The NFL Labor Dispute/Lockout Creates Legal Questions

NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco is trying out for a position with MLS’s Sporting Kansas City, and Baltimore Raven’s Safety Tom Zbikowski has one boxing match under his belt and another match scheduled.  In the past, such activities could have violated the Dangerous Activities clauses of their contracts. However, since the NFL has locked-out the Players, rules are uncertain.

Attorney Dan Fitzgerald spoke with Robert J. Romano about the binding effect of NFL player contracts during the lockout.

Dan Fitzgerald: Do NFL player contracts prohibit players from taking part in other sports during the lockout?

Robert Romano: Although a player’s contract may not have expired, the players are not bound by them for the duration of the lockout.  The contractual prohibitions on so-called dangerous activities and other sports will not have any effect on players during the lockout.

DF: If and when the lockout ends, will existing contracts become binding once again?

RR: Unless otherwise negotiated in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), existing player contracts are likely to become effective once the lockout ends.

DF: What happens if a player gets injured during the lockout and isn’t ready to play if the season goes forward?

RR: The player risks getting injured if he competes in dangerous activities otherwise prohibited by his contract.  The question is does the team/owner have to honor the terms of the contact once the new CBA is ratified.  If the new CBA is silent on this issue, the team would most likely deal with the injury in the normal course – via injury settlement, or non-football injury list.

Harvard Sports Law Symposium to be held on March 25, 2011


We are pleased to announce that Attorney Robert J. Romano will be attending and colleague, Attorney Dan Fitzgerald, will be a panelist at the Harvard Sports Law Symposium on March 25, 2011.  The symposium promises to be an informative and enjoyable for sports industry professionals as well and those looking to break into the industry.

The Symposium will take place  on Friday, March 25th, 2011 from 9:30am to 6:30pm in Austin Hall at Harvard Law School.

The symposium will focus on the legal and business issues surrounding intercollegiate athletics, and the overarching theme of the symposium is “The Changing Face of Intercollegiate Athletics: Amateurs, Academics, and the Athletic Arms Race.”

The symposium will feature five panels and a Keynote Speech from Sonny Vaccaro, “The Godfather of Grassroots Basketball”.  Vaccaro is a former sports marketing executive (he signed Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to their first shoe deals) and pioneer on the summer basketball circuit (he founded the ABCD Summer Camp).  In his second career, Vaccaro has become an advocate for student-athletes in an effort to change the NCAA’s treatment of student-athletes.  Vaccaro currently serves as a consultant for the plaintiffs in O’Bannon v. NCAA, a class action lawsuit with the potential to radically alter the college sports landscape.

Symposium website and

Romano On “WFAN” Sports Radio with Host Bob Salter

Robert J. Romano discusses the concept of Sports Law, the Collective Bargaining Agreement talks between the National Football League and the NFL Players’ Association, and how mediation works between two opposing parties, with host Bob Salter of WFAN Sports Radio “The Fan”, New York City’s Number 1 Sports Radio Station.

Romano On Sam Keller’s Lawsuit Against EA Sports and the NCAA

Robert J. Romano appears on the Arkansas Radio Network with Shawn and Wally to discuss Sam Keller’s lawsuit against EA Sports and the NCAA for using his likeness in the college video games produced by EA Sports.

Shawn and Wally: Sam Keller vs. EA Sports/NCAA

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