Emerging Legal Issues in Professional Sports (Conference Materials 2018)

Emerging Legal Issues in Professional Sports

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  • Moderator:
    • Meghan Pirics (L’16), Legal Associate, Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


  • Panelists:
    • Brooke A. Beyer, Jr., Senior Assistant General Counsel – Sponsorship & Licensing, NASCAR, Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina, and member, NSLI Board of Advisors
    • Greg Heller (L’96), Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta, Georgia, and member, NSLI Board of Advisors
    • Nona M. Lee, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix, Arizona, and member, NSLI Board of Advisors
    • Mike Sneathern (L’02), Vice President, Legal Affairs, Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and member, NSLI Board of Advisors
    • Nyea Sturman (L’03), General Counsel, Orlando Magic, Orlando, Florida, and member, NSLI Board of Advisors




Emerging Legal Issues in Professional Sports


  • QUESTION: After the Supreme Court’s decision in May, individual states may now opt to legalize sports betting. As of today, none of the states in which your professional teams reside have passed or are considering passing legislation to legalize sports betting, however, some of you have affiliate teams in states where it is legal. Given all of that, how do you see this decision affecting professional sports, and specifically as it relates to your employees, teams, affiliate teams, and the leagues in which you operate?
  • QUESTION: As of late, it seems that athletes, and even those working in sports, are criticized just as much for their actions off their respective fields of play than for those on the field, if not more. How do you handle player discipline in these instances, especially when these actions are not governed by any kind of agreement (Collective Bargaining Agreement, Uniform Player Contract, etc.)?
  • QUESTION: In the wake of the Me Too movement, we’ve seen a growing emphasis on educating employees about delicate issues such as sexual harassment, gender equality, and diversity and inclusion. What are your respective organizations doing to educate employees on these topics? Are similar programs in place for your athletes?
  • QUESTION: Safety is always a concern when it comes to sports, but usually in the context of athlete safety during competition; however, we all know safety is a multi-faceted issue when operating a professional sports organization. Greg and Mike, both of your teams recently built new facilities, and MLB has mandated that all teams in the league begin the process of applying for designation and/or certification under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act (SAFETY Act). In your roles, what are your primary concerns when it comes to stadium/arena safety, and what are you doing to ensure you have the safest facility possible?
  • QUESTION: When it comes to athlete advocacy, there are those who believe that athletes should “be quiet and play their sport,” and those who believe athletes should use their platform to effect positive change. Despite the potential for facing criticism, it is becoming more apparent that athletes are actively choosing to take on the role of advocate in their communities. In light of that, what opportunities, if any, do your respective organizations provide its athletes to address issues that are important to them? Second, what community outreach initiatives exist within your organizations to integrate athletes into their surrounding communities?



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