NFL Gets Tougher off the Field as Players Cry Foul

July 27, 2015Article
Law 360

Greenberg Glusker partner Pierce O’Donnell was quoted in a story that ran in Law360 on July 27th about the National Football League’s move to issue stiffer penalties and disciplinary actions for professional athletes' off-the-field run-ins with the law. Players and their union are responding in kind to what they see as unfair league authority in disciplinary decisions.

The article notes that sports leagues are sensitive to their image and commissioners have had the authority to punish players for off-the-field antics but with the onset of 24/7 sports news and social media, the conduct of professional athletes is increasingly under constant scrutiny. Players are now beginning to challenge this authority - as has visibly been the case in the NFL – as well as league's disciplinary rules and the application of those rules.

Commenting on the application of league’s rules, O’Donnell said "they need to have clear standards and there needs to be a fair process of adjudication to determine whether the player violated that standard has to be in place. It is not rocket science."

O'Donnell represented Shelly Sterling in the $2 billion sale of the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer, after her husband, former owner Donald Sterling, was banned from the league for racist remarks.