Column: Big Money Salaries In Sports Can Be SustainedAugust 10, 2017

NBA free agency opened on July 1 and teams wasted no time in signing their own or other teams’ free agents to what may appear to be exorbitant contracts. Stephen Curry re-signed with the Golden State Warriors for five years and just over $200 million. Kyle Lowry signed a 3-year $100 million contract to stay with the Toronto Raptors. Gordon Hayward left the Utah Jazz to sign a 4-year $128 million contract with the Boston Celtics. Blake Griffin decided to stick with the only team he has known, the Los Angeles Clippers. You would too if they agreed to pay you $173 million over five years despite being plagued by injuries, as Griffin has been during the past few years.

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Column: Relegation In US Sports Leagues A Tough SellAugust 3, 2017

Four billion dollars. That’s a significant sum in virtually any context, unless we’re talking about the federal budget. And yet Major League Soccer (MLS) said “No thanks” to an offer that would have netted the League that amount over a 10-year period. Riccardo Silva, founder of MP & Silva, an international sports media company, made the proposal in exchange for MLS’s worldwide media rights. But the offer came with a condition. MLS would have been required to adopt the promotion and relegation system that is utilized in European sports leagues. Simply stated, pro/rel is a process where teams “transfer” between two leagues or divisions based on their performance during the previous season. The best teams in the lower league/division are “promoted” to the higher level for the next season, and the worst teams in the higher league/division are “relegated” to the lower level for the following year.

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Column: LPGA Fashion Police Out OF ControlJuly 27, 2017

“I know it when I see it…” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, struggling to define pornography in Jacobellis v. Ohio. Beware! The fashion police are coming to a golf course near you. The LPGA announced a new dress code that went into effect prior to last week’s Marathon Classic. Reaction from the media and touring professionals was mixed. Some pros supported their organization, others panned it for being sexist and out of touch with the times.

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Column: MLB All-Star Game Now An ExhibitionJuly 20, 2017

The MLB All-Star Game is now the equal of its counterparts in the NFL, NBA and NHL – an exhibition, not a game. Last week baseball’s best players gathered in Miami for the sport’s annual Mid-Summer Classic. Once the game began, it was obvious the participants were more focused on having fun than the score. For the previous 14 seasons, the game meant something: The winning league earned home-field advantage in the World Series. Almost everyone – fans, players, television and MLB – seemed to embrace the new format. Bud Selig may have been an exception.

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Column: MLB Ump Sues League For Racial DiscriminationJuly 13, 2017

On the eve of baseball’s celebration of our nation’s birth, MLB umpire Angel Hernandez filed a lawsuit against the league and Commissioner Rob Manfred alleging racial discrimination against minority umpires. Hernandez’ suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, comes on the heels of two discrimination charges he filed against MLB with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in June. Why Hernandez chose to go public with his complaints at this time is unknown. What we do know for certain is Hernandez should consider himself extremely fortunate to still have a job as one of MLB’s 92 umpires. The Cuban-born Hernandez, 55, began his MLB career as a part-time umpire in1993 and was promoted to a full time position in 1995. Throughout the past 25 years, he has consistently been rated among the five worst umpires in the league.

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Column: Bill To Eliminate Stadium Tax Benefits DOAJuly 6, 2017

Sound the trumpets, Congress has introduced yet another bill to eliminate the federal tax benefit of using municipal bonds to finance the construction of sports stadiums. Senators Cory Booker, D-N.J., and James Lankford, R-OK. are sponsoring a bill that would prohibit teams from using municipal bonds to help finance stadium construction. In a statement accompanying the introduction of their bill, Booker said, "Professional sports teams generate billions of dollars in revenue. There's no reason why we should give these multimillion-dollar businesses a federal tax break to build new stadiums. It's not fair to finance these expensive projects on the backs of taxpayers…"

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Column: Redskins Win Legal CaseJune 29, 2017

On an 8-0 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) effectively overturned a U.S. District Court case that decided the Washington Redskins name violated the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act. The irony is that the Redskins weren’t even a party to the case. The Lanham Act, passed by Congress in 1946, allows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to deny federal registration for trademarks that “may disparage ... persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs or national symbols.” Any trademark – defined as a word, symbol or other mark that distinguishes a source of goods from others – can be denied protection, even cancelled, if it disparages a substantial percentage of a distinct group of people, be it a racial, ethnic, religious or political group.

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Column: Deleting Track Records Would Set Dangerous PrecedentJune 22, 2017

Track and field’s longest-standing outdoor world record is in danger, but not from a contestant on the track. In 1983, Jarmila Kratochvilova of the Czech Republic, then part of what was called Czechoslovakia, ran the 800 meters in 1 minute 53.28 seconds, a record that stands to this day. Kratochvilova was 32 at the time, an age when most short-distance runners are beyond their prime. That’s why a group of European track officials, in a move some are calling an attempt to “restore credibility” to their sport, recommended last month that the sport’s global governing body void all world records set before 2005. That was the year when track and field began storing blood and urine samples for use in sophisticated drug screenings.

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Column: Sports Betting Is InevitableJune 15, 2017

Sports betting is coming to a place near you, perhaps sooner than you think. And that place may be as close as your hand. Last month the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a draft of legislation designed to repeal the last vestiges of federal prohibitions on sports betting. If passed, the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act, or “GAME Act,” would give the Federal Trade Commission oversight authority to regulate sports gambling, including online gambling. The GAME Act would repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), the federal law that prohibits state-sponsored sports betting in all but four states - Delaware, Oregon, Nevada and Montana – which were grandfathered by PASPA.

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Column: Is The Cuban Influx In MLB Over?June 8, 2017

When Luis Robert, a 19-year old outfielder, signed a free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox last week he was touted in some circles as the last of a dying breed: A Cuban ballplayer signing for mega-bucks. That may or may not be true, but even if it is, don’t count on Robert being the last Cuban player signed by an MLB team. MLB teams are perpetually in search of talent, the less expensive the better. Furthermore, the competition among clubs to sign the best players is fierce. No team wants to be looking up at 29 other teams in the standings or hearing from the media and their fans how the rest of the league is “smarter” than they are in evaluating talent. It’s because of that competition that over the past seven years teams have collectively guaranteed almost $800 million on mostly unproven Cuban players.

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