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Roger I. Abrams
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Professor Abrams is a prolific author and leading authority on sports and labor law and legal education. He has served as a salary arbitrator for major league baseball and as a permanent arbitrator for the television, communications, electronics and coal industries, for the U.S. Customs Service, Internal Revenue Service, Walt Disney World, the State of Florida and Lockheed-Martin Company.

Professor Abrams has published six books on the business and history of sports: Legal Bases: Baseball and the Law (1998), The Money Pitch: Baseball Free Agency and Salary Arbitration (2000), The First World Series and the Baseball Fanatics of 1903 (2003), The Dark Side of the Diamond: Gambling, Violence, Drugs and Alcoholism in the National Pastime (2008) and Sports Justice (2010). His most recent book, Playing Tough:The World of Politicis and Sports, was published in 2013. In addition, Professor Abrams is co-author of the leading Sports Law casebook published by Foundation Press. His next project is a book on alternative dispute resolution entitled Inside Arbitration: Deciding a Labor and Employment Dispute to be published by Bloomberg BNA in 2014.

Professor Abrams was appointed to lead the law school in July 1999 and stepped down in 2002. He served as dean of both Rutgers University's law school in Newark, New Jersey, and Nova University Shepard Broad Law Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, before coming to Northeastern. He began his academic career on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, where he became the youngest tenured full professor in the history of that university. After graduating from Harvard Law School cum laude in 1970, he clerked for Judge Frank M. Coffin of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, and then practiced with the Boston firm of Foley, Hoag & Eliot in the areas of labor law and civil rights litigation. Professor Abrams is an elected member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation, the National Academy of Arbitrators and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Entries by Roger I. Abrams

NASCAR and the Flag

(3) Comments | Posted July 3, 2015 | 3:32 PM

Professional sports love to wrap themselves in the American flag. They assume that spectators and television viewers are super patriotic and that they will appreciate their favorite sport's devotion to the spirit of nationalism and gratitude towards those who made sacrifices for our country. Every home club selects someone to...

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What do we do about A-Rod?

(26) Comments | Posted June 25, 2015 | 12:40 PM

Alex Rodriquez has returned to play for the New York Yankees with a flourish. Exiled from baseball for a full year based on his proven use of performance-enhancing drugs, A-Rod was not supposed to be able to rejuvenate at 39. (He will be 40 in a few weeks.) Yet he...

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The End of Deflategate

(60) Comments | Posted June 15, 2015 | 4:41 PM

All football fans are sick of hearing about "Deflategate." Most made up their minds long before they heard any of the facts disclosed in the report drafted by attorney Ted Wells for the NFL. Few bothered to read either his analysis or the response issued by Patriots attorney Dan Goldberg....

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Spectators and the Baseball Rule

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 1:46 PM

During the second inning of the night game at Fenway Park on June 5, 2015, between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics, Brett Lawrie, the A's third baseman, splintered his bat when grounding out to Dustin Pedroia, the Sox second baseman. It was a common play in all...

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Reconstructing FIFA

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2015 | 5:18 PM

The abdication of Sepp Blatter as President of FIFA offers to the world football community significant challenges and opportunities. Blatter has announced that he will remain in charge of FIFA until a successor is elected at least six months from now. Until then, he can do much mischief. Federal prosecutors...

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The Crimes and Corruption of International Sports

(1) Comments | Posted May 30, 2015 | 12:44 PM

Few who have paid attention over the years were surprised to learn about the scandal at FIFA, the body that controls international soccer, most importantly, the quadrennial World Cup. For decades, FIFA's abuse of power has earned the organization the antipathy of European leagues. Perhaps the final straw fell when...

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Settle Deflate-Gate

(10) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 8:28 PM

It is always difficult to avoid conflict when two adversaries are fully armed and ready to enter the battlefield. Some say that is why The Great War was inevitable. But the Cold War never produced the predicted Armageddon. It is possible to resolve disputes short of mutual destruction.

Although disputes...

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How Does Tom Brady Respond?

(6) Comments | Posted May 8, 2015 | 3:35 PM

When the sharks of the sports writing world smell blood, they pounce. That is especially an inviting opportunity when the bleeding comes from one of the icons of sport who plays for a club that always seems to win. Tom Brady, the man and the brand, has been grievously injured...

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Understanding the Deflate-gate Report

(9) Comments | Posted May 7, 2015 | 3:27 PM

The National Football League is now faced with the challenge of understanding the importance of the Ted Wells Report on the primary pro football scandal of last season. No, it was not the abuse suffered by women and children at the hands of NFL players. Neither was it the sickening...

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Children's Sports and Learning the Rules of the Game

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 7:41 PM

We spend almost two decades preparing our children for the challenges of adult life. It is not an easy job, and we won't know if we were successful until many more decades pass. At school, students learn basic and advanced educational skills and begin the process of socialization. Although it...

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Judge Doty Fumbled the Ball on the Peterson Case

(2) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 1:58 PM

Judge David Doty has been hearing labor and antitrust cases involving the National Football League and the Players Association for decades. Although he knows the parties and their collective bargaining agreement, his decision in the Adrian Peterson case shows he doesn't know arbitration. His reversal of the hearing officer's decision...

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NFL Clubs Seek to Feed at the Public Trough Once Again

(3) Comments | Posted February 21, 2015 | 9:31 AM

This has not been the best year for the National Football League. Combine the public relations disaster of the domestic abuse scandals with the growing public recognition that, as a result of playing the game, retired players suffer debilitating medical and mental conditions, the League is quite fortunate that the...

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Science and Bad Faith in the Deflate-gate Scandal

(18) Comments | Posted January 25, 2015 | 5:48 PM

In Scandal in Bohemia, Sherlock Holmes elucidated: "I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." If Holmes was talking about sports - he was not - it...

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Kickoff of the NFL's Silly Season

(1) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 9:37 AM

The match up for the 2015 Super Bowl has been set. The real challenge for the media over the next fortnight is to find something intelligible to say about the personnel of the two teams. The defending champion Seahawks of Seattle barely made it back to the big game with...

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The Boston Olympics

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 10:53 AM

The Hub is all a'twitter about its selection as the United States' candidate city for the 2024 Olympics. Those of us who call Boston home understand why it has progressed so far in the selection process. It has a great sports tradition. It can fulfill its promise in a timely...

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The Mueller Whitewash

(1) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 3:41 PM

As early as the 16th century, barns were sometimes covered with a white paint-like substance made of chalked lime to cover weathering and discoloration. It was called a "white wash." By the 19th century, the term began to be applied in a political context. An editorial in the Philadelphia Aurora...

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Should My Child Play Football?

(0) Comments | Posted December 30, 2014 | 3:05 PM

Every parent should think long and hard about whether to allow his or her child to play football. It is not an easy question to answer. The risks of suffering concussions are patently clear, especially for younger athletes. The benefits of participating in sports are also clear. What is a...

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The Judgment of Jameis Winston

(3) Comments | Posted December 29, 2014 | 11:03 AM

On New Year's Day 2015, quarterback Jameis Winston will lead the Florida State Seminole football team onto the playing field at the Rose Bowl for the first semifinal game of the NCAA's college football playoff. Most fans of the college game know that Winston, the winner of the 2013 Heisman...

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The Football Menace

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2014 | 2:28 PM

Recently, the National Football League has faced two serious challenges to its hegemony in the sports arena. The public has been outraged by the misconduct of some football players away from the playing field. Although the Ray Rice incident filled the headlines, incidents of domestic violence perpetrated by players against...

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Ray Rice's Pyrrhic Victory

(4) Comments | Posted November 29, 2014 | 9:38 AM

Arbitrator Barbara Smith has set aside the indefinite disciplinary suspension NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell imposed on Baltimore Ravens' running back Ray Rice after an unprecedented proceeding under the collective bargaining agreement between the League and the Players Association. The opinion clearly evidences former federal judge Smith's experienced hand at writing...

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