By Jeffrey S. Kravitz, Esquire

The NHL just announced that all games are cancelled until the New Year. Like marriages, labor quarrels are very tough to analyze from the outside. What I do know is that hockey fans always poll up there with NASCAR fans as the most committed to their sport. What I also know is what Canadian author also noted (with a disclaimer as to his comments on French Canadians):

Canadians are actually the most tolerant of foreigners. Mordecai Riccler said "Canada is not so much a country as a holding tank filled with the disgruntled progeny of defeated peoples. French-Canadians consumed by self-pity; the descendants of Scots who fled the Duke of Cumberland; Irish, the famine; and Jews, the Black Hundreds. Then there are the peasants from Ukraine, Poland, Italy and Greece, convenient to grow wheat and dig out the ore and swing the hammers and run the restaurants, but otherwise to be kept in their place. Most of us are huddled tight to the border, looking into the candy store window, scared of the Americans on one side and of the bush on the other."

-Mordecai Richter


With all of the present political problems, I still wish that the President (under Taft-Hartley) and the Prime Minister could order them back to work. That would be reaching across the aisle as well as across the border.



By Jeffrey S. Kravitz

As featured in the Toronto Globe and Mail a Canadian company that sells 95% hockey chatchkes is suffering mightily by virtue of the hockey lockout. Does the NHL owe that person anything…no, because it is a commercial relationship and not a fiduciary one. What is a fiduciary? It is a person or institution that owes another the highest duty of good faith. Think a trustee or dare I say it, a lawyer. The law imposes superior obligations on such folks by virtue of the trust imposed in them. The NHL….likely nada. How could the vendor have protected himself?  He could have tried to put a clause in his license contract with the NHL that required them to pay him in the event of a strike or lockout (good luck). Perhaps he could have obtained business insurance that did the same thing. Or he could have diversified as stated in the article to Major League Baseball or the NBA. The lesson? As presidential advisor Bernard Baruch once remarked, "if you are going to put all of your eggs in one basket, watch the hell out of the basket."


By Jeffrey S. Kravitz and Sekou Campbell

According to the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, the NFL has reached a tentative agreement to end its lockout of the referees. 


Ed Hochuli, whom Jeff Kravitz has worked with (as a lawyer not a ref), reads “Rules. Lots of Rules.” This year, during the lockout, Hochuli even held a boot camp during the NFLRA’s negotiations with the NFL. So, the professional officials will likely be ready when they return tonight to don the zebra stripes in the Ravens v. Browns game. The NFL no doubt values its referees, but this labor dispute begs a larger question: How does a sports league, worth billions of dollars, valuate referees in the marketplace?



Referee valuation poses a set of issues distinct even from player strikes or lockouts because referees gain value when they lose prominence. When a referee or umpire calls a “perfect” game, they rarely do or should get mentioned.  Their “invisibility,” however, challenges their sports league employers to come up with a workable economic model for their market. Perhaps sports leagues now have the information they need to appropriately evaluate the market strength of invisibility.


By Jeffrey S. Kravitz, Esq.

The NFL is clearly struggling with substitute referees. Over the weekend, one such was removed from a New Orleans Saints game because he was a Saints fan. CBS Morning News today featured the controversy and the outcry re the integrity of the game.Same with judges. It is axiomatic that good judges make better decisions overall than bad ones. In California, the state judiciary is struggling with severe budget cutbacks. All suffer. I sat through four hours of court time as a judge was forced to do a double law and motion schedule due to furlough days. He performed heroically, but the State has to come up with more money for the courts to ensure the integrity of the process.


When baseball players seek free agency, there is a procedure called a baseball arbitration.  In it, each side names a number not known to the arbitrator. The arbitrator examines the proofs from management and the player’s representative, and then announces his "number."  The party closer to the number gets what it has advanced.  Why not try it in basketball?  It would be high stakes, but would end the impasse.  I do not know whether I am more depressed by the state of basketball negotiations or the Super Committee.

In "NFLPA Files Complaint Against NFL Over Television Deals", deals with the issue of the NFL players vs owners in the event of a lockout or strike.  Seems the owners have more protection than the players and players are crying foul.  A longtime agreement requires the owners to try to maximize revenue to the players and the players feel that the covenant of good faith and fair dealing has been broken.  Every contract has an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in California, which is basically the Golden Rule.  Much commentary from the players on this one and none from the owners.  Will be interesting to see their reply and we will be following.