Field of Broken Dreams: The Quest for Rule of Law in Sports Litigation
Texas Review of Entertainment & Sports Law, Vol. 13, p. 102, 2012
14 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2012
Date Written: August 27, 2012
This essay reviews Roger Abrams excellent book SPORTS JUSTICE: THE LAW AND BUSINESS OF SPORTS (2010), which describes and discusses, for a generalist audience, a number of leading cases involving professional and amateur athletics. The essay takes the opportunity to reconsider a question posed for the past two decades, "What is sports law?" Or, to put it another way, what is special about sports law, as opposed to any survey of various legal rules applicable to a particular industry?
The answer, at various times, may be that: "sports law" involves a separate body of legal doctrine; is evolving as institutions create new bodies of sports jurisprudence or arbitration; or perhaps that sports law is worthy of special attention because it is a teaching moment for the public, which rarely pays attention to the nuances of, say, antitrust law, except, perhaps, when a professional sports season is on the line.
I advance a different justification for the study of sports law: it provides a fantastic lens in which to study legal realism. Too often, judges in sports cases simply ignore established legal rules or bodies of law to reach results that appear driven by no more sophisticated principle than fan loyalty.
Keywords: sports law
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