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Legal news and analysis of the NFL

Show Me the Money: Why Do Local Governments Subsidize Sports? – Part One

At a time when local governments are strapped for cash while professional sports leagues collect higher profits than ever, cities and states pour money into stadium development projects and incentives for local sports teams in an effort to attract or retain professional sports in the area. Why do local governments value private, for-profit entertainment so highly, and what makes them so willing to invest millions in it?

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Why Deflategate Is Here to Stay

The National Football League has been unable to avoid negative media attention since the final whistle of last year’s Super Bowl. So for the sake of symmetry and irony, it’s perfect that the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLIX are steeped in controversy. To be honest, I don’t think the NFL, its media partner NBC (which is broadcasting this year’s game), or the advertisers particularly mind. Not that the Super Bowl needs controversy to generate an audience, but it would not surprise me to see this year’s game draw its highest ever TV rating – in part because people want to see how Tom Brady fares with a properly inflated ball.

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Why was that Sexual Assault Lawsuit against Jerry Jones and the Cowboys Dismissed? A Few Theories…

It was widely reported last week that Jana Weckerly had resolved her sexual assault lawsuit against Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys, and Jones's attorneys. Both sides vehemently deny that any money was paid to Weckerly to resolve and dismiss the case, but can that really be true, especially after the parties engaged in an extensive mediation that culminated in the resolution? Here are a few theories regarding what happened behind closed doors.

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The NFL Is Still Safe At Home

The FCC’s repeal of its Sports Blackout Rules was merely grandstanding and has no tangible effect. However, it does signal a public recognition that the four major sports leagues –primarily the NFL because it benefits the most from blackout – no longer need a government crutch to operate and remain profitable. The only way real progress could be made on this issue is if Congress repealed the antitrust immunity granted to home blackouts. Then and only then would the NFL and its broadcast partners alter the current blackout policy in order to avoid the black cloud of treble damages an antitrust suit brought by fans, bars, local networks, and advertisers alike would bring.

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Breaking Down Ray Rice’s Appeal: He Will Win, The Internet May Break

How this appeal plays out will have a big impact on the upcoming revamped NFL Personal Conduct Policy. In fact, the appeal has already impacted how the NFL handles disciplining players for off-field misconduct. Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy were placed on the Commissioner’s Exemption List and likely told that such action does not constitute final discipline. Had the NFL done otherwise, it would be prevented from imposing further discipline in the form of fines or suspensions once the criminal cases are finalized.

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Jerry Jones Sued for Sexual Assault by Former Exotic Dancer who Took Photos of Cowboys Owner…and That’s Only Part of the Story

On September 8, 2014, a former exotic dancer named Jana Weckerly filed a civil suit in the 134th District Court in Dallas County, Texas against Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. In detail that borders on graphic for a legal document, Weckerly alleges in her suit that Jerry Jones touched Weckerley’s genitals, fondled her breasts, forced her to touch or rub his penis, and forced her to watch while Jones received oral sex from another woman. In case you forgot, it's been a rough couple of weeks for the NFL off the field. Ray Rice...Greg Hardy...Adrian Peterson...all being accused of doing some pretty awful stuff. Amidst the evidence of beating women and whipping children, Weckerly’s allegations against Jones and the Cowboys have largely slipped from the headlines. Maybe that's because the allegations against Jones don't affect fantasy football owners all over the country, or because these allegations are civil rather than criminal. Whatever the reason, this is a saga that is definitely worth following.

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It’s Better to Be Right Than First: Why the Commissioner’s Exemption List is a Bad Idea

Here’s the thing about the Peterson situation: the only place he’s been convicted is in the Court of Public Opinion. In its rush to serve up its own form of vigilante pseudo-justice in the wake of intense media and public scrutiny, the Vikings and the NFL seem to have forgotten one of the basic tenets of the legal system: it’s better to be right, than first.

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What is the Commissioner’s Exemption List? Why Have I Never Heard of This Before?

What is the Commissioner's Exemption List? Why have you never heard of it before? Why is it being used to distance the NFL from player's accused of domestic violence?

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The Ray Rice Fallout

The entire situation involving Ray Rice is extremely sad. In the last 72 hours, everyone – and I do mean everyone – has asked if the Ravens and the NFL saw TMZ’s video of the incident inside the elevator prior to its public release. That’s the wrong question. The right question is – What did the Ravens and the NFL expect to see? The way the League handled – or mishandled if you prefer – the Ray Rice situation is Exhibit A for the problems with the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. Everything about the Ray Rice situation has been upsetting, but hopefully this negative can be transformed into a positive by addressing the endemic issue of domestic violence.

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Clarifying the Chaos: What Is Really Going On With the NFL Personal Conduct Policy

Much has been written about the indefinite suspension of Ray Rice, including calls for Roger Goodell to resign or be fired. But few if any articles have taken the time to explain what exactly happened and what could happen from a legal standpoint. The vast majority of the conversation about the suspension has focused on righteous finger-wagging at the NFL, Roger Goodell, and the Ravens. While each of those parties deserves their fair share of scorn, there is an opportunity to learn, grow and move forward that is being missed.

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