~ A Mediator's Musings ~

May 22, 2014 – College Athletes, the Union and the NLRB: Be Careful What You Wish For

In our last musings, we tried to evaluate the implications of the decision by Peter Ohr, Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board, that Northwestern University’s football players receiving athletic scholarships are employees of the university and have the right to vote to join a union under federal law. As we noted, only 17 of the 125 (more…)


April 18, 2014–Northwestern Football and the Union–What Difference Will It Make?

So Northwestern football players may become members of the first union to represent college athletes.  The College Athlete Players Association (“CAPA”), a group apparently consisting of one ex–Northwestern football player named Kain Colter and two other individuals, but backed (for reasons that are not totally clear) by the powerful United (more…)


December 17, 2012 ~ The NFL and Concussions (continued)

We noted last time that the Master Complaint filed on behalf of the ex-players in the concussion litigation relies in part on the Mike Webster case.1 In that case, the Board that administered a retirement and disability plan for ex-players and composed of owner and player representatives awarded Mr. Webster benefits (more…)


December 3, 2012 ~ We’re Back! The NFL and Concussions

While we were away, the number of ex-players suing the NFL in the consolidated concussion litigation has grown to almost 4,000. The NFL has filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the players’ claims cannot be heard in a courtroom. The NFL argues, in summary, that these claims essentially arise under the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with the Players Association or (more…)


July 5, 2012 ~ The Saints: The Players Are Tackled for a Loss

Where have we been, you might ask?  Sadly, the press of other affairs has diverted us from our appointed rounds.   We promised some thoughts on the NFL concussion litigation, but meanwhile not one, but two, arbitrators have ruled on the Saints players’ grievance appeals from the penalties the Commissioner imposed for their participation in the “bounty” program. As we predicted on May 9, (more…)


May 21, 2012 ~ Ryan Braun, MLB and Drugs: The Aftermath

We interrupt our program on the NFL concussions and bounties to bring you this “breaking news.”

The Ryan Braun case that we wrote about on March 6 may have had at least one somewhat surprising result. MLB has now terminated the services of the arbitrator,  (more…)


May 9, 2012 ~ W[h]ither the NFL and the Future of Football?
A Mediator’s Thoughts

The National Football League is always in the news.That’s what you’d expect of the sport that is generally viewed as our most popular. And usually the publicity is good, at least as far as the NFL and its players are concerned—yes, we’ve seen labor conflicts, but they get settled; attendance and ticket prices rise; TV contracts (more…)


April 24, 2012 ~ Malcolm Gladwell, the NBA and the Lockout:
A Mediator’s Dissent (part 2)

In our last post, we began a discussion of Malcolm Gladwell’s piece in Grantland, in which he asserts that NBA owners are not really in business, that they have to own their teams purely for the “psychic benefits” that ownership of a sports team provides, and that if an owner does care whether he makes money with his team, he should sell the team to someone else who will own it for the right reasons. Mr. Gladwell published his piece during the NBA lockout, and his words critique the (more…)


April 11, 2012 ~ Malcolm Gladwell, the NBA and the Lockout:
A Mediator’s Dissent (part 1)

My kids’ holiday gift to me was a subscription to a quarterly compilation of selected pieces from Grantland, a sports and pop culture website brainchild of sports maven Bill Simmons. Now, I don’t look at the Grantland website regularly, so the first issue I got from my kids included stuff that was already several months old when I saw it for the first time.

The compilation included a piece by Malcolm Gladwell, the New Yorker writer and (more…)


March 30, 2012 ~ Malcolm Gladwell and Sports Team Ownership:
A Preview (the Dodgers)

Events have a way of catching up with all of us.

Our next post will be our dissent from best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell’s piece published a few months ago in Grantland on the NBA lockout and sports team ownership, but recent news has persuaded us to give our readers this preview. Mr. Gladwell’s basic premise is that if you want to own a sports team to make money, (more…)