Saturday, August 27th, 2011...2:08 pm

Hurricane Update: Irene, Miami … some other stuff too

Jump to Comments

So we admit, the blog has been a little slow recently, but theres been an earthquake and a hurricane all in the last week so can you blame us? In all actuality, the weather has nothing to do with it, but if anyone asks, we are going with that as our excuse, okay? Done and done, especially since our power in Williamsburg could go out at any moment.

Yes, a lot has happened in the interim, most notably the NFL resolving its labor dispute, Brady v. NFL being formally dismissed, the NBA drifting into what looks like a prolonged lockout with no end in sight and all sorts of rules violations in NCAA Football and Basketball. These are all issues we hope to return to shortly, but in the meantime, it is also useful to point out some of the smaller sports law-related stories out there.

  • ESPN recently broke an investigative report on whether the Toronto Blue Jays are stealing opposing signs in the home ballpark. The whole issue becomes complicated by the fact that nowhere is “sign-stealing” explictly prohibited in MLB’s rulebook. Further, sign-stealing is a part of the game. Yet the traditions tend to indicate that any use of a third-person or outside source like technology makes it illegal, while if it’s one player relaying information to another it is perfectly okay. So this question, while never going to be adjudicated in a tribunal or even by the Commissioner’s Office, is really about enforcement. Can you enforce a violation of a law that is not actually on the books?

Of course the Blue Jays dispute the charges, and I tend to agree with them. If the team didn’t have Jose Bautista, would this even be a story? I think this is a way for opposing teams and the media to take a shot at Bautista because they don’t actually believe in his startling rise from replacement-level to Bonds-on-steroids-level. (For those of you into advanced stats, look at his wOBA. Unbelievable numbers that can’t simply be a matter of home-park effects.) Either way, it will be interesting to see if the Blue Jays are formally reprimanded, or even if baseball makes investigation a priority.

  • FIBA, basketball’s international organizing body, has determined that NBA players will be able to play in international leagues during the lockout, despite the status of their NBA contracts. It is an interesting arrangement that seems to make sense on the surface. The NBA has agreed not to object provided that players return to the NBA when (or if?) the lockout ends. Several high-profile players have signed contracts or met with deep-pocketed international teams including Kobe Bryant. The biggest name to sign so far is Nets G Deron Williams, but he will probably be joined by several other all-stars very soon. My concern, what happens to American overseas players who aren’t on NBA contracts and have to play in Europe or other markets to continue their careers. Many leagues limit the number of American players, and even if they didn’t, basketball rosters are small to begin with.
  • In a refreshing development related to the NBA lockout, the summer was filled with stories of NBA stars mixing it up in local summer leagues. Kobe played in LA, Kevin Durant went on a scoring binge in Rucker Park and other venues. Would any of this be happening without the lockout and all the team control (not to mention clauses in contracts)? Anyway, it’s fun to see players reaching out to fans and playing in these leagues, and the good-will may actually help them in the inevitable PR battle that will rage as the lockout drags on.
  • Six retired NFL players have sued the league over concussions, alleging that the NFL hid evidence of the consequences of head injuries and trained players techniques that put them at greater risk. As if the NFL lawyers haven’t been busy enough recently… [The most interesting question in my mind is what firm will the NFL use as outside counsel if the suit ever gets off the ground?]
  • Finally, ponzi schemes are playing a large role in the sports industry these days. From the Madoff scheme to the recent Miami problems. Nevin Shapiro, the Miami booster who claims to have arranged all these illegal benefits, is currently serving a 20-year sentence for his role in a $930 million ponzi scheme. It seems only this arrest and subsequent conviction motivated Shapiro to start talking. Irving Picard, the trustee for the Madoff victims, filed suit earlier this year against the Mets to recover funds; is a suit against these ex-Miami players next? There are some big names on the list of implicated players including Andre Johnson, Vince Wilfork and Jonathan Vilma.

Comments are closed.