This Week In Sports Law: Ezekiel Elliott, Las Vegas Raiders Relocation, Conor McGregor’s TMs – Forbes
NFL Continues To Question Ezekiel Elliott
Ezekiel Elliott’s first season as a National Football League running back is over, with a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. Now, the stud football player wants a real break from the NFL, requesting that the league put an end to an investigation over whether Elliott violated its personal conduct policy.
The issue relates back to a claim made by Elliott’s ex-girlfriend in which she said Elliott assaulted her. An open investigation was commenced in July 2016 by the Columbus, Ohio City Attorney’s Office. In September, the Office indicated that it will not pursue charges against Elliott; however, the NFL kept the matter under review.
The league recently sent follow-up questions to Elliott despite authorities putting a close to the case long ago. Thus, Elliott could still receive discipline from the NFL despite not receiving any consequences outside of the league’s scope.
Oakland Raiders Inch One Step Closer To Las Vegas
Perhaps the writing was on the wall as to what would follow when it was reported that the Oakland Raiders filed trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register “Las Vegas Raiders.” It was not immediate, but the Raiders have finally made their request to change venues official. It may not be long before the silver and black play their home games in Sin City.
On January 19, the Raiders filed their paperwork to leave Oakland and move to Las Vegas. The team still needs twenty-four of thirty-two team owners to vote in favor, and if that occurs, then there is no turning back.
“The application will be reviewed in the coming weeks by league staff and the Stadium and Finance Committees,” said the NFL in a disseminated statement.
Conor McGregor Gets Wise About Protecting IP
Athletes protecting and commercially exploiting their intellectual property rights is something I am very familiar with, as we work with many on trademark protection the law firm I own. It is somewhat surprising that MMA superstar Conor McGregor took this long to file applications to register trademarks surrounding his name and nickname, but late is better than never.
The applications were officially filed by McGregor’s holding company, McGregor Sports and Entertainment and seek to protect “Conor McGregor” along with “The Notorious.” The filings cover a lot of ground and are spread across many types of goods and services.
Interestingly, they were filed as intent-to-use applications, but are based on McGregor having ownership of registrations beyond the borders of the U.S.
New States Consider Legislation To Legalize Fantasy Sports
The start of 2017 has brought a plethora of new fantasy sports bills to be considered by various state legislators. In the past week alone, the States of Hawaii and Washington have seen bills added to the docket that relate to fantasy sports.
Hawaii’s bill, titled, “Relating To Online Fantasy Sports,” explicitly indicates that daily fantasy sports contests were crafted to comply with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), which it says “provided a specific exemption for daily fantasy sports contests.” The state looks to New York, which legalized and regulated daily fantasy sports websites in August 2016.
“The legislature further finds that despite the attorney general’s gambling concerns regarding daily fantasy sports contests in Hawaii, the New York State Legislature concluded that these contests are games of skill, not games of chance,” states the bill that intends to legalize online fantasy sports contests in Hawaii. “Accordingly, because the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 exempts daily fantasy sports contests and leaves the legality of these contests a matter of state law, daily fantasy sports contests should not be considered gambling under the penal code as long as these contests are appropriately registered and monitored.”
Meanwhile, the State of Washington will look at a bill titled, “Classifying fantasy sports contests as contests of skill.” It would classify fantasy competitions as games of skill, specifically exempting such games from any classification as gambling.
Michigan Eyeing Legalized Sports Betting
The State of Michigan wishes to take the efforts of Washington and Hawaii one step further through the potential passing of a piece of legislation that would attempt to legalize sports betting within the state’s borders.
As it stands, there exists no legal sports betting scheme, as reported by BestUSCasinos.org, but that would ostensibly change if the pending legislation is passed and signed into law by the state’s governor. Representative Robert Kosowski, who introduced the bill on January 18, has said he is optimistic that the bill will become law.
“I understand the federal law prohibits [sports] gambling, but I am the kind of guy that’s willing to take on the government,” stated Rep. Kosowski.
Darren Heitner the Founder of South Florida-based HEITNER LEGAL, P.L.L.C. and Sports Agent Blog. He authored the book, How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know.