Each week 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:
Be sure to check out The White Bronco’s calendar to keep track of all of the key upcoming sports law dates.
MLB Strike On The Horizon?
Major League Baseball’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, signed in 2012, expires on Thursday. After 21 consecutive years of labor peace, MLB owners will consider voting to lockout if the deadline passes without a deal, Fox Sports reported last week. Disputed issues include draft pick compensation for free agents, the international draft, competitive balance tax, and the joint drug agreement. If a side locks out, business operations, free agency, and trades will be put on hold until the sides agree on a new deal.
Related: PDF of MLB’s existing CBA.
It is possible – and probably likely – that the timing of this news leak reflects an attempt by the owners to put pressure on the players to close the deal on the owners’ terms. In reality, the sides have months to come to a deal before any meaningful deadline passes (missing games). However, with two new leaders at the head of each side of the bargaining table (Tony Clark for the MLBPA and Rob Manfred for the MLB), there is always a chance that the negotiation could grow contentious and go off the rails, but for now, most close to the negotiations predict that a deal will get done without a meaningful stoppage.
Darren Sharper’s (Final) Sentencing
After three years of legal proceedings, today Darren Sharper was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Los Angeles judge. One of Sharper’s victims had this to say in court today:
After a federal judge rejected a global plea deal, where Sharper would have only received an eight-year sentence, he has accumulated the following sentences (which will be served at the same time):
- Louisiana Federal Court – 18 years
- Los Angeles State Court – 20 years
- Louisiana State Court – 20 years
Sharper is appealing (at least) the 18-year federal sentence. Sharper (inexplicably) was included on the 2017 NFL Hall of Fame ballot, but was eliminated from consideration when semifinalists were announced earlier this month.
Aldon Smith Reinstatement Decision
On November 17, 2015, the NFL banished Raiders DL Aldon Smith for one-year for violating the League’s Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse. Under the policy, if a player is banished, they are not automatically reinstated following the one-year sentence. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, based on the recommendation of NFL’s Medical Director, determines whether to reinstate the player. The is the criteria for reinstatement:
Smith applied for reinstatement on October 3rd and Goodell has 60 days (this Friday) to respond to his application. In the past, most notably in Josh Gordon’s case, Goodell has viewed the 60 days as a suggested deadline so don’t be surprised if Friday’s deadline passes without an announcement from the NFL.
Here is the "60 day" Josh Gordon reinstatement deadline language. Another poor drafting job on the NFLPA's part. pic.twitter.com/MfVDCmyHoo
— Dan Werly (@WerlySportsLaw) March 21, 2016
According to ESPN, “there is guarded optimism within the Raiders organization that Smith will be reinstated and allowed to finish out the season.”
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New SportsLaw Documents: