Workplace Madness: Important HR Lessons from NCAA Basketball

The 2013 NCAA basketball tournament is over, and in many ways it was a classic, with great games, great upsets and great storylines. March Madness, indeed.

However, this year, much of the madness occurred off the court.

It started with the videotape of the unprofessional ranting of now-former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice, who called his players every offensive name in the book, berated them, question their very being and flung basketballs at their heads. Rice’s trail of carnage includes former Athletic Director Tim Pernetti and former University general Counsel John Wolf. It included the “resignation” of Pac-12 Director of Officials Ed Rush, who suggested to his direct reports – the referees – that they punish one of the coaches in the league that Rush doesn’t like. And it included controversy over whether Baylor University women’s superstar Britney Griner is worthy of a tryout in the all-male NBA.

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When Athletes Retire, Is the Next Step Bankruptcy or Paradise?

The “paradise” stories for the post-playing careers of professional athletes are without a doubt under told. The success of Roger Staubach in building a real estate empire, the multiple businesses of NBA all-stars Magic Johnson and Jamal Mashburn, as well as success in politics by the likes of Steve Largent and Bill Bradley, are known to some. Also, consider the Super Bowl’s most valuable player, Joe Flacco, the proud recipient of a $120.6 million contract, alongside option bonuses of $15 million and $7 million, and superstar Ray Lewis, who, in retirement, has recently joined a new team: ESPN. Let’s not leave out baseball, with Alex Rodriguez in the midst of a $275 million contract running through 2017. Then what?

This recent Alert takes a look at what comes next for athletes after their playing days are over, and how they can avoid unhappy endings.

Olympians Strike Back: What’s News–and What’s Advertising–in the Age of Infotainment and Celebrity?

Celebrity is a currency of great value. TMZ, Entertainment Weekly, E!, and innumerable gossip websites and publications prove the point beyond dispute. A group of Olympians including Mark Spitz, Greg Louganis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Amanda Beard have sued Samsung Corporation for using their image to endorse the company without their consent. So, it’s not uncommon that commercial advertisers want to push the edge of the envelope and find ways of using the names, likenesses, and other indicia of celebrities (without obtaining their permission and without paying them) in order to get the attention of us, the consumers.

Partner Mark Fischer explores the often blurry lines between news and commercial endorsement in this blog entry from the New Media and Entertainment Law Blog.

On Your Marks for the London Olympics

With the Olympics now a little more than six months away, most businesses with operations in and around the UK are fine-tuning their contingency plans. Businesses large and small—whether based in Europe or simply having people pass through—need to be prepared. The Olympics will run from 27 July to 12 August with venues all over London, together with events like football and sailing outside of the capital. There are likely to be significant extra visitors to London, not only those visiting the events but also hospitality staff, security personnel, media, sponsors and hangers-on. The Olympics will be a spectacular event, and London will welcome visitors from around the world. For most organizations, however, planning is essential.

Read the Duane Morris Alert for more.