Jeff Fannell Speaks to NYC Bar’s Sports Law Committee on COVID-19’s Impact on Sports With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the postponement or cancellation of virtually every major sport, many are wondering when or if sports will return. Members of the New York City Bar Association’s Sports Law Committee recently hosted Jeff Fannell to discuss the issues related to the potential resumption of sports in 2020. In a Zoom conference meeting, Jeff shared his views on the logistical, economic and moral issues associated with the return to play. Included in his remarks was a detailed description of the likely implementation of centralized “Biodomes” that would allow individual sports leagues to closely monitor the health and safety of athletes and others. The Committee meeting was moderated by Committee Co-Chair David Sussman, Special Counsel at Jenner & Block.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Brian Goodwin won his salary arbitration case and will be paid $2.2 million this coming season. The Angels offered Goodwin $1.85 million, who was coming off the best year of his career in 2019, hitting .262/.326/.470 with 17 home runs and 47 RBI. Goodwin is represented by Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group. His principal case was presented by Jon Fetterolf of Zuckerman Spaeder, while JFA argued rebuttal on Goodwin’s behalf. This was Goodwin’s first trip through the arbitration process.
Dodgers setup man Pedro Baez won his arbitration hearing against the team and will be paid his requested salary of $4 million, rather than the club’s submission of $3.5 million. JFA represented Baez in the hearing, which was the first win for players in this year’s arbitration proceedings. Prior to the Baez win, teams were 4-for-4. In 2019, Baez was one of the best setup men in baseball, notching a career-high 25 holds, which was tops among Dodgers relievers and third in the National League. This was Baez’s third and final trip through the arbitration process. Now Baez and his agent, Kelvin Nova, of the Nova Sports Agency, can look forward to next winter when Baez will become a free agent.
On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, Jeff Fannell was a featured speaker at the UEFA Executive Master for International Players program (MIP). UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations) is the governing body of European Football and the umbrella organization for 54 national football associations across Europe. The UFEA MIP was created to prepare former professional athletes for a second career in sports. Jeff addressed the group on The Role of Agents in American Sports, touching on such topics as agent certification, contract negotiation, the union-agent relationship and the agent’s role in collective bargaining.
On Friday, March 29, 2019, Jeff Fannell appeared on Arise! with Bill Fletcher, discussing the current challenges in Major League Baseball, both on the field and off. The interview with Fletcher, a noted labor activist and author, was aired live on WPFW 89.3 FM and can be heard in its entirety here.
February 22, 2019 – Jeff Fannell joined attorneys Gregg Clifton, Garrett Broshuis and Marc Edelman, along with former NFL player Chris Kluwe at the Sixth Annual Sports Law Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Jeff’s panel, entitled Power in Numbers, explored the benefits of unionizing and the challenges confronted by players associations. Specific subjects covered during the 90-minute session included collective bargaining, free agency, efforts to unionize minor league baseball players, and the potential advantages of antitrust litigation (following union decertification). Over 100 attendees were on hand for the day-long conference that was opened by remarks and Q & A with J.J. Reddick of the Philadelphia 76ers, and featured a keynote address from Andrew Brandt, Director of Moorad Center for Sports Law at Villanova University School of Law. The event was sponsored by Penn Law’s Entertainment and Sports Law Society.
Now that the United States Supreme Court has struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection ACT (PASPA), a federal law that (with a few exceptions) prohibited state-authorized sports gambling, several states are lining up to enact legislation that allows sports wagering within their borders. And why not? There is huge money in sports betting. Last year, Nevada raked in nearly $5 billion in sports wagering. States like New Jersey, New York and others all want a piece of the action. States are not alone in this regard. Sports leagues, many of which opposed efforts to get rid of PASPA, also have their hands out looking for a quick buck. Having sensed that they were losing the PASPA battle, the NBA, NFL, MLB and others came up with the ingenious idea that if the Court were to strike PASPA leagues could cash in on the new legal landscape by imposing “integrity fees” on those states that enact new gambling laws. What are integrity fees? Some say it’s a nice way of saying “extortion.” The leagues and governing bodies say integrity fees are necessary to maintain the integrity and public confidence in their respective sports. The rationale goes like this: once […]
October 20, 2017 – The Fall 2017 St. John’s Law Alumni Magazine features a cover story on SJU alums working in the sports and entertainment industry, and includes comments from Jeff Fannell. You can read the full article here.
October 17, 2017 – Jeff Fannell spoke recently with Global News Canada (Hamilton, Oct. 16) about the collusion grievance filed by free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick against the National Football League. Kaepernick has remained unsigned this season after his much-publicized protest to bring awareness to police brutality and social injustice in the United States. Listen HERE for Jeff’s take on the grievance and the current state of athlete activism.
Thursday, October 12, 2017 – On Monday, October 16, Jeff Fannell will serve as a guest lecturer at Adelphi University, where he will speak on current developments in sports law. The lecture, coordinated by Professor Josh Liebman, will commence at 8:00 p.m. on the school’s campus in Garden City, NY. “I’m always excited to speak to students and young professionals about the sports industry,” said Jeff. “I’m particularly excited to speak to a class taught by Josh, whom I’ve known for over ten years. We met when I was lawyer at the MLBPA and he was a young intern. It’s gratifying to see how far he has come in his career, both as a professor and commercial litigator.” Monday’s lecture will cover issues relating to negotiating athlete contracts, grievance arbitration and collective bargaining. “We’ll discuss a little Ezekiel Elliott, a little Colin Kaepernick, recent NBA signings and other things,” said Jeff. “It should be fun.”
October 11, 2017 – Jeff Fannell & Associates has signed former Major League Baseball pitcher Joey Devine for representation for off-the-field work. JFA will seek opportunities for Devine in several areas, including youth development and training, collegiate coaching, and television and radio broadcasting. From 2003-2005, Devine was a standout relief pitcher for Division I powerhouse North Carolina State University, where he remains the Wolfpack’s all-time career saves leader with 30. In 2005, the former All-American was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the MLB draft. Devine went on to play seven years in the Major Leagues, pitching for both the Braves and Oakland Athletics. In 2016, he returned to NC State to complete his studies and to serve as the Undergraduate Assistant Baseball Coach. “It is a privilege to represent Joey,” said JFA President Jeff Fannell. “Not only is he talented, he’s also a first-class individual. We look forward to helping him achieve his career and personal goals.” JFA represents professional athletes, sports agents and coaches, providing contract negotiation, market analysis, grievance handling, sports marketing and other related services. In addition, JFA currently serves as labor relations consultant to the Major League Baseball Players Association. […]
Recently, my wife and I were blessed to attend the 2017 A Better Chance Awards Luncheon in New York City. We were guests of one of the honorees, Tony Clark, the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Joining Tony as honorees were Marvin R. Ellison, Chairman and CEO of JCPenney, and David Coleman, President and CEO of The College Board. Though each of the award recipients was impressive, the work of the organization and the beneficiaries of that work stole the show. According to its printed and digital materials, the mission of A Better Chance “is to increase substantially the number of well-educated young people of color who are capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society.” ABC achieves this through its College Preparatory Schools Program, which recruits, refers and supports about 500 student scholars in grades 6-12 at more than 300 member schools in 27 states. Through ABC, these students gain access to rigorous educational opportunities at some of the most prestigious college preparatory schools in the nation. Since 1963, ABC “has been finding talent in communities where it is often overlooked and placing it in the path of opportunity.” […]
Back in January, I posted about my desire to create an academic scholarship as a way to express my gratitude for all of the help and the blessings I have received over the course of my studies and my career. Several people were kind enough to reach out to offer advice and guidance. Now, less than six months later, I am overjoyed to announce the creation of the Fannell Family Scholarship at my law school alma mater, St. John’s University School of Law in Queens, NY. Through a pledge of $50,000, combined with a dollar-for-dollar match from the Brennan Family Scholarship Matching Program once the pledge threshold is met, we will have a $100,000 endowed scholarship at St. John’s Law that will provide one or more partial scholarships each year to an African-American student with a demonstrated interest in labor and employment law. One of the beauties of the endowed scholarship is that once created, the capital is preserved, providing financial assistance to generations of students in perpetuity. I am thrilled at the opportunity, through the scholarship, to help others as others have helped me. My sincere thanks to Philip Maroney, Advancement Officer at St. John’s, for […]
On April 27, 2017, I had the privilege of attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the Jackie Robinson Museum in lower Manhattan. The museum, which will open in 2019, has been in the works for decades. In addition to housing baseball memorabilia, the museum will focus on Jackie’s life on and off the field, including his contributions to the civil rights movement. Among my personal highlights at the groundbreaking ceremony was the opportunity to meet Jackie’s widow, Rachel Robinson, who is known to some as the First Lady of Baseball. In addition, I had the opportunity to chat with noted civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, who shared how the Dodgers moving out of Brooklyn played a role in stoking his passion for justice and equality. According to Siegel, the Dodgers helped forged friendships between blacks and whites who shared a common interest in cheering their team on. When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, many of those bonds were broken, which ultimately led Siegel on a life-long crusade against any barriers that would tend to create racial divides. Thoughts of Jackie, Rachel and Norman returned to the fore as baseball ushered in its second month of the season with the story […]