Every Monday The White Bronco’s “This Week in Sports Law” previews the week to come in the sports legal world. Here is a look at what is going on this week:
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Be sure to check out The White Bronco’s calendar to keep track of all of the key upcoming sports law dates.[/pullquote]
Le’Veon Bell Suspension Appeal
On Friday, news broke that the NFL suspended Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell for four games for allegedly missing “several” drug tests. Due to his DUI and marijuana possession arrest and resulting two-game suspension last year, Bell was automatically entered into the NFL’s Intervention Program and subject to additional drug testing.
According to ESPN, Bell has appealed the suspension although the appeal date has not been set. Under the NFL’s Policy and Program on Substance Abuse (“Policy”), appeal hearings are scheduled to take place within 30 days following the notice of discipline. It is unknown when the notice of discipline was served, but under the terms of the Policy, the latest the appeal hearing will take place is August 21st.
Unlike suspensions under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, Commissioner Roger Goodell does not have the power to preside over drug related suspension appeals. Instead, a neutral third-party arbitrator (selected among a pool of arbitrators jointly selected by the NFL and NFLPA) will serve as the hearing officer on appeal.
Because of the Policy’s confidentiality provision, it is unknown what “Stage” of the program Bell is currently classified under. Thus, assuming that Bell’s appeal is not successful, another failed or missed drug test could result in a four game suspension, ten game suspension, or a one-year banishment from the League.
Derrick Rose Going to Trial?
As we discussed in more detail, Derrick Rose’s attorneys were back in court last week arguing Rose’s motion for summary judgment. After argument, as expected, the judge took the matter under advisement, stating that an order will issue. There is no deadline for the judge to issue an order but it is worth noting that the judge distributed a “tentative ruling” to the parties prior to argument. This likely means that, unless the judge changes his mind, a formal ruling will be issued sooner rather than later.
This is definitely one to keep an eye on. If the Plaintiff convinces the court to deny Rose’s motion, the case (barring settlement) will likely be headed for trial. The trial is currently scheduled to begin in Los Angeles on October 4th – during Knicks training camp.
Here are the relevant documents:
- Rose’s Motion for Summary Judgment
- Plaintiff’s Response to Rose’s Motion
- 74 pages of comparing each sides version of the facts
From Last Week: