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Roger I. Abrams
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

Incivility, Taunting and Hubris in Sports

(1) Comments | Posted January 15, 2016 | 5:04 PM

Long before Donald Trump perfected the public art of the obnoxious swagger, sports at all levels had been consumed by arrogance and pomposity. The National Football League vowed years ago "to bring the element of respect to its highest level back to our game." This mission, assuming it was ever...

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The Hypocrisy of NFL Fans

(16) Comments | Posted December 3, 2015 | 4:53 PM

The National Football League is about to face one of its greatest challenges. On Christmas Day 2015, Columbia Pictures will release Concussion, a film starring Will Smith. Smith plays Nigerian doctor Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who first identified chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brains of deceased football players. He...

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The Political Power of a College Football Team

(3) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 4:02 PM

The resignation of the president and chancellor at the University of Missouri may prove to be a turning point in, of all things, college football. The status of college football players seemed to have hit rock bottom after a union seeking to represent players at Northwestern University suffered a surprising...

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The Perversion of Paid Patriotism

(2) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 5:22 PM

The relationship between sporting events and our armed services always seemed firmly based on pure patriotism. The men and women who serve our country in the armed forces certainly deserve recognition and respect. At these sporting events, fans appropriately stand and applaud the waving military. Now, thanks to a Congressional...

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Online Fantasy Games are Illegal

(3) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 5:12 PM

There is a scandal brewing in fantasy land. An employee of DraftKings released inside information and scored a $350,000 win while playing online fantasy football with his employer's main rival, FanDuel. Both websites have achieved notable success in the exploding arena of online fantasy games. They have created...

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Judge Berman Sets Tom Brady Free!

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2015 | 7:13 PM

Federal Judge Richard M. Berman has sacked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, vacating his four-game disciplinary suspension of star Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The NFL announced immediately that it would appeal. Deflategate lives, albeit barely.

Judge Berman's decision relies on basic arbitration law. An employee must be treated fairly, and that...

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Labor Board Punts on Northwestern Football Case

(3) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 1:29 PM

Congress created the National Labor Relations Board in 1935 to administer national labor policy. For the most part, over eighty years of decision making, the Labor Board has protected the rights of employees to decide whether they wish to unionize or to remain non-union free. The Labor Board has used...

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Mediating Deflategate

(3) Comments | Posted August 14, 2015 | 6:11 PM

The National Football League sought a "home field advantage" by racing to the federal courthouse in New York City to file its action seeking to enforce Commissioner Goodell's discipline of Tom Brady in the so-called Deflategate contretemps. The League may have received less of an advantage than it thought as...

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Is the Commissioner an Arbitrator?

(2) Comments | Posted August 1, 2015 | 1:37 PM

The wall-to-wall coverage of the NFL's discipline of Tom Brady sometimes refers to Commissioner Roger Goodell as the "arbitrator." The NFL Players Association has made much of the fact that Goodell had a clear conflict of interest in ruling on Brady's case. The League responds that the Commissioner had the...

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Deflategate: The Monster That Will Not Die

(51) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 12:08 PM

You remember the Japanese monster movies where the army and navy launch bombs aplenty against the evil brute who came up from the sea. Nothing seems to stop it! How will humanity survive? By the final reel, of course, something stops the monster just before it ingests the capital city...

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NASCAR and the Flag

(4) Comments | Posted July 3, 2015 | 4:32 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 | 1:40 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 | 5:41 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 | 2:46 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 | 6:18 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 | 1:44 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

(9) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 9:28 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 | 4:35 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 | 4:27 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 | 8:41 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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