Sports and the Law

Spend just a small bit of time around me and you will quickly figure out that I am a sports nut.  Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, you name it, I like watching it.  So you can understand how proud I am to represent several clients who at one time or another were stars in their respective sports.

It is because of this niche group of clients that I am occasionally asked to comment on the seemingly endless news stories where sports and the law intersect.

Click any of the links below to read, listen or watch me talk about legal issues in sports:


Each week on The BS Show Bob Sansevere and I do a segment which we call “3 And Out”, a segment about sports that features three topics each week.  3 And Out is now included within The BS Show every Tuesday, and you can listen to the most recent segments on The BS Show page.  Below are the earliest segments when 3 And Out was produced as a separate standalone show:

November 8, 2017:  Bob and I are joined by Dan Gerl of Minnesota Bank & Trust and Greg Freeman of Executive Suites of Minnesota to discuss the latest in the legal battle between the NFL and Ezekiel Elliott, whether a Cleveland Browns executive intentionally sabotaged the A.J. McCarron trade, and Papa Johns threatening to end its NFL sponsorship deal.

November 1, 2017: It’s the “NFL Owners Gone Wild” edition of 3 And Out, and Bob and I are joined by Kevin Cusick and Tom Schreier to talk about recent foibles of Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, “ranking owner” Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, and whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will receive a contract extension…among other topics….

October 25, 2017: Bob and I discuss Matt Birk’s comments about NFL players standing for the anthem, a protester gets protested, and something called “E-sports”, which really aren’t sports at all.

October 18, 2017: Bob and I discuss the Colin Kaepernick collusion “kerfuffle”, and more.

October 11, 2017: Bob and I tackle several hot topics, including the NFL’s sudden interest in encouraging players to stand during the national anthem. As Randy Moss once said, it’s about the “straight cash, homie.”

October 4, 2017:  Bob and I are joined by financial adviser and author Nicole Middendorf for a lively discussions about the the national anthem protests in the NFL, domestic violence in football, and the scandal rocking college basketball in the latest BS Show presentation of “3 and Out.”

September 27, 2017:  Bob and I drill down into the NFL protests over the past weekend and come up with some interesting and thought-provoking critiques in the latest BS Show presentation of “3 And Out.”

September 20, 2017: The Tommies and Johnnies continue one of college football’s storied rivalries Saturday at Target Field. St. John’s alum and author Boz Bostrom and I have a friendly rivalry of our own discussing the big game in this episode of The BS Show’s 3 And Out.

September 13, 2017: Former NFL quarterback and current Cretin-Derham Hall football coach Brooks Bollinger joins me and Bob for a lively and informative discussion about youth sports and concussions.

September 6, 2017: The Pioneer Press’ Kevin Cusick joins Bob and me for lively discussions about all the money funneled into kids and kids sports, early college commitments and the Ezekiel Elliott standoff with the NFL.

August 30, 2017: Bob and I tackle some “hot” topics on this edition of 3 And Out:  San Antonio’s Robert E. Lee High School – alma mater of legendary Minnesota Viking Tommy Kramer – changes its name, a high school football coach is told by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that he cannot bow or pray before or after games, and the New York Times asks if football fans are racist.

August 23, 2017: Bob and I anoint ESPN as D-Bag of the Day for removing an announcer named Robert Lee from a college football game in the South, and we discuss the legal implications of the release of nude photos of Tiger Woods and Wolves standout Andrew Wiggins firing his agent.

August 9, 2017: Bob and I delve into the possibility of the NFL allowing medical marijuana use by players.

August 3, 2017:  Bob and I discuss the results of a recent JD Power survey on NFL viewership, Colin Kapernick’s future, and the NBA’s decision to allow jersey ads for the upcoming season.

July 26, 2017:  In the latest episode of The BS Show presentation of 3 And Out, Bob and I discuss what a good thing it is that Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck is doing by donating money earned through his “Row the Boat” slogan.  For more on this story, visit the blog.

July 19, 2017:  Bob and I delve into the Vikings’ decision to move training camp from Mankato to Eagan, site of their new offices and practice facility, in this episode of The BS Show’s presentation of 3 And Out.

July 12, 2017:  In this episode of The BS Show presentation of 3 And Out, Bob I and talk with former Vikings tight end John Beasley about getting rich with his investment in a gold mine.  For more on this story, visit the blog.

July 5, 2017: Bob and I discuss the financial windfall of being inducted on a Hall of Fame, as well as the Vikings’ and Twins’ Ring of Honor. We also delve into Jeff Teague’s signing with the Timberwolves and tennis star Venus Williams’ involvement in the death of another motorist.

June 28, 2017:  We delve into a report that Minnesota’s high income tax is hurting the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and Wild chances of attracting free agents and winning championships.

June 21, 2017:  We get into how a Supreme Court decision helps the Washington Redskins keep their nickname, as well as Michael Floyd’s claim he had tea in his system and not alcohol, and the scandal involving Louisville basketball.

June 14, 2017: My good friend and occasional golfing partner, former Vikings tight end Stu Voigt, joins Bob and I to talk about his six-month stretch in prison in this episode of The BS Show’s presentation of 3 And Out.

June 7, 2017:  My good friend and former colleague Lee Hutton joins me and Bob Sansevere for a lively and informative discussion about the football-related scandal at Baylor in this episode of The BS Show presentation of 3 And Out.

May 31, 2017:  The BS Show presentation of 3 And Out touches on the abundance of scandals at the University of Minnesota as well of Tiger Woods’ DUI charge and the NFLPA possibly pushing for a work stoppage.

May 24, 2017:  The BS Show’s presentation of 3 And Out with Bob and me includes University of St. Thomas basketball coach John Tauer for a lively discussion about whether college athletes should be paid.

May 17, 2017:  In a new addition to The BS Show lineup, Bob Sansevere and I offer 3 And Out, a segment about sports that features three topics each week. This week’s topics: the aftermath of Aaron Hernandez’s suicide, trap shooting issues and how much of a pain in the keister basketball dad LeVar Ball can be.

Case in Point Podcasts:


It was a good run, and then it was done.

The worlds of sports and law often collide, and the results can be both highly entertaining and extremely educational.  For nineteen glorious episodes, “Case in Point” featured yours truly and Dave Harrigan from 1500 ESPN Twin Cities’ Mackey & Judd Show, discussing the latest legal issues affecting the sports world in Minnesota and beyond and the impact those issues have on fans. 

Episode 19:  Row the Boat! How PJ Fleck acquired the slogan: In what turned out to be the final episode of Case in Point, Dave and I discuss PJ Fleck and his Row the Boat slogan. We discuss how he developed Row the Boat, how and why he purchased the rights from Western Michigan, how it may be used by the University of Minnesota, and how registering for a trademark can benefit anyone building a business behind a phrase or slogan.

Episode 18: A National Signing Day episode:  We discuss National Signing Day and the rights of student athletes and colleges when verbal commitments are made and, eventually, letters of intent are signed.

Episode 17:  Rickey Foggie on state of Gophers football, athletic department: Dave and I are joined by former Gopher quarterback Rickey Foggie for this episode to talk about the Gopher football program, the scandal and boycott that have led up to the Holiday Bowl. We discuss how due process applies in this case, Rickey shares his thoughts on the state of the program and they discuss where they believe the program should go from here.

Episode 16: NBA players should be thrilled with the new collective bargaining agreement: We discuss the new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players. I explain some of the details within the agreement and why it seems to be a great deal for the players. The guys also discuss the possibility of UFC fighters formally unionizing and the hazing policy included in the new CBA with Major League Baseball.

Episode 15: Who gets what in the new Major League Baseball labor deal?: Dave Harrigan and I discuss the new collective bargaining agreement for Major League Baseball. They talk about some of the changes from the previous agreement and what five more years of labor peace means for MLB.

Episode 14:  Infamous sports business deals: Professional sports are a business, in more ways than you might think. Player contracts, collective bargaining agreements, endorsements and stadium deals are some of the more visible business issues, but there are many other business transactions that surround professional sports all the time. While most of these “other” deals are relatively mundane, a few have become the stuff of legend. In Episode 14, Dave and I take a look at three of these famous, or rather, infamous, business deals from the sports world.

Episode 13: Ramifications and fallout of the U of M sexual assault case: A discussion about the alleged sexual assault and restraining orders filed against the University of Minnesota Gopher football players with Dave Harrigan  and Jeff O’Brien  — including some of the unique points about this case, how the harassment restraining order process works, and Jeff shared some related stories from both his professional and person life.

Episode 12: Diving into the Joe Mauer and Adrian Peterson contracts: in this episode we discuss the contracts of both Joe Mauer and Adrian Peterson, the differences in guaranteed vs non-guaranteed deals in the NFL and MLB, and what factors have led to baseball contracts being much more player friendly overall.

Episode 11: How collective bargaining agreements came to be in professional sports: on this episode of Case in Point, we talk about the CBAs in our major sports. We talk about the reason these agreements came into being, compared the power held by players unions and league offices, the differences in how discipline is handed down, the appeal process, and some of the practical takeaways for anyone negotiating a labor contract.

Episode 10: A conversation about athletes who protest, from multiple perspectives: On this episode of Case in Point, we break down the Colin Kaepernick situation. We talk about how the 1st amendment applies to Colin or any athletes who choose to speak out on controversial issues, other athletes who have joined Kaepernick in his protest, what might finally cause the NFL to react, and how the 1st amendment applies to all forms of protest.

Episode 9: U of M vs J Robinson: an Employment Law Perspective, August 23, 2016:  . We talk about the J Robinson debacle and contract dispute with the University of Minnesota, what the language in his contract means, why they are at an impasse in regards to his termination/buyout, and the practical takeaways for anyone, employer or employee, when it comes to contracts and employment law.

Episode 8: New Perspectives on Deflategate, August 11, 2016:  On this episode of Case in Point, we are joined again by Brooks Bollinger, getting Brooks’ opinions on the Patriots and whether or not deflating the footballs can help, and I share my viewpoints on the legal issues and how the case progressed through the court system.

Episode 7: Major League Hacking, July 28, 2016:  On this episode of Case in Point, we recap the situation with Chris Correa of the Cardinals hacking into the information database of the Houston Astros, his punishment, the laws that govern such corporate espionage, and what the everyday person can do to protect themselves online.

Episode 6: How Athletes Get Ripped Off and Scammed, July 14, 2016: On this episode we talk about athletes and their financial deals based off the of the Mark Sanchez story from a couple weeks ago. How athletes get involved with different scams and bad deals, how athletes and any average person can avoid it by getting the right representation behind them, and the role of lawyers, advisors, etc. in protecting their clients in business deals.

Episode 5: A Legal Perspective on the O.J. Simpson Trial, June 24, 2016: All about OJ, that’s the story of this episode of Case in Point. We discuss the criminal trial and how race took over, the civil trial, Fred Goldman’s dogged pursuit of OJ’s assets, the armed robbery incident. And the fact that OJ is up for parole in 2017.

Episode 4: Coach-Parent Dynamics in Youth Sports, June 8, 2016:  We talk about the dynamics between coaches and parents in youth sports, the legal rights that protect coaches from abusive parents, and the need for administrators to adopt more comprehensive policies to protect their coaches, rather than cut and run when complaints are brought from parents.

Episode 3: Should Celebrities Have More Control Over Their Likenesses?, May 26, 2016:  On this episode of Case in Point with Jeff O’Brien and 1500 ESPN’s Dave Harrigan, the boys discuss the PRINCE act, which failed to pass through the Minnesota legislature during the recently concluded session, and laws regarding personal privacy and publicity protections. Jeff tells about how publicity laws have impacted clients of his such as Carl Eller and Tommy Kramer and how those laws can impact any normal person, not just athletes and other celebrities.

Episode 2: Will Daily Fantasy Sports be Legalized in Minnesota?, May 9, 2016:  On this episode we take on the topic of daily fantasy sports. More specifically: – A description and update on the progress of the current bill in the MN legislature – What the impact will be on daily fantasy players whether the bill passes or not – How and why states like New York, Illinois and Nevada have taken stands against daily fantasy – The differences between legalized gambling, Indian gaming, fantasy sports etc. in the eyes of the law

Episode 1: How Will the New Concussion Awareness Impact Football’s Future? (with Brooks Bollinger), April 29, 2016

Other Sports and Law Resources:

Why Athletes Go Broke, Prosperwell with Nicole Middendorf, December 5, 2017

NFL Threatens Suspensions in PED Investigation, Mackey and Judd, August 17, 2016

Gopher Wrestling Program In Trouble for Selling Xanax Pills, Mackey and Judd, May 27, 2016

Representing Retired Athletes (Co-Authored with Carl Eller), Hennepin Lawyer, May 2016

Tom Brady’s Suspension Reinstated, Mackey and Judd, April 26, 2016

Hulk Hogan-Gawker Jury Verdict, Mackey and Judd, March 23, 2016

Minnesota Timberwolves Ticket Lawsuit and Gophers Basketball Legal Issues, Mackey and Judd, March 7, 2016

Vikings-Wells Fargo Lawsuit/Peyton Manning Legal Drama, Mackey and Judd, February 16, 2016

Joe Kapp Discloses Alzheimer’s Diagnosis, KARE 11, February 8, 2016

Albertville Attorney at Home in Valhalla, North Wright County Today, January 13, 2016

The Art of Contract Negotiation aka Where Ragnar Went Wrong, Jeffrey O’Brien Today, October 6, 2015

Cris Carter Rookie Symposium Controversy, KARE 11 Interview, August 24, 2015

St. Louis Cardinals-Houston Astros Hacking Issues, KARE 11 Interview, June 16, 2015

Star RB Adrian Peterson returns to Minnesota Vikings, KARE 11 Interview, June 3, 2015

“Adrian Peterson”, News and Views with Roshini Rajkumar, WCCO 830 AM, November 23, 2014

The Name Game: Making Sense of the Cancellation of the Washington Football Team’s Trademarks, North Wright County Today, June 25, 2014

Chris Kluwe vs. the Minnesota Vikings: a Legal Analysis.  St. Michael Patch, January 7, 2014

Chris Kluwe vs. the Minnesota Vikings, “News and Views”, WCCO 830 AM, January 5, 2014

“Oscar Pistorius and Other Sports Scandals”, News and Views with Roshini Rajkumar, WCCO 830 AM, February 24, 2013

“Kaepernicking”™: The Importance for Athletes to Protect Their Brand, The Jeffrey O’Brien Today, February 3, 2013

Interview with Carl Eller and Roshini Rajkumar, “News and Views”, WCCO 830 AM, January 20, 2013

Understanding the Corporate Structure of the Green Bay Packers, Jeffrey O’Brien Today, February 7, 2011