Examining Commercialization, Labor, Gender, and Race in 21st Century Sports Law
Publication Year: 2010
Reversing Field invites students, professionals, and enthusiasts of sport—whether law, management and marketing, or the game itself—to explore the legal issues and regulations surrounding collegiate and professional athletics in the United States. This theoretical and methodological interrogation of sports law openly addresses race, labor, gender, and the commercialization of sports, while offering solutions to the disruptions that threaten its very foundation during an era of increased media scrutiny and consumerism. In over thirty chapters, academics, practitioners, and critics vigorously confront and debate matters such as the Arms Race, gender bias, racism, the Rooney Rule, and steroid use, offering new thought and resolution to the vexing legal issues that confront sports in the 21st century.
Published by: West Virginia University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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The West Virginia University College of Law is home to a robust, active, and progressive Sports and Entertainment Law Society. WVU Law is also home to an incredible faculty that cares deeply about social justice and issues of equality, an active Women’s Law Caucus, and a Black Law Student Association that is dynamic, present, and committed. West Virginia remains ...
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The editors wish to thank the following former and current members of the West Virginia University College of Law Faculty: Joyce E. McConnell, William J. Maier, Jr. Dean & Thomas R. Goodwin Professor of Law; John W. Fisher II, William J. Maier, Jr. Dean Emeritus & Professor of Law; Robert M. Bastress, John W. Fisher II Professor of Law; and Michael V. Risch, ...
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Reversing field” is a term of art that describes a change in course or direction. In football, a “reverse field” occurs when a player abruptly changes the flow of a lateral play. In October 2007, the West Virginia University College of Law hosted a two-day sports law symposium entitled “Reversing Field: Examining Commercialization, Labor, and Race in 21st Century Sports ...
The Interconnectivity of Sports to Commercialization, Labor, and Race
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Sport is a source of excitement, enjoyment, aggravation, frustration, pride, and the frequent topic of conversations. It gives us the opportunity to Monday morning quarterback as we second-guess the coach; to discuss the critical plays of the game; to compare teams, individuals, and programs; to disagree with the experts over the rankings in the polls; or to engage in discussions in ...
Part I. Commercialization: The Recruiting and Selling of the Modern Athlete
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Commercialization. The Recruiting and Selling of the Modern Athlete: Overview
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Collegiate athletics in the United States has become a multi-billion-dollar industry.1 As modern technology, including radio, television (including cable and satellite), Internet and twenty-four-hour sports news reporting has evolved, our nation’s obsession with college sports has increased in kind. We, as graduates of our country’s fine educational institutions, follow ...
More Lightning and Less Thunder: The Challenge for NCAA Athletics
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At the height of the Civil War, when the North was suffering numerous defeats on the battlefield, President Lincoln met with a few members of Congress, who at that time were extremely critical of his leadership.1 After listening attentively to their concerns and observations, President Lincoln began his response to these disgruntled politicians by telling them the ...
The Value and Perils of Intercollegiate Athletics: A Presidential Perspective
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In 1891, a group of WVU students ventured to a cow pasture outside Morgantown to face off against peers from nearby Washington and Jefferson College in a game that was fairly new and still evolving into the American football that we recognize today. It was not an auspicious start for WVU’s athletic program—the Washington and Jefferson team won 72–0. As anyone who has ...
Exploring the Commercialized Arms Race Metaphor
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The metaphor of a commercial “arms race” in intercollegiate athletics appears frequently in recent sports law literature and discourse. I am intrigued by the metaphor and wish to briefly examine it and its implications. I conclude that the metaphor does fit, albeit uncomfortably. I also wish to present a couple of metaphors of my own. ...
Describing Racism as Asymmetrical Market Imperfections, or How to Determine Whether the NBA Dress Code is Racist
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This chapter uses the NBA Dress Code to illustrate four conceptions of racism in the United States—racism as injustice, racism as discrimination, racism as White supremacy, and racism as asymmetrical market imperfections. It criticizes racism as injustice and racism as discrimination because those conceptions depend too heavily on emotion-evoking narratives. It applauds the ...
Athletes as Television Celebrities: Why We Watch; How They Benefit; Must They Be Responsible?
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Celebrity status can accrue to an individual for a myriad of reasons. Indeed, there appears to be a continuum of types, from those who become famous for being famous (the no-talent types like Zsa Zsa Gabor and Paris Hilton) to those who accomplish monumental feats. Celebrity athletes fall into the latter category for the most part. We know them because they achieve beyond ...
Part II. Labor: How the Athlete Changes the Economic Playing Field
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Labor. How the Athlete Changes the Economic Playing Field: Overview
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While some academics have raised the question whether sports law is its own discipline,1 no one seriously questions whether workplace law is an important aspect of sports law. Of course it must be true that workplace rules govern the sports industry, which, like most other industries, relies heavily on labor power to produce a product.2 ...
Introduction to Balls or Strikes: Are Economic Weapons Finding the Zone?
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Sports law involves both the familiar and the unique. Perhaps in no other area is this dichotomy as evident as the intersection of sports and labor law. The sports industry is a business that faces many of the same labor and employment issues as other firms. However, both the workers and the product in sports hold a special role in American society. The extraordinarily rare skills ...
The 1994–’95 Baseball Strike and National Labor Relations Board: To the Precipice and Back Again*
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In a series of strikes and lockouts commencing in 1972, baseball labor and management engaged in what came to be regarded as a near thirty-year war!1 In 1994, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was at the center of what would become the mother of all Major League Baseball disputes. This did not constitute the first involvement of the Board inasmuch as it had issued a complaint ...
1994 Baseball Player’s Strike: A Case Study in Labor’s Use of its Most Effective Economic Weapon
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The strike that the Major League Baseball Players Association initiated in August of 1994 is a case study in the strategic use of economic and legal weapons by parties to a labor dispute. There are many factors that influence parties in their choice of economic and legal weapons. Two obvious factors are the nature of the industry itself and the economic relationships between ...
The State of Sports Law and Policy: Views from a Labor Law Professor
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want to congratulate both the faculty and students involved in the preparation of this program.1 It is a very impressive program, and I feel honored that I was invited to be one of the speakers here. I want to particularly say how honored I am to be here on the same program with my former student and research assistant, Ken Shropshire, of whom we are very proud at Stanford Law ...
False/Positives. Debating the Merits of Drug Testing: Introduction
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The current debate over the extent to which highly paid, highly skilled athletes should be tested for the presence of performance-enhancing drugs continues to rage and seems always to make headlines. Those who wish to see more drug testing argue several points. First, several commentators argue that many performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids, have deleterious ...
The Temptation of Performance-Enhancing Drugs
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What has been the most dominant news topic in Major League Baseball over the past five years? To a person, average sports fans would most likely answer “performance enhancing drugs” or the use of “steroids” by professional athletes.1 Names such as Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Jose Canseco, Brian McNamee, Rafael ...
Performance-Enhancing Drugs and How They Affect Today’s Athlete: Views from a Medical Doctor
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This article focuses on some of the deleterious effects of performance-enhancing drugs on athletes. I have thirty years of on-the-field experience: ten years as a player and twenty years in a sideline position, including ten with the Pittsburgh Steelers and ten at the NCAA level. For the past ten years, I have been saying that WVU has the best medical care at the NCAA level. This ...
From Barry Bonds to USADA: Protecting the Interests of “Drug-Free” Athletes
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In his pursuit of Major League Baseball’s home run record, Barry Bonds became the face of steroid abuse in baseball. As one columnist cynically wrote, Barry Bonds is the “Lord Voldemort of baseball.” 1 Other columnists have written that such a depiction of Bonds is odd. “It is ironic that Bonds would emerge as a symbol of baseball’s steroid era, because people familiar with the ...
Challenging the Premise of Steroid Testing in Sports
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Despite public opinion and congressional hearings aimed at condemning men and women who test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in sports, there is a legitimate basis to challenge the rationale offered to justify steroid testing in sports. Lawyers are the trembling custodians of civilization. Lawyers owe a duty to the public to challenge conventional thought: especially ...
Part III. Finding Equal Footing: Gender Issues in Sports
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Finding Equal Footing. Gender Issues in Sports: Progress Riddled with Disappointment / Overview
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Part III of this book, Finding Equal Footing: Gender Issues in Sports, addresses the issue of gender in intercollegiate and commercial sports. Any discussion of gender in today’s sports must take account of the effect Title IX has had in creating opportunities for girls and young women in athletics. Today’s elementary and secondary school girls and college women participate ...
The Invisible Pregnant Athlete and the Promise of Title IX
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In April of 2007, Fantasia Goodwin, a Syracuse University junior, gave birth to a healthy baby girl.2 The event would have been unlikely to generate media coverage but for the fact that, two months earlier, Fantasia had been competing on the university’s varsity women’s basketball team, successfully hiding her pregnancy from her coaches and teammates.3 At the time, Syracuse had no ...
Title IX Backlash and Intercollegiate Athletics
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Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is civil rights legislation that is intended to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions that receive federal funding.1 The legislation has been very successful—boys and girls have equal access to all courses in the curriculum in elementary and secondary education, women comprise over half of the ...
Reflections of a Former Athlete as a Young Woman: Growing Up Under Title IX
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Over thirty-five years ago, Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which prohibits any person in the United States from being “on the basis of sex . . . excluded from participation in, . . . denied the benefits of, or . . . subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 1 Notice—Title IX
Girls Can Play, Too: Has the Lack of Female Leadership in NCAA Athletics Become an Afterthought?
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In 2007, 72,419 female student-athletes competed at the Division I level.1 Despite comprising nearly half (48.8 percent) of the total student-athlete population, women hold only 60 of the 367 (15.5 percent) Division I campus leadership positions.2 Perhaps hidden by laudable advancements of female athletic participation rates under Title IX, little attention has focused on the disturbing ...
Part IV. Race Issues in Sports
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A Troubling History but a Bright Future: Overview
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The field of play should be the one arena where all individuals can expect to compete on an equal playing field. In fact, many believe that sports represents the great unifying space where race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation give way to merit, talent, and ability. If you can play the game, then your singular ability should triumph over all other considerations, ...
Racing From the Past. Exposing Racism in Today’s Collegiate Athletics: Introduction
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Sports dominate American culture. Collegiate athletics spurs passion and debate unlike any other medium in the United States. Because we become personally attached to the colleges and universities that we (or our family members) attend or live nearby, the success and/or failure of our chosen college’s athletic teams becomes extremely important to us. Today, the popularity of ...
The Legacy of Brown: Commodification of the African American Student-Athlete?
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Popular media thrive on the notion that “sports is the great equalizer.” Sports provide minorities, particularly African Americans, the opportunity to gain access to higher education and the “good life.” Following the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, the number of African American high school and college student-athletes (male and female) increased.1 Reinforcing ...
Using Social Psychology to Evaluate Race and Law in Sports
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This chapter examines the connection between social psychology and the larger topic of race, sports, and the law. It begins by discussing human attitudes and cognitive biases and then turns to what could be the most clearly detectable, or at least the most controversial, connection between social psychology, race, and sports law: the alleged nexus between implicit ...
From the Inside Looking Out: Racism in Men’s Collegiate Coaching
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I would like to describe how I ended up at West Virginia University as head coach of the men’s soccer team because I think it pertains to what I am going to discuss. For the six years prior to being hired as head coach at WVU, I was an assistant coach at Pennsylvania State University. 1 In the summer of 2006, the men’s soccer coach at West Virginia University was fired for committing
Progress Realized?: The Continuing American Indian Mascot Quandary
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On every fall Saturday in the United States, a young, white male college student goes about a deliberate ritual that stuns in its audacity. This white student will pull on buckskin leggings with fringes and an intricate bone and pearl breastplate.1 This white student will paint his face with “war” colors that represent power and tradition.2 This white student will pull onto his head ...
Professional Equality The Rooney Rule: Introduction
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The Rooney Rule is to football what Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) is to employment discrimination. Interestingly, both of these doctrines share a similar historical development in that they grew out of an invidious exclusion of blacks from participating at the same level as whites. While the impact of Title VII has been far greater than that of the Rooney ...
Minorities Are Separate and Unequal: A Look at Minority Hiring Practices in Collegiate and Professional Athletics
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I was fortunate to be in attendance at Super Bowl XLI in Miami.1 My emotional tears of joy and pride were mixed with the steady rain that fell upon my face throughout the game as I was blessed to be present for a historic event that was so artfully and tastefully orchestrated by head football coaches Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith.2 It was much more than a football game, much more than ...
The Changing Landscape of African Americans in Sports
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The years 2007 and 2008 are historically significant years, implicating sports, race, and the law in various ways. First, the year 2007 marked the sixtieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s integration of major league baseball.1 Second, the year 2008 marked the fortieth anniversary of the black power salute from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.2 These two historical events ...
The Critical Role of the Fritz Pollard Alliance
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When Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. and I got into the fight to change the National Football League (NFL) and its hiring practices, we were outsiders to the NFL. But we had been battling discrimination in different arenas and on different fronts for many years. I had been fighting cases like the Texaco case1 and the Coca-Cola case,2 the two largest race discrimination class ...
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, the Rooney Rule, and the Quest to “Level the Playing Field” in the National Football League
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The National Football League (the NFL or the League), like the National Basketball Association (the NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB), has a long history of racial exclusion.1 And like these other long-standing American professional sports leagues, desegregation among players preceded desegregation among coaches.2 As slowly increasing numbers of minorities assumed ...
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The plight of the black athlete in United States professional and collegiate sports reflects a historical road burdened by strident discrimination, yielding assimilation, and gleeful exploitation.1 As African American athletes in the 1950s began to enter the lineups of storied professional sports clubs, they did so only under the strict conditions placed upon them by the status ...
Page Count: 536
Publication Year: 2010