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Netflix/Fox Legal Fight Could Have Effect On Sports World

“The Hollywood Reporter speculated in March that a Netflix victory could allow Anthony Davis to leave New Orleans and sign with another team immediately”

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Netflix and 21st Century Fox are currently in a legal battle concerning entertainment executives under lengthy contracts. A struggle that seemed rooted entirely in the entertainment business has turned to threaten professional sports’ means of contracting players.

The case initially began when Fox sued Netflix when it recruited programming executive Tara Flynn and marketing executive Marcos Waltenberg.

Netflix claims Fox’s contracts, including those for Flynn and Waltenberg, restrict compensation, movement, and opportunities for competitor. Fox is counterclaiming unfair competition and arguing against any injunction that would prevent Netflix from soliciting, recruiting and inducing Fox employees to leave.

Netflix is also taking the stance that Fox’s practice of re-upping consecutive contracts is against California law. Fox countered the argument Tuesday by saying that NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 14-year career as a Los Angeles Laker also violated the law.

According to Fox, “Netflix’s position reduces to the untenable proposition that two independent contracts must be treated as one under California law merely because they are consecutive — ‘back-to-back,’ in Netflix’s words — even though the second contract (i) was negotiated and signed after the first; (ii) contains terms materially different from the first agreement; (iii) does not incorporate or depend on the terms of the first contract; and (iv) applies to a different time period. On that remarkable theory, no employee in California may lawfully work uninterrupted for a single company for longer than seven years — according to Netflix, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s storied 14-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers was a violation of California law. To state the proposition is to refute it.”

Fox says its contracts are “consecutive — but separate — employment contracts.” In other words, while the contract applies to the same employee, it contains brand new language that reset the seven-year time frame.

“Were Fox to negotiate a successive employment contract only at the precise termination date of the initial agreement, each employee would be (rightly) anxious in the months preceding the expiration of a contract that she would no longer have a contract-guaranteed job come termination date,” Fox added. “And if negotiations took several days or weeks, as arms-length contract negotiations often do, the employee (even if she ultimately chooses to sign a new contract) would lack contract-guaranteed benefits and salary for an indeterminate negotiations period. Netflix cannot justify a legal rule that would require a break in employment every seven years, and thus deprive a significant portion of the California workforce of fundamental elements of job security.”

Abdul-Jabbar’s career example doesn’t stand alone. Contract extensions happen every year in every professional sports league. Legendary careers such as Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter see players spend their entire 20-year career with one team without a thought of leaving for another team.

The case could extend to current player contracts as well. The Hollywood Reporter speculated in March that a Netflix victory could allow Anthony Davis to leave New Orleans and sign with another team immediately

Regardless of who comes out on top in the court case, the outcome could change the foundation of athlete contracts. Whether that means a revision of the seven-year law or simply a change to the language of contracts remains to be seen.

Sports Online

John Jastremski Fires Back After Craig Carton Criticism

“I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike. How about that.”

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Earlier this week, WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton said John Jastremski — a former WFAN host now hosting a podcast for The Ringer — “shunned” his radio career advice.

During his New York New York podcast Thursday, Jastremski strongly condemned Carton’s remarks.

“I don’t like going here with this stuff, ’cause I know this plays right into what this guy likes to do,” Jastremski said. “This is his M.O. This is what he’s done his entire career. It’s what he’s done for his entire career and he’s had success doing it. He lives for this stuff. But it really set me off. It set me off because I gotta see it on Barrett Sports Media while I’m on vacation. Like I wanna be bothered with this shit, number one. Number two, it’s just tone-deaf, insulting, and flat-out rude every which way.

“Number one: going after people who work at McDonald’s? Who the hell are you to do that? Number two: You’re insulting a multi-billion dollar company where I work. I have a great job, a great platform, a great producer. I have two great jobs, I might add. And you’re insulting both of them. By the way, you’re on that network. Five days a week. And you’re insulting that network. How stupid are you? Taking shots at people of the network you’re on, I’m on. And I could tell you, it pays well. I do ok.

“As for career advice? Guess what? I listen to legends. Bill Simmons, you ever hear of him? Worth a lot more than you. Mike Francesa? My boy Adam Schein? I listen to those guys. I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike. How about that.”

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Sports Online

The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Moving To New Studio

The show continued to be recorded inside the studio at the Clevelander after it departed ESPN Radio’s national lineup in 2021.

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Dan Le Batard Show

The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz is leaving its home at the Clevelander hotel on South Beach in Miami and moving into a new studio next year, according to a report from The Big Lead.

The show continued to be recorded inside the studio at the Clevelander after it departed ESPN Radio’s national lineup in 2021. It has remained the home for the show since Le Batard and John Skipper formed Meadowlark Media.

After a $50 million distribution deal with DraftKings was secured, the Meadowlark podcast network has grown in both reach and talent, allowing for an expanded studio space.

No immediate details were given on where the new studio space would be located.

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Sports Online

NSMA Announces Finalists for Awards, Hall of Fame

Final voting for the statewide and national awards, as well as for the Hall of Fame, will take place throughout this month, and the winners and inductees will be announced on January 9.

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The National Sports Media Association revealed its finalists for its national sportscaster of the year and national sportswriter of the year, and there are plenty of heavy hitters in the industry up for consideration for the NSMA awards.

Among the nominees for National Sportscaster of the Year include Al Michaels, Ian Eagle, Jim Nantz, Joe Buck, Kevin Harlan, and Mike Tirico. The full list includes Adam Amin, Jason Benetti, Joe Davis, and Mina Kimes.

For National Sportswriter of the Year, Adrian Wojnarowski, Ken Rosenthal, Nicole Auerbach, Pete Thamel, Pat Forde and Tom Verducci are among the biggest names. Candace Buckner, Katie Strang, Marc Spears and Wright Thomson round out the list of nominees.

The NMSA also revealed its finalists for the sportscaster and sportswriter Hall of Fame. James Brown, Joe Buck, Lee Corso and Tim McCarver are part of the sportscaster list, while Bill Plaschke and Ray Didinger appear among the names for the sportswriter hall of fame.

Final voting for the statewide and national awards, as well as for the Hall of Fame, will take place throughout this month, and the winners and inductees will be announced on January 9.

Winners and Hall of Famers will be honored at the NSMA Awards Weekend & National Convention held in Winston-Salem, N.C. June 24-26.

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