7th Annual Sports and Entertainment Law Association Symposium Includes Look Back at NFL Lockout
Web Editor - Published: February 19, 2012
"People feel that you'll take your best negotiating position as close to the deadline as you possibly can get. I know it's frustrating sometimes to watch this process and say, 'Why couldn't it have gone sooner, why couldn't we have gotten this deal in March, why couldn't we have gotten our draft picks signed in May?' It's just the nature of the beast," said Philadelphia Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman in reflecting on the NFL Lockout as part of the Sports Law in Hindsight: A Dissection of the NFL Lockout panel at the 7th Annual Sports and Entertainment Law Association Symposium, which took place on Thursday, February 16th in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom.

The event opened with a welcome from Jonathan White, the Chairman of the symposium, which is presented each year by the student-run Sports and Entertainment Law Association under the direction of Widener Law adjunct professor Alexander Murphy, Jr. Professor Murphy then introduced Chris Cabott ’05, a former student in his class who is now an entertainment, sports and media attorney with the Law Office of Lloyd Z. Remick and Zane Management Inc. of Philadelphia.

Cabott moderated the first panel and introduced Roseman and Andrew Brandt, ESPN’s Sports Business Analyst who previously worked as both an NFL executive with the Green Bay Packers and as a player agent. With Cabott facilitating the discussion, Roseman and Brandt reflected on the business and legal issues surrounding the NFL Lockout, spoke briefly about their backgrounds, and offered insights into the process of building an NFL roster.

“It was boring, it was messy, it was a pain, but ultimately it got done,” said Brandt of the NFL’s CBA negotiations that finally culminated with a deal in July of 2011 following a number of court battles.

When asked about future changes and the likelihood of another labor stoppage when the current CBA expires in ten years, Brandt said that technology would likely provide additional sources of revenue that would need to be looked at, and that social media and player health, particularly concussions, might be issues. “For now, let’s celebrate labor peace,” he concluded with a smile.

Professor Murphy moderated the second panel of the morning, How to Become a Great Music Lawyer in One Hour … and Sixty-three Years, which featured Robert Donnelly, and Kenneth J. Abdo of the Lommen Abdo Law Firm. Abdo is Vice President and Chair of the Entertainment Law Department and has served as legal counsel to a wide range of artists including Hall & Oates, Three Dog Night, Garrison Keilor, and Michelle Branch. Donnelly has spent 35 years as an attorney specializing in the representation of music industry clients and has had clients ranging from the Dave Matthews Band to Rock Hall of Famers The Ronettes and the Lovin’ Spoonful.

Following lunch, Murphy moderated the T.V./Film panel, Reality T.V.: Beyond the Jersey Shore, which featured Addicted to Food Executive Producer John Foy, the Senior Vice President of Shooters TV, and Widener Law alumnus Justin B. Wineburgh ’97, head of Cozen O’Connor’s Media, Entertainment, and Sports Law practice.

Foy and Wineburgh discussed the anatomy of creating a reality television show from the talent phase to producing, distribution, and exploitation. The wide-ranging discussion touched on talent attachment agreements, and Foy shared a few insights from casting The Biggest Loser and Beauty and the Geek.

The final panel of the day, Ethics in Intercollegiate Athletics – Lessons Learned, featured Heather Lyke, Associate Athletic Director at The Ohio State University, and John P. Sahl, Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Miller-Becker Center for Professional Responsibility at the University of Akron School of Law.