Monday, February 28, 2011

KC Royals: Court Refuses To Toss Hot Dog Case

Last week, MLB’s Kansas City Royals lost a motion for summary judgment in John Coomer v. Kansas City Royals Baseball Corporation, a lawsuit arising out of the antics of the team’s mascot, Sluggerrr. Coomer claimed that he was seriously injured when Sluggerrr hit him in the eye with a hot dog thrown during the popular “Hot Dog Toss” promotion.

Summary judgment refers to court dismissing a claim without a full hearing on the evidence, and based on the allegation that there is no claim or defence with a reasonable prospect of success. This is an extraordinary procedure.

As far as the lawsuit goes, as a result of being hit in the eye by a hot dog thrown by the mascot, Coomer alleged he suffered a detached retina, developed cataracts and had surgery. He's asking for $25,000 in a lawsuit filed last year.  He claims that he was a mere “few feet away” from Slugger when Slugger’s errant, behind-the-back throw led to Coomer’s left eye getting hit by a hot dog. Coomer claims that as an invitee, he was owed the highest protection of safety, and that the Royals, through failed to exhibit the requisite care. 

Traditionally, fans have had a tough time collecting money if hit by a foul ball or bat. That ties into the voluntary assumption of risk principle, which provides that fans should be aware of their environment at a game. However, as Coomer would argue, that doesn't and shouldn't apply to in game promotions.

The Royals moving for summary judgment tied into this principle of voluntary assumption of risk. The Royals argued, in part, that the implied assumption of risk was a complete bar to the lawsuit. The Court did not agree.

Fox and Turner Considering NHL TV Deal?

According to the Sport Business Journal, "Fox and Turner are taking an early look at the NHL’s cable TV package, raising the likelihood that the league will have a competitive bidding process — with as many as four networks — as it negotiates new TV deals this year."

Versus’ exclusive negotiating window closed in January. Thereafter, the NHL sent out feelers to other networks to gauge interest in the NHL’s TV rights. The league reached out to ESPN, which held the NHL’s TV rights from 1992 to 2004, and is still engaged in talks with NBC/Versus (now jointly owned).

Fox and the NHL are at the exploratory stage only (i.e., kicking television tires). Part of NHL's strategy is to try and engage the networks in an auction.

Fox has been looking to add sports to its FX cable channel, and many of its regional sports networks have deals with NHL teams. Turner could be interested in bringing more sports to its TruTV cable channel. In March, TruTV will begin telecasting some NCAA Tournament games.

The biggest issue with Versus is that it's television by appointment, and overall, it's visibility is not where the NHL wants it. Versus is still is not available in many bars and restaurants. It also has the lowest distribution of the potential networks. ESPN is in 99 million homes, FX is in 96 million homes, TruTV is in 92 million homes and Versus is in 76 million homes.

Through February 20, Versus’ NHL games have averaged 319,000 viewers, compared to last year’s 283,000.

Even if the NHL signs with NBC/Versus (which is highly likely), there is nothing stopping the NHL from signing deals with OTHER networks like ESPN and FOX. Look at the NFL - they are on every major network (except for the Slice channel) - ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.

Whatever TV deal is struck, projections have each NHL team getting about $4 million in TV revenue a year. That's almost enough to sign Dustin Penner. How does that compare to the NFL? It doesn't. Each NFL team gets a yearly payout of between $150 to $160 million. It's a work in progress for the NHL but things are trending in the right direction.

NFLPA Decertification - A Primer

With reports that the NFLPA may decertify, below is a link to a primer on decertification. It's in English - promise.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Quick Hits - Around The Web In 80 Seconds

Clippers F Blake Griffin’s dunk over a Kia Optima which won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest last Saturday as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend will be incorporated into a TV ad.

NBC has been "quietly testing whether it can command as much as $3.5 million for 30 seconds of commercial time during its broadcast of next year's Super Bowl. That would be a record and beat the $3 million for this past Super Bowl.

UFC will be broadcasting its March 3 event in 3D. As of yet, 3D events are not yet part of the conversation since most people don't have 3D televisions. It's coming though.

No developments on Jason Bailey lawsuit against the Ducks, Condors and coached. Sides talking settlement? Based upon what I read in Bailey's Complaint, this doesn't look like the strongest wrongful dismissal case.

The Mets got a $25 million loan from Major League Baseball in November to cover their short-term operating costs. This is strongest sign to date that the team’s finances may be tenuous as team owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz face a lawsuit from the trustee for victims of Bernard Madoff that seeks to recover as much as $1 billion.

The Mets issued a statement said that they had "short-term liquidity issue". Given the circumstances, that sounds like Ronald Reagan referring to his invasion of Grenada as a "pre-dawn vertical insertion".

You have to imagine MLB will pressure Wilpon to sell majority stake in team or just get out entirely.

Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he shares responsibility for what happened to hundreds of fans who couldn't get proper seating at the Super Bowl. 

"I do, along with the NFL, take responsibility for the seating issue and some of the things that we would like to improve on regarding the seating issues," Jones said during a 30-minute interview with Cowboys beat reporters Friday morning. "The informing of the fans that were involved, the NFL and I take responsibility for. You always like to look at areas you can do better, get better. We certainly intend to and will get much better in terms of the seating and how that is handled."

Will he now apologize for the late apology?

Here's an article gauging the ratings impact if L.A. gets an NFL team. In this article, the reaction is mixed, with some believing a team in L.A. won't result in a big gain in TV ratings.

Nothing has changed on Tomas Vokoun trade watch. Here's hoping he lands on a playoff team. It's time (maybe Detroit?).

By not selling ads on jerseys, the big 4 North American teams are leaving $370 on the table according to Horizon Media. Ads on jerseys are coming - it just won't be like Nascar or European Hockey; it will be something more subtle that won't overshadow house brand (i.e., team name).

Miami Heat and LeBron James have scored the biggest gain in local TV ratings, up to 118% over last year. Biggest television ratings decrease? Cavs. They are down 4%.

Despite having a great season with marquee player Stamkos, the Lightning are in the bottom 5 in television ratings in the U.S. Nothing sunny about sunbelt NHL teams.

Li Na is big boon for tennis in China. 65 million watched her in Aussie final. Compare that to Super Bowl, which draws a shade over 100 million.

NHL teams are really getting into the virtuals ads behind nets on the glass. Ad deals are estimated in the mid 6 figures. Nest step - replace players with moving virtual ads.

Happy Saturday.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Big Issues Unresolved at NFL Mediation & TV Deal

A week ago, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to sit down for 7 straight days of mediation. That ended yesterday, and the parties are preparing to meet again on Tuesday with the March 4 expiration of the CBA looming. However, this is a soft deadline and frankly doesn't mean too much. The parties can continue to negotiate.

According to Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal, NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith told NFL player agents at a large union meeting in Indianapolis to prepare for an NFL lockout.

"His position is that we want a deal and the NFL isn't moving and only says, 'No!'," said one source at the meeting. Subsequent reports, however, dispute this report.

The mediator George Cohen released his own statement. He said that "some progress was made, but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties".

That doesn't sound good. Here's Cohen's press release.

Cohen also said that the parties will meet again on Tuesday after spending the weekend assessing "their current positions on those outstanding issues". Sounds like the sides have homework.

These developments are in keeping with the reasonable position that this may well drag out into the summer and maybe fall. The issue of revenue sharing is a big one, and last time around the owners felt they gave him too much. This time though they've made it clear - they won't. That means this could go on for awhile.

There is the other issue of the NFL television network deal where the NFL gets paid $4 billion if there are no games next season.

By way of background, in June of this year, the NFLPA filed a complaint alleging that the NFL structured its contracts with broadcast partners, such as CBS and FOX, to ensure that fees would be paid even if there were no games played in 2011.

Why is this a big deal? In the event that football is not played in 2011, the NFL won’t be sharing television revenue with the players, and in securing a payout for not having a season in 2011, the Union is arguing that the NFL did not seek to maximize revenue in other seasons when the league would need to share that revenue with players. So for the Union, the deal violates an agreement between the parties that the NFL must negotiate in good faith with a view to maximizing revenue for players.

The NFLPA essentially lost the case and has since appealed the decision. The case now sits before United States District Court Judge Doty, who will decide whether NFL owners should be able to pocket the $4 billion in network payments in the event of a lockout.

The NFL argues it shrewdly maximized the revenue for all to share back in 2009 and 2010, and that lockout protection has been a normal part of broadcast contracts for years. So it says it did nothing wrong, and that the $4 billion is akin to lockout insurance.

The NFL is not a big fan of Judge Dody. Doty has presided over cases involving the NFL, the players' union and their collective bargaining agreements for the past 19 years. The league has previously alleged that Judge Doty has a pro-union bias and has previously sought to have him removed from cases.

There have been some reports that Judge Doty wanted to delay his ruling given the CBA negotiations. However, that does not appear to be the case, and a decision could come as early as next week.

Would a Union win be important. Yes.

The Union's attack is aimed at the heart of the NFL's lockout strategy. If the Union is successful in this action, the NFL owners will lose the $4 billion safety net they thought they had created for the duration of a possible lockout.

Should be an interesting week.

Hope For Thrashers?

Chris Vivlamore for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that there may be hope for the Thrashers as there is a chance new owners may step in. Read the article here.

Caution: Please see Phoenix.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Labatt Challenge & The NHL

As reported yesterday, Labatt may challenge the NHL's decision to go with Molson as the exclusive provider of beer in its rinks.

Labatt issued this statement:

Labatt has been the official beer sponsor of the NHL in Canada for more than a decade and we began sponsorship renewal negotiations with the league several months ago to secure sponsorship rights. These negotiations with the NHL proceeded positively and in good faith to the point where the parties had agreed upon the terms of renewal of a sponsorship agreement until 2014. Nothing has happened to change that situation.”

Based upon the statement, Labatt may be taking the position that the sides agreed on the terms of a renewal of the contract. However, without knowing what was required to renew the contract as per the original contract, or the nature of the negotiations between Labatt and the NHL, it is hard to know how this will be resolved. This information is obviously not available.

The NHL and Bill Daly have issued their own statement, disagreeing with Labatt's position: "...we strongly disagree with their assertion that an agreement was in place for the 2011-2012 NHL season. We have no further comment at this time.”

SF Chronicle - Barry Bonds prosecutors urge no limit on witnesses

Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Federal prosecutors have argued that it should be permitted to present evidence of four witnesses who have key insights about Barry Bonds' alleged steroid use.

Read the article here. As you will see, the testimony of Bonds' former girlfriend would be particularly problematic for Bonds, and for that reason his team will work hard to exclude it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Labatt May Challenge Molson NHL Deal

Molson has said that it has reached a 7 year sponsor deal that gives it exclusivity in NHL rinks. However, Labatt, teh current beer of the NHL, contends it agreed on terms to extend the deal with the NHL. 

"Labatt has been the official beer sponsor of the NHL in Canada for more than a decade and we began sponsorship renewal negotiations with the league several months ago to secure sponsorship rights," said Labatt vice-president of corporate affairs Charlie Angelakos. "These negotiations with the NHL proceeded positively and in good faith to the point where the parties had agreed upon the terms of renewal of a sponsorship agreement until 2014. Nothing has happened to change that situation.

Read the article here. Note, however, that if Labatt moved to enforce its rights it would be against the NHL and not Molson.

The Pursuit of Condredge Holloway

Mark McCarter of The Huntsville Times has written a great article about Condredge Holloway, Canadian Football Hall of Fame QB. The story starts with the Montreal Expos offering the phenom high school athlete a "suitcase full of cash" in 1970.

"The best high school athlete I've ever seen," former Lee basketball coach Jerry Dugan said.

The article focuses on football's readiness for a black quarteback.

If you have a couple of minutes, it's a good read.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

The Montreal Expos opened up a suitcase full of cash right in front of his eyes, dollars stacked inside like something out of a cops-and-robbers movie. John Wooden, the legendary UCLA coach, sent him a recruiting letter. Tennessee dispatched an assistant coach who would all but take up residence in Huntsville.

The pursuit of Condredge Holloway was competitive and varied, a testament to the athletic skills he displayed at Lee High School.

"The best high school athlete I've ever seen," former Lee basketball coach Jerry Dugan said.

But the competitive, varied recruiting effort took a bizarre turn one day in 1970, as told in "The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story," a documentary that debuts tonight at 7 on ESPN.

"The phone rings, it's George Wallace on the phone, wanting him to go to Alabama," recalled Ray Trail, the Tennessee assistant who recruited Holloway. "He came back and he said 'Coach can you believe that? George Wallace, the guy that stood on the steps of the university and said there'll never be a black guy enter the University of Alabama, calls me.'"

Indeed, both Alabama and Auburn were interested in Holloway. Neither wanted him as a quarterback.

Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant was brutally frank with him, admitting Alabama wasn't ready for a black quarterback.

Variety: NBA labor strife puts TV on defense

Maury Brown for Variety has written a good piece entitled NBA labor strife puts TV on defense. In it, he writes that the NBA is enjoying a rise in television ratings, but that a labor stoppage could bring everything "crashing down".

The article outlines the financials of the TV deals and is worth a read.

Relocation of Professional Sports Teams

Relocation of teams is a hot topic in the NHL, NBA and NFL. Here is a list from Wikipedia of professional sports teams that have relocated.

The most recent league to have a team move is the NBA, with the Seattle SuperSonics becoming the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. MLB is second as far as most recent moves, with the Expos moving to Washington in 2005. Both the NFL and NHL haven't had a team move since 1997. The Houston Oilers moved to Memphis and became the Tennessee Oilers, while the Hartford Whalers became the Carolina Hurricanes.

Before the Expos headed to Washington, the last time a team moved in baseball was in 1972 when Washington lost its team to Texas.

While the NHL hasn't had a team move since 1997, between 1993 and 1997, 4 teams relocated (Stars, Nordiques, Whalers and Jets).

Gary Bettman became Commissioner on February 1, 1993.

When Bettman started as Commissioner, the NHL had already expanded by 3 teams to 24 starting with the 1991-92 season, and two more were set to be announced by the expansion committee: the Florida Panthers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who would begin play in 1993–94. Similar to the previous expansion cycles, the focus was on placing teams in the southern United States. The Nashville Predators (1998), Atlanta Thrashers (1999), Minnesota Wild (2000) and Columbus Blue Jackets (2000) completed the NHL's expansion period, bringing the league to 30 teams.

Tulane: Summary of Work Stoppages Resulting in Loss of Games

Tulane University has put together a table summary of work stoppages that have resulted in a loss of games in the 4 major North American sports. To view this summary, please click here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

NBA Commissioner Stern Talks About Serious Need For Change

In Mike Bresnahan's LA Times article David Stern says change is needed, NBA Commissioner David Stern talks about the need for serious change to the NBA business model.

"The numbers are real, the losses are real, and the need from our perspective for a different business model, that's what's governing our decision," Stern said.

Forbes magazine has reported that 12 of the NBA's 30 teams lost money last season.

NBA is projecting losses of $350 million.

With small markets having a tough time competing, escalating salaries and with almost half the franchises reportedly losing money, the NBA wants significant changes to its business model.

This is looking a little like the NHL in 2004-2005, where the league lost an entire season to a labor stoppage.

With labor fatigue creeping in among sports fans together with potentially unforgiving sponsors and fans, a prolonged work stoppage may not be in the cards. However, some type of work interruption remains possible as the real negotiating may be more likely to take place at the 11th hour. 

Radio Clip - Team 1260 - NFL labor, NBA/NHL and How I'm Getting Older

Listen to my discussion with the guys from the Team 1260 in Edmonton. We talk about how I'm getting older, the NFL labor dispute, including why the NFL's mediation move is good from a sponsorship standpoint.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

NBA & NBPA Met On Friday

For close to 12 months, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have been enjoying a stalemate. They met yesterday, and NBPA head Billy Hunter characterized the meeting as encouraging. However, he said it was unlikely that they would agree to a hard cap.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Great Resource On NHL Players

With NHL GMs getting pretty active on trade front, the Hockey News has a great resource for the quick and dirty on NHL players. You can get a player's age, salary, years in the league, strengths/weaknesses, etc.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Radio Clip: We Talk NFL Mediation, NFL Business Model, Thrashers and Rex Hudler

Listen to my radio clip with AJ and Matt of the Team 1200 where we talk about the NFL mediation announcement. We also chat about the Atlanta Thrashers (urgent) situation and how the NFL operates its business. We also touch on Rex Hudler and Joaquin Andujar. Please bring the Expos back. Someone. 

NFL - NFLPA Taking Their Talents To Mediation

The NFL and the NFLPA today agreed to attend mediation in the hopes of hammering out a new CBA. The news has been generally bad of late, and this may help with public perception at the very least.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent U.S. government agency, will oversee negotiations in Washington beginning Friday. The mediator won't be able to impose any terms, but may be able to help focus the talks. Overall, though, don't expect miracles.

The NFL press release can be reviewed here.

The NFLPA's release is a bit shorter and is below:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Top Sport Celebrity Endorsers As Reported By Nielsen

Nielsen recently published its report State of the Media in Sports 2010, a "compilation of media highlights, advertiser trends and consumer insights".

Here are some of the highlights:

Top 5 Most Effective Endorsers - Active Female Athletes (based on athlete awareness, appeal and personality attributes)

1) Venus Williams
2) Lindsey Vonn
3) Serena Williams
4) Danica Patrick
5) Maria Sharapova

Top 5 Most Effective Endorsers - Active Male Athletes

1) Shaun White
2) Shaquille O'Neal
3) Apolo Anton Ohno
4) Peyton Manning
5) Michael Phelps

Top 5 Most Effective Endorsers - Commentators

1) Terry Bradshaw
2) Mike Ditka
3) Dan Marino
4) Chris Berman
5) Bob Costas

Top Sporting Events Based on Income +$100,000

1) Stanley Cup Playoffs
2) NCAA Basketball Championship
3) The Masters
4) BCS National Championship
5) World Cup Final

Top Selling Sports Biographies

1) Jane Leavy, The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
2) Drew Brees, Coming Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity
3) Andre Agassi, Open
4) James S. Hirsh, Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend
5) Bill Madden, Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball

Top 5 Most Effective Endorsers - NBA

1) Shaq
2) Kobe Bryant
3) LeBron James
4) Yao Ming
5) Steve Nash

Top 5 Most Effective Endorsers - NFL

1) Peyton Manning
2) Brett Favre
3) Drew Brees
4) Donovan McNabb
5) Tim Tebow

Top 5 Most Effective Endorsers - Winter Olympic Athletes

1) Shaun White
2) Apolo Anton Ohno
3) Limdsey Vonn
4) Bode Miller
5) Evan Lysacek

Top 5 Most Effective Endorsers - NASCAR

1) Dale Earnhart Jr.
2) Jeff Gordon
3) Danica Patrick
4) Tony Stewart
5) Mark Martin

Who is missing? Who do you disagree with? Where is Brady (he does have big UGG endorsement deal)? What about Bill Murray - he does have one more golf title this year than Tiger Woods?

Thrashers: ‘Sense of urgency' to keep Thrashers from moving

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the Thrashers are saying they urgently need more investors to keep the team in Atlanta. Here's an excerpt and the article is here:
Atlanta Spirit co-owner Michael Gearon said there is now a “sense of urgency” to find additional investors or a buyer willing to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta. If the ownership group does not get additional financial help in the near future the franchise could be sold and moved to another city.

“If we are faced with that as the only alternative, that’s what’s going to happen,” Gearon told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an exclusive interview Tuesday. “I don’t think there is an ability to stomach another $20 million in losses. We just can’t do it.

“The reality is we need fans showing up and we need investors, or a primary investor.”
Canada anyone.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Home Paternity Test Available

CBS is reporting that a Do-It-Yourself Paternity tests is now available.

In a related story, the Maury Povich show has been cancelled.

Great Paper On NFL's Business Model, Centralized Revenue & the Lockout

Harvard student Jake I. Fisher wrote a paper entitled, The NFL’s Current Business Model and the Potential 2011 Lockout.

This paper is terrific, as it very clearly outlines the NFL's business model with its focus on centrally generated revenue as a way to create and maintain parity. The paper concludes that the NFL business, driven by centrally generated and equally shared revenue, such as TV deals and merchanding revenue, has effectively controlled product distribution, distributed risk throughout the league and maintain economic and competitive parity. All this equals by far the best run business of the four major sports in North America.

I invite you to read this very clear and easy to consume paper. I hope he got an A+.

Here are some of the highlights from the paper:

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 a percentage of the league average, the standard deviation in team revenue in the NFL is 12% on average from 2006-08. The MLB value is 25% (from 2007-09), the NBA value is 25%, and the NHL value is 24%.

The NFL obtains three major benefits by modeling its business around centrally generated revenue:

(1) The first is that the NFL can consolidate power and exercise wide reaching control over the distribution of its product.

(2) The second major benefit of the NFL’s centralized model is that the league can distribute risk among all 32 teams.

(3) The third major benefit of the NFL’s centrally oriented business model is that the league can maintain both economic and competitive parity among its teams.

Fisher looked at the Packers financial statements. Since the team is publicly owned, those records are available to the public. This is what he found:

Centrally generated revenue includes things such as road game ticket receipts, NFL Properties revenue (league merchandising and licensing) and television and radio deals.

The Green Bay income statement shows that $147 million of its $248 million in revenue (59%) is generated by the NFL league office. The 60/40 split is consistent with league-wide distribution.

The $147 million in centrally generated revenue that the Packers receive consists of road game ticket receipts, NFL Properties revenue (merchandising, licensing, etc.) and television and radio deals. Of Green Bay’s $47 million in ticket revenue, $17 million is sourced from road games.

This breakdown exists because 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. The NBA and NHL do not share ticket sales, and MLB home teams keep 85% of ticket revenue.

Unlike the NFL, the NBA, MLB, and NHL are more oriented on gate receipts and local media. The NFL generated $1.68 billion in local gate receipts in 2008, which is 22% of its total revenue. The NBA share of gate receipts to total revenue is 32% (2008-09), the MLB share is 37% (2008), and the NHL share is 42% (2008-09).

On the lockout, Fisher concludes that because of its centralize revenue business model, the NFL may be in a better position to absorb a work stoppage and has the upper hand in these negotiations.

To read more, click here. The NFL model of parity is in stark contrast to baseball, where generally only the
rich teams make it to the playoffs by virtue of a different revenue sharing model and no cap.

Monday, February 14, 2011

NFL Files Unfair Labor Practice Claim Against NFLPA

The NFL has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).

Basically, the NFL is alleging that the NFLPA has not negotiated in good faith and is just going through the motions. The NFL claims the NFLPA has engaged in "surface bargaining" and tactics designed to avoid reaching an agreement before the CBA expires.

The NFLPA has responded that the claim "has absolutely no merit".

So what on earth is going on from a legal standpoint you ask? Good question.

Bottom line - the NFL is saying that the NFLPA is avoiding reaching an agreement before the CBA expires so that it can file anti-trust litigation.

More precisely, the NFL is concerned that the NFLPA is stalling until the CBA expires, at which point the NFL argues the Union will decertify and the individual players will sue the NFL for antitrust violations. These types of lawsuits can be very serious as they can result in catastrophic awards of monetary damages against the NFL, and the last time around n 1989 these lawsuits pressured the NFL to agree to a new CBA.

The NFLPA's statements and conduct over the course of the last 20 months plainly establish that it does not intend to engage in good faith collective bargaining with the NFL after the CBA expires or otherwise meet its obligations under Section 8(d) of the Act, and that it instead will pursue its goals on behalf of the players by pretending to disclaim interest as their Section 9(a) representative and then sue the NFL under the antitrust laws. The union's strategy amounts to an unlawful anticipatory refusal to bargain."
So the NFL's goal with the labor complaint is a step toward pre-emptively blocking decertification.

For a primer on decertification, please click here, which explains anti-trust and decertification in clear terms.

Letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell From Lawyer For Aggrieved Super Bowl Fans

Here's a letter from attorney Michael Avenatti to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell requesting a time to sit down and settle the Super Bowl seating class action lawsuit. This letter was issued on February 12 and was published online here.

Dear Mr. Goodell:

As you know, last week my law firm filed a Class Action lawsuit on behalf of the numerous fans displaced, delayed and obstructed at Cowboys Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday. By way of that filing, we began to represent the over 2,000 fans, including fans from Pittsburgh and Green Bay, affected by what can be best described as a seating debacle.

We filed the case in an effort to protect the rights of the fans, including the right to receive fair and reasonable compensation and the right to have adequate legal representation when deciding whether to accept or reject any settlement offer. As I am sure you will agree, there is nothing improper about a fan or the league consulting a lawyer for advice or representation under the circumstances nor is there anything wrong with fans taking steps to protect their rights. In this regard, we proceeded in the same way as the NFL, which undoubtedly consulted lawyers for advice shortly after the game ended last Sunday as well as in connection with the league’s present labor dispute.

Since the filing of our case, we have been contacted by literally hundreds of affected fans wishing to formally retain our firm. Those contacts are expected to continue in the coming days.

This past Wednesday and continuing through yesterday, I began publically inviting you and Mr. Jones to meet with us so that we may amicably resolve this dispute short of full-blown litigation. As I have stated publicly, the fans are incredibly reasonable – they merely want just compensation, starting with full reimbursement of all ticket costs and travel expenses. To date, our efforts aimed at an early, amicable resolution have unfortunately been ignored.

I once again ask that you contact me as soon as possible so that we may resolve this matter quickly and reasonably for the short and long term benefit of the fans of the NFL. In an effort to accommodate your schedule, I will make myself available at any time, on any day – we simply need to get this resolved.

I eagerly await your call.

Very Truly Yours,

Michael J. Avenatti, Esq.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Couple Fewer Kids Enroll In Hockey Today

Think a suburban mom in Raleigh, North Carolina is eager to put her kid into hockey after watching this?

By the way, Matt Martin's hit on Max Talbot is reminiscent of Todd Bertuzzi on Steve Moore.

Something's gotta give if NHL wants to successfully exploit troubled U.S. markets.

Saturday, February 12, 2011 Breaking Down The Cost of Super Bowl Trip & The Importance of Not Setting Precedent for NFL

Jeremy Stahl of has written an article on the Super Bowl seating issue (yes "issue" is a bit of a euphemism).

Stahl breaks down some of the average outlay of costs associated with a Super Bowl trip to Arlington:
Rooms at a Super 8 Motel near the stadium on Super Bowl Sunday were going for $700. Round-trip tickets from Milwaukee to Dallas were selling for $845, while roundtrips from Pittsburgh to Dallas went for $821. Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing the aggrieved fans, also pointed me to a press release from Ticketmaster issued on the Wednesday before the game. The release reported that the cheapest seats on NFL Exchange, "the official ticket resale marketplace of the NFL," were being sold for $2,907, while the average ticket resale cost was $4,118.87.
The NFL has offered one free ticket, along with round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations to any Super Bowl as compensation for having to watch the game on televisions inside Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. An alternative offer of $2,400 plus a ticket to next year’s Super Bowl still stands.

This offer is only extended to the 400 displaced fans and not to the around 860 fans who were moved seats.

As per previous postings, the 400 displaced fans have a reasonable claim at contract law since they didn't get their seats. Their damages may be conquerable to the offer made by the NFL - or exceed it. As for the 860 fans that were seated elsewhere in the stadium - that's a tougher claim. They may be entitled to the difference in value of the seats but not much more. That's why the NFL hasn't made them an offer. And that's why they're suing. Many thought they did not get similar or better seats as initially announced by the NFL.

Michale Smith reports in his article, One of the 850 displaced fans calls Super Bowl Sunday “a nightmare”, that Packer fan Peter D’Amico arrived at Cowboys Stadium 7 hours before the game and just barely made it to his seat in time for kickoff.

D'Amico also spoke of the "riot"-like atmosphere:
Also troubling is D’Amico’s description of the atmosphere at the Cowboys Stadium ticket gate, where the 1,250 fans were instructed to go to find out where they would be sitting (or in some cases standing) during the game.

“A couple of people stood in the center of groups of us speaking loudly about what was going on, but anyone in the back of the area couldn’t hear them,” he said. “It became almost a riot-type atmosphere. Some people were so upset they were ready to do something. . . . It started getting kind of ugly.”
This case will likely settle. From the NFL's standpoint, it is important not to set a precedent that encourages fans with frivolous complaints to make a claim against the league. The last thing the NFL wants is a lawsuit based on a fan's complaint that another fan's afro in the seat in front of him obstructed his view. Little extreme but you get the point.

Friday, February 11, 2011

NY Times: It Takes A Law Degree To Be A Sports Fan

Good article by George Vecsey of the NY Times where he says you need a law degree to be a sports fan. I would also add you need an MBA and a PhD in psychology.

Here's an excerpt:
It takes a degree in jurisprudence to be a sports fan these days, particularly in the United States, which has a backlog of legal cases involving champions named Bonds and Clemens and Armstrong.

Decades of culpability hang over the impending Super Bowl. The National Football League has been forced — by sheer empirical evidence that its money and power cannot obscure — to confront the brain damage and rapid deterioration from the essential act of that sport: one brute slamming into another. The N.F.L. did not want to know.

In New York, Mets fans are facing the reality that their formerly cute little franchise has been playing under the creepy shadow of Bernard L. Madoff. More recently, ownership has been distracted, not by the loss of a few million here and a few million there, but by a trustee’s lawsuit to recoup funds for some less fortunate Madoff clients, perhaps for as much as $1 billion. Real money, as the saying goes.

The meat defense is just the latest variation on the theme offered by athletes who flunk the Dixie cup test: It’s all a big mistake, Officer. I can explain.

Sports Economist - Quebec Arena

Brad Humphreys of the Sports Economist reports that the new proposed Quebec arena may face challenges. The article quotes Bettman, who says the proposed rink doesn't guarantee anything as far as getting a team:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has already said: “I don’t want anybody getting excited…in the conversations that I’ve had with a variety of people, including the Mayor and the Premier, we have said we’re not planning on expanding. We’re not planning on relocation. So we cannot promise [Quebec] a franchise.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CSN Reports On Internal NFLPA Memo & Battle Over Rookie Pay

According to an NFLPA internal memo obtained by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, the two sides are far from agreement on how rookies should be paid.

The NFL wants a cap on rookie deals. Owners would say look no further than Sam Bradford, whose contract represented a seminal moment in the history of escalating rookie contracts. Bradford, who had never taken a snap in the NFL, signed a record contract that included $50 million in guaranteed money. As for other rookie guaranteed money, Matt Stafford signed for $42 million, Jarmarcus Russell for $32 million, Ndamukong Suh for $40 million, Gerald McCoy for $35 million and Trent Williams for $36.7 million.

These numbers pretty much guarantee that the NFL will not walk away from the negotiation table without some type of restriction on rookie deals. You can bet on it.

Here's an excerpt from the article:
In the Jan. 26 memo to the Executive Committee and Board of Player Representatives, executive director of the NFLPA DeMaurice Smith described the NFL's proposal as a rigid wage scale that includes "no individual negotiations of contracts at all."

In the NFL's proposal, according to the memo, minimum salaries would be reduced to the point that the first-year minimum for players entering the league in 2017 would be $5,000 less than it was for first-year players 2010.

The league proposed the wage scale be five years for players chosen in the first round and four years for all other drafted players. Drafted players would be ineligible to renegotiate their deals or sign contract extensions until after three years.

The memo cited an example of the two proposals. The NFL wants a defensive tackle selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft to receive $8.6 million over five years, assuming he has at least 40-percent play time in two different seasons. The union's proposal calls for the same player to receive $18 million over four years, assuming he had one year of at least 35-percent play time.
By comparison, Green Bay selected defensive tackle B.J. Raji with the ninth pick in the 2009 draft. He signed a five-year deal for a total package of $22.5 million.
Good read. By the way, the average NFL career spans 3.6 years.

NFL Press Release On Breakdown In Negotiations

Here's the NFL's statement following a breakdown in CBA negotiatons that led to a cancelled meeting between the sides:
“Despite the inaccurate characterizations of yesterday’s meeting, out of respect to the collective bargaining process and our negotiating partner, we are going to continue to conduct negotiations with the union in private and not engage in a point-counterpoint on the specifics of either side’s proposals or the meeting process. Instead, we will work as hard as possible to reach a fair agreement by March 4. We are fully focused on that goal.”

Super Bowl Tickets: Two Websites Collecting Names For Class Action Suit

There are two websites that are already up and running collecting names for the class action lawsuits that have been filed. The websites are at and The sites may be working together.

Three quotes from aggrieved fans appear at

"I was one of the fans displaced [without seats]. I was on leave but have returned to Iraq. I have served three tours in Kuwait and Iraq, and have been involved in conflict. I take pride in what I do to protect this country and my family. We put our lives on the line every day, and when I finally get a break to see the one thing that excites me, it gets taken away. The one joy I had this year, gone just like that. I spent a fortune . . . its unreal."
"I had a heart-wrenching decision to decide which of my three sons to take to the game. After major financial cost to get to there, we went through 5 hours of hell trying to get in, and told once we were that there were no seats. (Had to take my) boy to watch the game in a bar on a TV with a 10 second sound delay. Thanks Jerry and NFL. And to find out you knew about this a week before that is unconscionable."
-Mark H.
"I took my 80 year old father to the game as he won tickets through the Green Bay lottery. He had waited 29 years on the season ticket waiting list and he received them in 2001. Taking him to the Super Bowl was going to be the trip of a lifetime. We were one of the 400 to be relocated to the 'hospitality suite'. All we got to see were the Steeler backsides."
-Steve N.

NFL Speaks About Seating Issue

Today NFL executive V.P. of business ventures and Chief Financial Officer Eric Grubman spoke with ProFootballTalk. A transcript of the interview is here.

Grubman was quite candid and honest, and expressed repeatedly how the NFL felt it let down some of its fans. The NFL has accepted responsibility, which is nice to see.

As for the lawsuit, he appreciates that people will exercise their rights. At the same time, he wishes that people would maintain perspective: "people who were filing the lawsuits and the lawyers who are getting so focused on this, I wish they would work on something like world peace because I think we need to keep this in perspective".

Maybe not entirely the right thing to say. Staying on message may be best - we are sorry and will work to fix this.

Under Texas law, there is a reasonable argument that the fans are entitled to all expenses incurred in connection with their trip to Arlington, Texas. On top of that, it can be tough to get compensated for things like loss of enjoyment. Still, it wouldn't hurt to toss in something (couple of Super Bowl tickets) for their frustration and disappointment.

10 Famous Athletes Who Are Also Incredibly Smart

On the list is Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who scored a 1580 on the SAT. He also majored in economics at Harvard.

My favourite on the list is this one:
Ross Ohlendorf: Austin-born Ross Ohlendorf, currently starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, graduated from Princeton with a 3.8 GPA studying operations research and financial engineering. (You know, the easy stuff.) His SAT score was a ridiculous 1520, and in a recent off-season he worked as a volunteer intern for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, contributing to programs designed to trace diseases in livestock. You get the sense that baseball isn't his entire life, just the thing he happens to be doing right now.
Take a read.

Radio Clip: Team 1260 - Super Bowl Lawsuit

Breaking Down NHL TV Deal is reporting that the NHL is hard at work negotiating a TV deal with NBC/Versus (now related companies under the Comcast umbrella). It's reported that the deal could keep hockey with NBC for 4 to 7 years.

A few points:

(a) Even if the NHL signs with NBC/Versus (which is highly likely), there is nothing stopping the NHL from signing deals with OTHER networks like ESPN. Look at the NFL - they are on every major network (except for the Slice channel) - ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. The NHL has invested a lot of its own time and money in Versus so hockey is staying there in all likelihood. With Comcast now on board, seems very unlikely that Versus won't have hockey. Yes it is hockey by appointment, and is not available everywhere; however the foregoing factors keep it there.

(b) Getting on ESPN is important for the NHL. Since ESPN didn't renew its hockey deal, NHL coverage on ESPN has been spotty at best. The exposure the NHL would get through ESPN would be beneficial for its brand. Not only games but also news coverage. And don't forget, ESPN also has the NFL through to 2023. That means lots of people will be watching the network (it has a subscriber of 100 million worth $6 billion). So being on ESPN gets the NHL lots of eyeballs.

(c) The current deal with NBC is not a good one. NBC doesn't pay rights fees. The NHL and NBC just split ad revenue. That's going to change and expect to see NBC pony up some money.

(d) Whatever TV deal is struck, projections have each NHL team getting about $4 million in TV revenue a year. That's almost enough to sign Joffrey Lupul. How does that compare to the NFL? It doesn't. Each NFL team gets a yearly payout of between $150 to $160 million. It's a work in progress for the NHL but things are trending in the right direction.

One suggestion for a better game - make the ice bigger. The size of the ice was designed for players half the size and half the speed of current NHL players. It's a bit like a traffic jam out there and players aren't given the opportunity to create on the ice like they used to. With less room comes more injuries, particularly concussions. With a bigger ice, players would have more room to create, score more goals, all the while decreasing the risk of injury. Gary Roberts said that much recently.

Teams shouldn't be relying on power plays for goal production. We would see a lot more 5 on 5 goals with a bigger ice surface - not to mention a far more exciting game with an accent on player safety.

Why do I mention ice size in a column about TV revenue? Better game = more interest = better TV deal.

Yes I do appreciate that the NHL is a gate driven league as it derives much of its revenue from ticket sales. However, I don't buy the argument that if you eliminate seats in favour of a bigger ice, you lose too much revenue. What you lose in a few rows of seats today you gain 100 fold tomorrow in TV revenue.

The size of the ice hasn't changed - and it should.

I'm not advocating for Olympic size ice. Just something a bit bigger that gives players more of a chance to show what they can do - skate, shoot and score. And all that without getting their heads knocked off.

In an interview this week, Curtis Foster of the Oilers agreed that more ice made more sense.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Radio Clip: Super Bow Seating Lawsuit & Quick Hit On NFL Labor

Listen to my radio clip on the Team 1200 with Steve Lloyd and Jason York. We cover the Cowboys class action lawsuit, and then I cover by way of a quick hit the NFL labor situation. Specifically, I note that the NFL may not lock out the players if they can't come to an agreement. Rather, the NFL may declare an impasse and impose the most recently proposed terms of settlement on the players. Thereafter, the players would have the option of striking or playing. Going on strike may attract negative attention and make the players targets. So that may not happen. The alternative is to play, but also decertify the union and have the players sue the NFL for anti-trust (or competition) violations. Right now the NFL is insulated from anti-trust lawsuits because these violations are in the CBA (labor law trumps anti-trust law). However, once the union decertifies, the NFL is no longer protected and the players can then sue.

Interview With One Aggrieved Fan

Click here to listen to an interview AJ and I conducted with Ron Soncini, one of about 400 fans who was turned away. The interview picks up about 3 minutes in. Clearly, Mr. Soncini is not happy.

Super Bowl: Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Seating Issues

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Texas against the NFL and Cowboys. The style of cause reads as follows: Steve Simms And Mike Dolabi, Individually And On Behalf Of All Others Similarly Situated Vs. Jerral “Jerry” Wayne Jones, National Football League, Dallas Cowboys Football Club, Ltd., JWJ Corporation, Cowboys Stadium, L.P.,Cowboys Stadium GP, LLLC, And Blue & Silver, Inc.

Click here to read the Complaint.

Super Seats: Confirms What We Learned In Our Interview is reporting that the displaced Super Bowl fans had a pretty bad experience:
For McCarthy, the Super Bowl was anything but a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience. “We were so emotionally and physically drained by the time we made it to our seats we were not able to enjoy ourselves,” she says. “We were shaking with exhausted and dehydration. Our experience was ruined.”
Read the article here.

New NFL Offer To Aggrieved Fans; Interview With One Such Fan

The NFL has modified its offer to 400 fans who were turned away from their seats and made to watch the game on monitors or in standing room only corners of the stadium. The NFL initially offered fans 3 times the face value of tickets plus tickets to next year's Super Bowl in Indy. Now the NFL is offering tickets to any Super Bowl plus hotel and airfare.

Yesterday on Sports Ticket on the Team 1200, AJ and I interviewed Ron Soncini, one of the 400 aggrieved fans. He indicated that contrary to reports he was not given free food, beverages or merchandise and there was no concrete offer from the NFL as far as restitution. He was clearly very frustrated, having travelled from Reno for the game. Oh yes - he's a Steeler season ticket holder.

From a legal standpoint, this situation opens itself up to a class action lawsuit. Fans relied on the fact that they would have seats, and made plans in connection with that reliance.

Should be interesting to see where this goes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wall Street Journal: A Round of Boos for Snyder’s Suit

Wall Street Journal writer David Roth has written an article roundly criticizing Dan Snyder's lawsuit.

Take a read.

For background on the lawsuit, please scroll down.

First Do It For Daron Day - Mental Health & Suicide Prevention

On what would have been Daron’s 15th birthday, the family of Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson and the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health are working together. The first "Do It For Daron" day will raise funds for and awareness of youth mental health and suicide prevention programs. Daron took her own life in November, 2010.

You are encouraged to wear purple today, which was Daron's favourite colour.

To donate, please click here.

MPs from across all party lines will wear purple today in the House of Commons to take part in the "Do It for Daron - Purple Pledge Day."

"We lost a beautiful daughter and sister," said Luke Richardson, on behalf of his wife, Stephanie and 16-year-old daughter Morgan. "Daron was also a dear friend and teammate to many. She is sorely missed by all of us."

"At that very tragic time in November we made the decision to speak publically about suicide because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. We wanted to do what was best for Morgan, for the three of us to understand, to remember Daron and move forward." added Richardson.

"We are a close family. We spend a lot of time together. We talk about a lot of things; sex, drugs, alcohol, bullying and the internet. But there was one conversation we never had. Mental health. Suicide. We pray and hope that you have that conversation yourself, or with a friend or family member."

The Richardsons' openness and desire for everyone to "have that conversation" has prompted the Sens Foundation and Ottawa Senators to host an annual D.I.F.D. Youth Mental Health Awareness Night at Scotiabank Place. The first event will happen when the Senators play the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, February 26.

The event will highlight for fans the issues of youth mental illness and promote organizations and resources within the community that offer mental health support services to youth and their families. Fans will also be able to participate in fundraising activities.

The Richardson family announced a personal donation of $100,000 to match the generosity of what the community has contributed to the Daron Richardson Fund at the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. These funds will also be directed to the early identification and intervention program and study for youth at the Royal Ottawa.

A video tribute to Daron.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Displaced Fans Get Super Bowl Tix For Next Year

About 400 fans that were denied seating despite having tickets for the Super Bowl. The NFL is trying to make it better and has offered the aggrieved fans triple the face value of their tickets together with tickets to next year's Super Bowl.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the problems with the seats were "obviously a failure on our behalf," and the league takes responsibility. Expect releases to accompany the tickets.


According to the New York Post, the NFL knew for a week there were problems with the installation of temporary Super Bowl seating sections. The Cowboys, however, did not feel until the game day there was an issue, stating "there was a distinct possibility that we wouldn't be able to accommodate fans."

Why were the fans turned away? The Cowboys stated that issues arose with the "final installation of railings, of tightening risers, steps, things of that nature - and that's what did not get completed at the end."

From a legal standpoint, the issue is whether aggrieved fans are in a position to recover things such as travel costs, hotels, etc. having relied on having a seat for the game. Making the argument for costs related to reliance in not unreasonable.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snyder Lawsuit: Washington City Paper Launches Legal Defense Fund

In response to Redskin owner Dan Snyder's libel lawsuit, the Washington City Paper has launched a legal defence fund.

Here's an excerpt from City Paper's article:
This is getting fun.
Since news broke that Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder planned to file a lawsuit over Washington City Paper's "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," we've been overwhelmed by the support we've received.

...Today, we're announcing the Washington City Paper Legal Defense Fund: Your chance to stand against Snyder's lawsuit, and with City Paper. This isn't really about the money. (Though the money definitely helps—this case will be expensive, even though we’re well-prepared to fight it.) Whatever we raise will be used to pay our legal costs, and whatever we don't spend fighting Snyder's lawsuit, we'll give to a local charity in the spirit of this fund. This is about showing Snyder you support our right—and anyone's right—to write the truth about him, or any powerful public figure, even if it's not flattering.

Please don't send us money you can't afford to spare; we know what the economy is like, and we value your moral support just as much as your financial support. City Paper is not a non-profit organization, which means contributions to our legal defense fund are not charitable donations and are not tax-exempt for federal, state, or D.C. income tax purposes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stevenson Writes About Brendan Burke's Legacy; Alfie, Avery Weigh In

If you have time, read Chris Stevenson's article Burke's legacy opens door to gay players. The article addresses tolerance and whether the NHL is open for an openly gay teammate. Here's a brief excerpt with comments from Daniel Alfredsson and Sean Avery: 
The players are saying the right things.

"I just believe that it is a person's right to be what they are," Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "If they are gay, it would probably be really hard to have to hide it all the time. There will always be people opposed to it, I suppose. But I have a feeling that overall, it would be accepted.

"Obviously, there is a lot of stigma involved in it. Once you cross that hurdle, if someone does come out, you learn how to deal with it. You find a way. If someone is uncomfortable with it, you work around it.

"I wouldn't personally have an issue or feel anything toward someone who is gay."

New York Rangers forward Sean Avery said he recognizes how difficult it would be for the first publicly gay NHL player.

"I think it would certainly be a tough thing for somebody to do," he told QMI Agency, "but I would be open to having a gay teammate, I really would.

"It's really nothing at this point, it's not anything. It's nobody's business, really."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Skins Owner Snyder Sues - And It's Not Haynesworth He's After

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is suing, and it's not Albert Haynesworth he's after.

Snyder sued Washington City Paper over a column he alleges defamed him. Snyder filed the lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday. The suit seeks at least US$1 million in damages for each of the two causes of action, plus punitive damages.

The cover story entitled The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder had an altered photo of the owner with horns and a beard drawn in pen. The suit claims the weekly newspaper used "lies, half-truths, innuendo and anti-Semitic imagery to smear, malign, defame and slander" Snyder. The story was written by Dave McKenna, who is described by the City Paper as a "stellar reporter".

This being Super Bowl week, I can't imagine the NFL is loving the timing of the lawsuit.

In part, Snyder alleges as follows:
The City Paper falsely and maliciously asserts that Mr. Snyder has engaged in "heinous deeds" and acts of treachery, disloyalty, and deceit. The most egregious falsehoods in the Article (or items referenced in the Article) ("the Misrepresentations") include, without limitations, the following:

a. that "Dan caught forging names as a telemarketer with Snyder Communications;"

b. that Mr. Snyder caused Agent Orange to be used to destroy trees "protected by the National Park Service" on "federally protected lands," a matter about which previously published reports had been publicly corrected;

c. that Mr. Snyder bragged that his wealth came from diabetes and cancer victims; and

d. That Snyder was "tossed off" the Six Flags board of directors.

While City Paper is located in Washington, the lawsuit is in New York on the basis that City Paper's parent company Atalaya Capital, which is also being sued, operates in New York.

Personally, I didn't know of the existence of this article until now.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Forbes: Most Disliked Players

In the article The Most Disliked People In Sports, Tom Van Riper reveals the top ten most disliked people in sports. Topping the list is maverick Al Davis and rounding it out is the enigmatic Randy Moss. Names sandwiched in between include Mark McGwire, Albert Haynesworth, Tiger Woods and Michael Vick.

Conspicuous by their absence are Big Ben, Barry Bonds, LeBron James, A-Rod, Palmeiro, Lance Armstrong and the cast from Dancing With The Stars.

For me, Al Davis is not someone to hate; he's too entertaining. As for Randy Moss, my guess is that fantasy owners that drafted him won't object.

The one guy I have a problem with on this list Mark McGwire. He never completely took responsibility for cheating and has remained somewhat deviant.

Who do you think is missing from the list? Who on the list should be removed?