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Richard Berthelsen Says NFLPA Will Look To
Have Judge Throw Out Jury's Decision
HOW DAMAGES WERE AWARDED: Kessler said it was telling that on the core contractual breach charge, there was no damages. The plaintiffs alleged that a group licensing agreement signed by the class of retired players entitled them to share in licensing revenue only going to active players. The jury sided with them on that, but then did not give them a penny. The fiduciary duty charge alleges the union turned its backs on the players who the group had an obligation to. However, during the trial, the plaintiff’s damages witness testified he had not done an analysis of how much the players should receive for this charge, which would have involved deciphering their marketability and what they would have gotten had they not entrusted some of their rights to the union. Nonetheless, the jury awarded $7.1M (Kaplan). In S.F., Bob Egelko reports the jury ruled the NFLPA “had failed to protect the retirees’ rights,” which “opened up the union to the steep punitive-damages decision” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/11).
UNION SHOULD NOT MARKET RETIRED PLAYERS: Kessler in his closing arguments made clear one message that will remain from the jury’s verdict regardless of the appeal -- the NFLPA should not be trying to market retired players. The NFLPA is the only one of the big four sports unions to do so. Katz said, “I expect a leadership change at the NFLPA and I would hope that the new leadership would want to reconcile the active and retired players by, among other things, settling this lawsuit” (Kaplan).
Should NASCAR Have Been
More Vocal Over Race Swap?
PACING BEHIND: In Orlando, David Whitley writes, "I regret to inform you that one of the great sports debates of our time is over. NASCAR is not a major sport." What makes ABC's switch from the race "doubly depressing for NASCAR" is that "next to nobody seemed to care." Whitley: "As far as TV is concerned, you might as well be the WNBA. It comes down to leverage, and NASCAR doesn't have it" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/11). A BIRMINGHAM NEWS editorial states NASCAR coverage on TV is "already such a nightmare that it's a miracle ratings are up," as no one "ever knows from week to week when races start anymore." Races might "start anywhere from" 11:00am-4:00pm CT. The editorial: "It's all because NASCAR lets the networks do as they please whereas the NFL has anti-Heidi language written into its TV contracts" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 11/11). In Dallas, Barry Horn wrote, "Let's get this straight: CBS doesn't abandon NFL games to go to '60 Minutes' but ABC left a NASCAR playoff race for a AFHV, a show with no redeeming social significance other than to fill an hour of air time" (DALLASNEWS.com, 11/10).
FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT: The AP's Jenna Fryer noted ABC's swap had "ramifications, particularly the perception of how it views NASCAR." Fryer: "Yep, the network that promised to broadcast the final 10 races of the season on ABC as part of its estimated $270[M] a year contract dumped the closing laps of a championship Chase race for home video hijinks. Nice 'partner,' NASCAR" (AP, 11/10). In Roanoke, Dustin Long writes this is not the idea NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France had when he said he wanted to "minimize change" this year. Long: "Where was NASCAR? ABC is seen in about 160 million homes. ESPN2 is in close to 100 million homes. How can such a move late in a race be acceptable to fans, advertisers and the sport? While NASCAR doesn't need to severely admonish the network for the change, even a statement expressing disappointment might at least show fans that the sanctioning body is willing to fight for them and keep this from happening again" (ROANOKE TIMES, 11/11). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes leagues, "not their TV middlemen, are responsible for protecting their sport and fans," and if leagues want "certain guarantees, like events staying on the same channel until they finish, they should get it in writing." They should also be "willing to accept less TV money." Hiestand: "Could ABC have stuck with the race and ended up with a higher rating? Disney got to make the call. If it was important to NASCAR, they should have made it their business" (USA TODAY, 11/11).
ON THIN ICE? In Edmonton, Jim Matheson reports KHL club Severstal Cherepovets "may not have paid their players since August," while clubs Moscow Spartak and MVD Balashika are "behind in payments." Also, KHL club Avangard Omsk, for whom former NHLer RW Jaromir Jagr plays, "may also have been delinquent." Larionov said, "I'm getting some stories about this, and I have addressed that with Alex Medvedev. It's a big concern, the sponsorship of some of these teams. We have to make this work." Larionov added of the KHL, "I don't think it's a threat to the NHL right now. Some NHLers went to play in Russia, but not many big names, except Jagr" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 11/11).
Alex Medvedev Says NHL, Russia's KHL
Have "Different Business Models"
Scheduling Dispute Brings
Australia IRL Event To An End
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: IndyCar Series sources said that driver Danica Patrick "will go wherever she can get the biggest check and they would not be surprised if she tried to line up a NASCAR deal." But SI.com's Bruce Martin reported "after watching former Indy Car drivers [Sam] Hornish Jr. struggle and Dario Franchitti fail in NASCAR, few observers think it would be the wisest move she could make." Martin wrote Patrick "remains a big name in the IndyCar Series despite winning only one time, but once the novelty wore off in NASCAR, Patrick would get lost in the crowd" (SI.com, 11/10).