SBJ/Jan. 10-16, 2011/Labor and Agents

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  • Challenge to TV provisions in CBA could affect football talks

    Liz Mullen
    Attorneys for the NFL and the NFL Players Association were arguing a case last week that didn’t get a lot of attention in the mainstream media but could potentially affect the NFL labor dispute.

    The NFLPA is challenging the NFL’s ability to get more than $4 billion in television contract money even if no games are played, and Jeffrey Kessler, outside counsel for the NFLPA, said the case could determine whether there is a lockout.

    “The football fans, cities and others should hope that the players win this case,” said Kessler, who is representing the NFLPA in the hearing, “because if we win this case it makes the looming prospect of a lockout by the NFL less likely.” The NFL collective-bargaining agreement is set to expire March 3.

    The NFL declined to comment for this story. On its website NFLLabor.com, the league has denied the union’s allegations that the inclusion of the lockout provisions in the television contract was a violation of the settlement of the Reggie White v. NFL case, which is the basis of the current CBA. The league has said that those provisions were in television contracts for decades and that they are not “lockout insurance.”

    Bill Gould, a Stanford Law School professor and former head of the National Labor Relations Board, said the provisions are at least “partial lockout insurance” and the case could give one side or the other significant leverage in the labor battle.

    “I think if the players win, it reduces the economic incentive of the owners to engage in a lockout,” Gould said. “It obviously strengthens the hand of the players. If the owners win, they have partial lockout insurance, which is going to diminish the economic burden that otherwise would be thrust on them.”

    Special Master Stephen Burbank, who is hearing the case, is expected to issue a decision by the end of this month.

    Marvin Lewis
    GETTY IMAGES
    Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis recently re-signed with the team.
    LEWIS INKS NEW DEAL: Octagon has been the exclusive representative of Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis since late 2007, and Octagon President of Athletes & Personalities Phil de Picciotto acted as Lewis' attorney on his most recent extension with the team, but Lewis negotiated the deal. Sources told SportsBusiness Journal that sports attorney David Cornwell was advising Lewis on the process. "David is a friend and I often get his opinion on things, and Phil represents me," Lewis said during a brief telephone interview. Asked what Cornwell was doing for him, Lewis said, "He was helping me trying to find out the lay of the land."

    Cornwell declined comment.


    • ROSEN LEAVES LAGARDÈRE: Lon Rosen has left his position as director of entertainment at Lagardère Unlimited for a job as executive vice president of Magic Johnson Enterprises, Rosen confirmed.

    Rosen has managed Johnson since Johnson’s playing days with the Los Angeles Lakers and has known him professionally and personally for 30 years. His new job came from conversations they had in December, Rosen said.

    “I will do projects with [Lagardère],” Rosen said. “I left on a very positive note.” Lagardère officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

    LAGARDÈRE ADDS NFL PROSPECTS: Lagardère agents Joel Segal and Chafie Fields have signed NFL prospects Florida center Mike Pouncey, brother of Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, whom they also represent. They also signed Florida safety Ahmad Black and University of Miami wide receiver Leonard Hankerson.

    • APSE SIGNS TAYLOR: All Pro Sports & Entertainment has signed Baylor defensive lineman Phil Taylor for representation in the NFL draft. All Pro principal and agent Peter Schaffer will represent him. Taylor was ranked No. 28 on NFLDraftScout.com’s mock draft last week.

    • SMITH GOES TO ROSENHAUS
    : Drew and Jason Rosenhaus and their firm, Rosenhaus Sports, signed Maryland receiver Torrey Smith, projected as a late first-rounder by NFLDraftScout.com. They also signed linebacker Colin McCarthy and offensive lineman Orlando Franklin from their alma mater, Miami.

    • PRIORITY’S THREE: Priority Sports & Entertainment has signed Nebraska running back Roy Helu. Priority also signed Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed and Hawaii wide receiver Greg Salas. All three players will play in the Senior Bowl and are being represented by Priority agent Kenny Zuckerman.

    Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

    Print | Tags: Labor and Agents, CBA, Football, NFL, Media, NTRA, TRAC, Esso, Cincinnati Bengals, Ping, TES, Los Angeles Lakers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Liz Mullen
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