenue.

If this seems like a big problem, it's because it is. However, it can and should be addressed without a lockout.

Ultimately, all the players care about is getting their percentage of revenue. How this is proportioned among the teams is not a real concern for them. This gives the NHL the ability to be creative with how it chooses to divide these player costs among the different teams.

One possibility might be to adjust how the salary cap and floor are calculated. In the NHL, the cap and floor are calculated by figuring out the midpoint of player salaries (based on the player’s percentage of league revenues) and then adding $8 million to get the cap number and subtracting $8 million to get the floor. The league could expand this range making the cap significantly higher than the floor, i.e. adding and subtracting 10-15 million. This may have some effect on competitive balance as you’ll have a group of teams spending significantly more than other teams. However, the history of sports is full of teams that spend a lot and finish poorly, and teams with low payrolls that have had significant success through innovative and intelligent approaches to team building. The NHL could also consider lowering the floor significantly but providing revenue sharing and other incentives to poorer teams to spend more on player salaries.

These solutions will have to be collectively bargained so the players will have to agree them. However, if their percentage of revenue is protected and they aren’t making less money, the players should agree to the terms and not force a lockout.

So, while the events of this past weekend should cause some concern for the NHL and cause it to reevaluate the current structure, the idea that a lockout is now imminent is an overreaction.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Comparing CBAs: Revenue Sharing, Salary Caps, Stipends and Quirky Clauses

CBAs are front and centre in sports with the NBA and NFL lockouts, and with the MLB and NHL CBAs coming due.

Last Fall, Offside published a 4 Part Series comparing the CBAs of the major sports. Here are links to these articles if these are of interest:

Revenue Sharing Will Be Part of Solution for What Ails the NBA

NBA owners are seeking changes in the financial split of league revenue dedicated to player compensation. In the expiring collective bargaining agreement, players received 57% basketball related income and the NBA wants the number to drop dramatically.

In part, the NBA is arguing that small and mid-market teams can't afford to own a team because salaries are just too high.

As a result, the current system does not allow for the optimal level of competitive balance with big-market owners being able to significantly out-spend mid and small market owners.

It is true that competitive balance and parity are serious issues for the NBA. The past 4 NBA champions were large market teams with some of the league's biggest payrolls: Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers (twice) and Boston Celtics.

By way of comparison, in the NFL four of the last five Super Bowl champs were from some of the league's smallest markets: Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Green Bay.

How has the NFL enjoyed an unprecedented level of parity? A big part is revenue sharing.

As part of its robust centralized revenue model, the NFL shares about 80% all revenue from media deals, national sponsorships and merchandise sales.

Economic parity exists in the NFL because teams do not deviate widely in their revenues or costs. About 60% of league revenue is nationally generated and split evenly, with only a 40% window for teams to differentiate their top lines. 

As far as gate receipts, the NFL has a 60/40 policy whereby the home team keeps 60% of gate receipts and gives 40% of receipts to a pool, which is then distributed evenly among the 32 teams. The NFL has the most comprehensive system of shared gate receipts.

What about the NBA you ask? NBA teams share money from national TV contracts and luxury tax funds. They don't share gate receipts. While NBA teams share equally in the league’s national TV rights fees, teams keep 100% of their local television revenues.

Overall, NBA teams shared about $60 million last year. In contrast, the Packers received $147 million in shared revenue in 2009.

The local television deals alone undermine competitive balance. The New Orleans Hornets make $8 million/year off their TV deal, while the Sacramento Kings make $11 million/year and the Portland Trail Blazers make $12 million/year. Portland's deal is worth $120 million over 10 years.  

In stark contrast, the Lakers TV deal is worth $3 billion over 20 years - or $150 a year. That means that one year of the Lakers deal is worth $30 million more than Portland's entire 10 year deal.

The gap between the big and small markets is so large that the NBPA believes it undermines the stability of the NBA and the competitiveness of many of the teams.

It's no wonder the NBPA is saying that revenue sharing is a critical component in addressing what ails the NBA and can play a positive role in reforming the NBA.

Clemens Trial Starts Wednesday - A Review of the Basics

The Roger Clemens trial starts tomorrow.

The underlying allegation is tied to him lying about using performance enhancing drugs (steroids and HGH).

Clemens contradicted testimony given by his former trainer Brian McNamee, who testified that he had injected Clemens with both steroids and HGH.

Clemens denied that McNamee had ever injected him with these substances and said that he injected him with B12 vitamin shots.

Here is the key: to win a conviction, the prosecution will have to prove that Clemens was injected with HGH and steroids, he knew he was being injected, and he knew he was lying when he said he wasn’t injected.

The Charge of Perjury Is Not Just Lying

For the offence of perjury (the most serious offence charged), the prosecution must prove not only that Clemens lied, but that he knowingly lied under oath. This means that Clemens could wiggle out if he can convince the jury that he misunderstood a question or didn’t know exactly what he was taking.

Prosecution Versus Clemens: The Arguments

Clemens has money and will assemble a top notch legal team. This makes a big difference. Expect his lawyers to really dig in and attack the prosecution’s case from every angle. Think OJ – they will be relentless.

Clemens offered up his testimony 2.5 years ago so that means that the prosecution has very likely taken great care in developing its case. They may also have new evidence.

Prosecution’s Arguments

Here are some of the prosecution’s possible arguments:

1) McNamee testified that he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH over 40 times between 1998 and 2001.

2) McNamee has syringes, pads and gauze that have Clemens’ DNA on it.

3) Clemens’ good friend Andy Pettite testified under oath that Clemens told him he used HGH. This corroborated the evidence provided by McNamee.

4) McNamee has testified he injected Clemens, Pettite and Chuck Knoblauch with HGH. Both Pettite and Knoblauch have confirmed this. So the prosecution will argue it is unlikely that McNamee would tell the truth about Pettite and Knoblauch, but lie about Clemens.

5) In 1998, Clemens developed an abscess on his buttocks that he claimed was the result of B12 injections. However, McNamee stated that it was the result of steroid injections and numerous medical experts have said that the mass was unlikely to have been the result of B12 injections and was more consistent with steroid injections.

Clemens Arguments

Clemens is not left without arguments. Here are some of his possible arguments:

1) He will attack McNamee’s credibility and truthfulness. McNamee reached a deal with federal authorities to avoid prosecution for steroid distribution, and Clemens will argue that was his incentive to lie.

2) Clemens will challenge the admissibility and reliability of the syringes, pads and gauze arguing that while in McNamee’s possession for years, they may not have been handled with care.

3) He didn’t know what was in the syringes, so when he said he didn’t take steroids or HGH, he didn't knowingly lying. In addressing Pettite testimony, he could say that Pettite just got it wrong (he misremembered).

4) Important Person Act: Well this isn’t an argument (or a statute) so much as some jurors may be influenced by his fame.

Jail Time

As far as prison time, each of the six counts he is charged with could result in a sentence of up to 5 years in prison. However, under U.S. sentencing guidelines, if he’s convicted of at least one of the counts of perjury he may receive a sentence of 15 to 21 months in prison, and could be out for good behaviour in 13 to 18 months. However, all this is up to the Judge.

This will be a tough case for Clemens. Remember though – it only takes 1 juror to side with Clemens for him to walk.