Conference Presenters, Special Guests, Keynote Speaker and Moderators
The Honorable JON GRAY (Ret.) served as a Circuit Judge for the State of Missouri for more than twenty years. Upon retirement from the bench, Judge Gray joined the international litigation firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., where his practice focuses on general business and commercial litigation and alternate dispute resolution. He is a 1973 graduate of Grinnell College (Iowa), where he was an outstanding two sport scholar athlete and earned the Honor G award for his participation in intercollegiate athletics. He received the J.D. degree from the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law in 1976. His civic and charitable service includes membership on the boards of directors of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Swope Community Enterprises, Swope Community Builders, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City,. Urban League of Greater Kansas City, and Truman Medical Centers. Judge Gray is a member of the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, the Jackson County Bar Association, the Missouri Judicial Conference, the National Bar Association, the Judicial Council of National Bar Association Judicial Council, and the American Judges’ Association. Judge Gray is a member of the American Arbitration Association panel of commercial arbitrators and is frequently called upon to serve as a mediator or arbitrator. He has completed extensive continuing education training, including the National Bar Association intensive seminar on Sports Arbitration. He is an avid sports fan and a student of the sociology of American sports. In 2009, Judge Gray was appointed by Governor Jay Nixon to serve as a member of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority and served until 2013.
CURT FLOOD, JR.: The eldest son of Curt Flood and Beverly Collins, he is a Los Angeles-based strategic communications professional, successfully driving public/media relations, publicity, and corporate and crisis communications campaigns across entertainment, sports, emerging media, technology and cause-related practice areas.
LOU HOYNES: Hoynes was counsel to The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs and handled most of the baseball industry’s litigation from 1970-1990. He represented the National League during the Flood v. Kuhn case at the Supreme Court and is currently a director of Cytec Industries, a chemical and aerospace company.
ALLAN ZERMAN: Listed for more than ten years in “Naifeh and Smith, The Best Lawyers in America, for Family Law,” Zerman was Curt Flood’s family attorney and initiated his challenge against Major League Baseball’s restrictive “reserve clause.”
PRESENTERS and ABSTRACTS
STUART BANNER: Banner, the Norman Abrams Professor of Law at UCLA, is a legal historian who has written about a wide range of topics in American and British legal history. His most recent book is The Baseball Trust: A History of Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Presentation: “Baseball and Antitrust Before Curt Flood”
Whether baseball was governed by antitrust law was a question that had been debated for nearly a century when Curt Flood filed his suit. It had been the topic of two Supreme Court cases, many years of congressional hearings, and endless speculation in the press. Banner will cover the highlights of this long debate with an emphasis on the legal developments that formed the backdrop to Flood v. Kuhn.
ED EDMONDS: Edmonds, who previously served as law library director at William & Mary, Loyola New Orleans, and the University of St. Thomas, is the Associate Dean for Library and Information Technology and Professor of Law at the Notre Dame Law School. He has written about the Curt Flood Act and Flood’s minor league experience. Edmonds’ scholarship is concentrated on antitrust and labor issues involving baseball and baseball salary arbitration.
Presentation: “Curt Flood’s Journey to the Supreme Court” Often overlooked in the discussion of Curt Flood’s lawsuit are the cases before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judge Irving Ben Cooper presided over the trial in May 1970, and he treated Flood harshly. When no current players agreed to appear on Flood’s behalf, his legal team produced Jackie Robinson, Hank Greenberg, and Jim Brosnan as its primary witnesses. After Cooper ruled against Flood, the case was appealed to the Second Circuit. Oral arguments were resented in January 1971, and on April 7, 1971, the three-judge panel of Wilfred Feinberg, Leonard P. Moore and Sterry R. Waterman delivered an opinion affirming the district court ruling. The presentation will focus on the trial and the two decisions.
ABRAHAM KHAN: An assistant professor at the University of South Florida, Khan holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Communication and Africana Studies. His interests center on a concern for the ways in which sport has influenced civil rights discourses and the rhetoric of freedom struggles. Dr. Khan has written and delivered talks about the symbolic significance of Jackie Robinson, and his recent book is Curt Flood in the Media: Baseball, Race, and the Demise of the Activist Athlete (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2012).
Presentation: “Imagining the Politics of Sport: The Uses of Curt Flood”
Following the diligent work of historians and legal scholars, in addition to an HBO documentary, the surge of interest in the life and circumstances of Curt Flood has helped him assume a rightful place in sport’s collective memory. No longer merely a footnote to the inspiring narratives that often include the likes of Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, and Tommie Smith, Flood’s story now also travels through the spaces where sport and politics can be found to intersect. But what are we to make of all these new memories? In this talk, Dr. Khan entertains the hypothesis that Flood might help to rethink labor politics in sport. From the issues associated with unionization in professional leagues to the NCAA’s current crises, Curt Flood is present in our public debates, reminding us that sport is work and that its rewards are rarely distributed justly.
MITCHELL NATHANSON: A professor of Legal Writing at the Villanova University School of Law, Nathanson is also a member of the faculty at the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center For The Study of Sports Law. His scholarship focuses primarily on the intersection of sports, law and society. He has written numerous articles examining the interplay between, most notably, baseball and American culture. In addition to his most recent book, A People’s History of Baseball, his article, “Who Exempted Baseball, Anyway?: The Curious Development of the Antitrust Exemption that Never Was,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and won the 2013 McFarland-SABR award that honors the year’s best articles on baseball history or biography. Currently, he is writing a biography about Dick Allen, to be published in 2015 by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Presentation: “Flood v. Kuhn: Sometimes You Win When You Lose, and Sometimes You Lose When You Win”
In debating the merits of the Supreme Court’s 1972 decision in Flood v. Kuhn, most fall into one of two camps: either they contend that the case was little more than yet another repetition of the Supreme Court’s pronouncement of baseball’s special status under federal antitrust law, or they allege that it laid the groundwork for the abolition of the game’s century-old reserve clause. Nathanson considers both sides of this debate, arguing that while it was much more than an irrelevant legal footnote (and may have had more to say about baseball’s place in American society than is commonly realized), it nevertheless cemented, rather than helped to undo, the reserve clause, providing, as it did, the justification for the game’s policy-based exemption for the first time. In so doing, the Court at last handed MLB the seemingly resounding victory that many wrongly assumed it won 50 years earlier in the federal baseball case. However, MLB’s triumph was short lived as only three years later, an arbitration panel headed by Peter Seitz gutted the unilaterally-imposed reserve clause in the Messersmith/McNally grievance. The lecture contrasts the Flood Court and Seitz decisions to illustrate how and why MLB’s rhetoric was embraced so feverishly by the former yet wholly irrelevant to the latter.
BRAD SNYDER: An assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Snyder is the author of A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports (2006) and Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball (2003). He is working on a book about an early 20th century progressive political salon in Dupont Circle known as the “House of Truth.”
Presentation: “Curt Flood and the Civil Rights Movement”
Snyder will discuss why Flood sacrificed his playing career and sued Major League Baseball. He argues that Flood sued baseball because of his emotionally scarring experiences as a young minor and major leaguer in the Jim Crow South. Those experiences, as well his history of protesting discrimination during the Civil Rights Movement, led Curt to take a stand against the reserve clause. Snyder also will discuss the significance of Flood’s lawsuit in the fight for free agency and how it fits into the Court’s decisions about baseball’s anti-trust exemption.
JIM EISZNER: Head of the Shook, Hardy & Bacon Antitrust Practice Group, Jim has been practicing antitrust law for thirty-five years. He began his legal career in New York after obtaining his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his legal degree from New York University School of Law. He counsels major companies on compliance with the antitrust laws. He has been involved with antitrust issues associated with the sale of Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, and National Basketball Association teams. Jim also litigates both civil and criminal antitrust matters for clients. An avid sports fan, Jim has spoken frequently in the media about antitrust issues, including the likely outcome of mergers, criminal investigations, and sports-related antitrust litigation. He is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section and is a vice-chairman of the Section’s Committee on Ethics and Compliance.
MICHAEL COLEMAN is the Sports Director for CBS affiliate KCTV-5 News in Kansas City, MO.