Sports Attorney Robert J. Romano will be a guest on FOX Sports Radio, Wednesday, February 12, 2014, from 7 am until 11 am, to discuss Missouri All-American defensive end Michael Sam publicly acknowledging that he is gay, making him potentially the first openly gay NFL player.

Attorney Robert J. Romano will be a guest on WHBC – News Talk 1480 AM with today, Thursday, January 16, 2013 at 3:35 p.m. est to discuss the Alex Rodriguez’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball and the reasons why the Federal Judge rejected the agreement filed in the NFL’s concussion lawsuit.

News Talk 1480

www.whbc.com/

Attorney Robert J. Romano will be a guest on the Eddie & Tracy Show – 700 WLW
 in Cincinnati, Ohio, today, January 14, 2014, at 4:45 pm to discuss Alex Rodriguez 162 game suspension from Major League Baseball – even though he has never tested positive for using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Please listen live at: http://www.700wlw.com/main.html

Sports Attorney Robert J. Romano will be a guest on Florida Sports New with Jimmy Cefalo – WIOD 601 AM/100.3 FM, Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 6:10 am to discuss the 211 game suspension of Alex Rodriguez handed down by Major League Baseball.  A-Rod will appeal the lengthly suspension but what is the likely outcome of such appeal?

Sports Attorney Robert J. Romano will be a guest on FOX Sports Radio, Tuesday, August 6, 2013 from 7 am until 11 am, to discuss the suspension of Alex Rodriguez from Major League Baseball due to his alleged ties to the Biogenesis Clinic.  Will A-Rod Appeal the suspension and what is the likely outcome of such Appeal?

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has been suspended 65 games by Major League imagesBaseball for alleged ties to performance enhancing drugs distributed by the now defunct Biogenesis clinic. Alex Rodriguez and more than twenty other current MLB players are under investigation by MLB for their alleged ties to the same clinic.

Luckily for Braun, Alex Rodriguez, and the rest of these players they are represented by the MLB Players Association. Or is it? MLBPA executive director, Michael Weiner, has publicly stated that the current MLBPA is “not interested” in protecting players where overwhelming evidence exists that they have used PEDs.

Mr. Weiner emphasized that the current Players Association prioritizes a clean system and stated that the PA will attempt to “make a deal” for players where MLB has significant PED evidence against them.

“I can tell you, if we have a case where there really is overwhelming evidence that a player committed a violation of the program, our fight is going to be that they make a deal,” Weiner stated. “We’re not interested in having players with overwhelming evidence that they violated the [drug] program out there. Most of the players aren’t interested in that. We’d like to have a clean program.”

Not long ago the MLBPA would have gone toe-to-to with MLB and its intentions in the Biogenesis investigation and fought relentlessly for the rights of its collective membership.

Just over 10 years ago, in June 2002, then-union executive director, Donald Fehr, was against random drug tests and maintained that it was in the best interest of the MLBPA to protect the privacy of the players.  Fehr stated, ”We believe that any program can be successful on steroids, or anything else, only if stringent safeguards are in place to protect the privacy of the employees, particularly so in baseball in which the lives of the players are so much in the public eye.”

That being said, because of pressures placed upon the PA by MLB – since it threatened not to enter into a new CBA unless the PA agreed that drug protocols were included – the PA agreed to limited drug testing of its players.  However, the initial protocols put in place did not have an accompanying system of penalties. The testing protocols agreed to, in effect, would not lead to suspensions or get a player in trouble in anyway.

By 2005, the drug-testing slope got slipperier and a system of penalties was initialed. By the 2006 season the penalties for players who violated the drug protocols were set to the current 50-100-life format.

These penalties, however, were not enforced unilaterally by MLB.  Any enforcement and subsequent suspension had to go before an independent arbitrator and the MLBPA defended its players at these hearing, fighting for the player and the rights of its memberships.  Specifically, only last year the PA backed Braun when he won his appeal of a positive testosterone test following the 2011 season. Additionally, there have been 10 to 15 unreported cases of the PA convincing MLB to forgo enforcing suspensions.

Now, however, the MLBPA has done an about-face and is willing to cut deals and work with MLB rather than go toe-to-toe with it over Biogenesis.

The PA’s position now is that there will be arbitration only if agreements can’t be reached with the Commissioner’s office when suspensions are announced.  Specifically, the PA is willing to concede that player suspensions as outlined in the Joint Drug Agreement may not apply to player involved with the Biogenesis Clinic.  These players can be suspended under the Commissioner’s “just cause” discretion in the Joint Drug Agreement.

Per Section 7.G of the Joint Drug Agreement, a player may be subjected to disciplinary action for “just cause” by the Commissioner.  Additionally, per Section B under Article XII of the CBA, “Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of Baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state, or local law.”

Apparently, the PA has interest in fighting for the rights of its membership where the PA decides that the player is unworthy of a good fight.

The MLBPA once acted like an association that would do everything and anything within its power to protect its membership.  Now it’s acting like an association that will only pick its battles when it is politically correct to do so.  A PA that is more concerned with good PR that with the livelihood of its members.  This does not seem like the Players Association that Marvin Miller, Donald Fehr and Gene Orza envisioned.

Attorney Robert J. Romano will be a guest on WHBC – News Talk 1480 AM with Sam Bourquin today, Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 4:10 p.m. est to discuss the arrest of former New England Patriot Tight End Aaron Hernandez’s arrest for 1st Degree Murder and the fact that since this years NFL Super Bowl, 27 other NFL players have been arrested on various criminal charges.

News Talk 1480

www.whbc.com/

Attorney Robert J. Romano will be a guest on ESPN Hawaii –  KHLO 850-AM Radio today, June 19, 2013, at 5:30 pm (EDT) to discuss tennis star Serena Williams’ apology for what she allegedly said about the Steubenville (Ohio) rape case.

The Romano Sports & Entertainment Agency is now accepting applications for a position as a summer sports intern who is interested in working on a project involving amateur athletes and the NCAA.  Interested candidates please email your resume to Robert J. Romano at rjr2128@caa.columbia.edu.

Jeff Haynes/Reuters

When Kevin Ware was injured while representing the University of Louisville, he was not covered by worker’s compensation. By 

The broken leg felt round the country — during college basketball’s showcase event — left teammates and coaches in tears and television networks turning away from video of the gruesome injury. It also inflamed the debate about the treatment and care of unpaid college athletes who help generate hundreds of millions of dollars for their universities.
Ware, arriving in Atlanta with the team, will not incur out-of-pocket expenses for his rehabilitation while he is in school.

The injured player was Kevin Ware, a sophomore guard for Louisville, playing in the N.C.A.A. tournament. He was taken to a hospital and had surgery to repair compound fractures of his tibia. Louisville officials said the university had a secondary policy on its varsity athletes, ensuring that Ware, who also has his family’s primary insurance, will incur no out-of-pocket expenses in his rehabilitation.

But Ware is likely to be personally responsible for any health care expenses related to the injury after he leaves Louisville. Injuries sustained in college athletics that linger or develop into chronic conditions are generally not covered by a university’s or the N.C.A.A.’s medical insurance once an athlete has left college.

Louisville officials declined to specify the terms of the policy that covers Ware or to say who would handle his medical bills if the injury led to problems later, after he left the university. The N.C.A.A. said it was not able to comment on a specific athlete’s medical condition.

“Ware’s injury underscores just how vulnerable college athletes are: in a moment it can all be gone,” said Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, an advocacy group for athletes. He added, “Once you’re a former player, you’re on your own.”

Bob DeMars, who played four years as a defensive lineman for Southern California, from 1998 to 2001, tore the posterior cruciate ligament in each knee while playing for the Trojans. He also sustained a serious neck injury and separated both shoulders.

“I wake up with a lot of things bothering me sometimes, and my knees are unstable,” said DeMars, 33, a filmmaker and part-time teacher. “If my knee goes out because I don’t have a P.C.L. and my anterior cruciate ligament tears and I’m hobbled for the rest of my life, I hope Southern Cal helps me pick up the pieces. But they don’t have to.

“College athletes aren’t employees, so there’s no workmen’s compensation. They tell us we’re student-athletes because it’s not a job. But it sure is a business, and it’s not a nonprofit.”

If Ware’s medical claims exceed $90,000, he will also qualify for the N.C.A.A.’s catastrophic insurance program, which has some continuing coverage under certain conditions. The N.C.A.A. has additional supplemental insurance for injuries that occur during championships events.

But not all colleges generate as much revenue through athletics as Louisville does; the university took in more than $40 million through its basketball program alone last year. Many colleges outside the N.C.A.A.’s top athletic tier do not offer comprehensive secondary policies to their varsity athletes. The N.C.A.A. requires an institution only to certify that each athlete has some kind of primary medical insurance, which is usually a family policy.

“And if an athlete’s parents don’t have a policy, then the college offers them the same policy they offer regular students,” said David Dranove, a health economist and a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “That is usually a group policy that’s not particularly generous and not tailored to the kinds of injuries that occur in sports, which often require specialized surgeries, long rehabilitations and expensive tests” like magnetic resonance imaging tests.

“So the colleges treat the athletes like regular students,” he continued, “when they’re routinely exposed to much more hazardous conditions where injury is common.”

American labor law created decades ago established that workers exposed to injuries in the normal course of their jobs should not be expected to pay because of those injuries, Dranove said. “The N.C.A.A. is 100 years behind the rest of the country,” he said.

Even at top-tier institutions — as well as at the hundreds of medium-size and small colleges that have sports programs — secondary insurance policies can have significant coverage gaps. In addition, not many injuries are serious enough to reach the $90,000 deductible that triggers the N.C.A.A.-sponsored policy.

Valerie Hardrick, whose son Kyle was a basketball player at Oklahoma, was stunned to discover she owed $10,000 for an M.R.I. and other tests performed on her son when he injured his knee in 2010. Her private insurance paid for about $20,000 in other medical bills, but the M.R.I. was classified as an out-of-pocket expense.

Hardrick did not get the bill for the M.R.I. until nearly a year later, after Kyle’s scholarship was not renewed, Hardrick told a Congressional panel on college athletics in 2011.

“There’s a lot they don’t tell you about when you sign for an athletic scholarship,” Hardrick said. “They ought to tell you what insurance won’t cover.”

Bob DeMars, a former defensive lineman for U.S.C., hopes the university will help him pay for his troubled knees.

Concerns about inequitable treatment of college athletes last year caused the California Legislature to pass a bill known as the Student-Athlete Bill of Rights. It requires universities that generate more than $10 million in annual media revenues from athletics — four California universities qualified immediately — to provide equivalent academic scholarships to varsity athletes who are injured and lose their athletic scholarships. It also mandates that the institutions pay the health care premiums for low-income athletes and cover all deductibles for injuries related to participation in an intercollegiate sport.

“A significant number of people are starting to see that we should start protecting these athletes as laborers,” said Paul H. Haagen, the co-director of the Center for Sports Law and Policy at Duke University. “Effectively, the N.C.A.A. has lost the public-relations war, and the entire idea of the student-athlete and amateurism erodes. That’s also because there is incentive to exploit the athletes.”

The vast majority of high-level athletes are on yearly scholarships that are renewable at the discretion of the institution, and complicated and onerous N.C.A.A. restrictions on outside jobs and private contributions often put varsity athletes at a financial disadvantage compared with the rest of the student body. As a result, the pressure on the N.C.A.A. to alter its policies substantially is growing. Ware’s injury has heightened the focus on another issue:health insurance coverage.

“Change is coming to collegiate athletics because there are all these multiple problems,” said Warren Zola, a sports law professor at Boston College. “You see the state legislatures and even Congress getting involved. The leaders in higher education might want to be proactive and make their own changes before change is forced on them.”

As for Ware, with his broken leg in a cast, he is expected to attend Louisville’s game Saturday in the N.C.A.A. tournament’s Final Four, an annual highlight on the American sports calendar.

“We all wish the best for Kevin, and I’m glad he got the best care available,” Huma, the National College Players Association chief, said. “But there are plentiful financial resources available in college athletics to ensure that all injured athletes — at all levels and not just at the biggest schools in the Final Four — get treated in a similar way.”