Gregg Clifton Joins Sports Lawyers Association Podcast to Discuss Kyrie Irving Suspension

Phoenix, Ariz. (April 11, 2023) – Phoenix Partner Gregg E. Clifton recently joined the Sports Lawyers Association's (SLA) podcast to discuss a recent blog post titled “Was Kyrie Irving’s Suspension From The Nets A Violation Of Labor Law?” from SLA NextGen Committee Member Lauren Mattice, a 1L at USC.

During the podcast, hosted by SLA’s Landis Barber, Mr. Clifton outlined the key labor law questions raised by Ms. Mattice in her blog post. They explored the complicated interplay of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the National Labor Relations Acts (NLRA) as it relates to Kyrie Irving’s suspension from the Brooklyn Nets. Additionally, Mr. Clifton dived into the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NBA and National Basketball Players Assocation (NBPA), which serves as the “superior outlet to review or to challenge any particular actions that are taken against a particular athlete.” 

Mr. Clifton also discussed how the NLRB, acting as a third party, filed the solo grievance complaint against the Brooklyn Nets in their suspension of Kyrie Irving. He explained that the CBA doesn’t have the correct language in place to protect their players in these instances, which should be a sticking point in the current renegotiation of the CBA. 

In closing, Mr. Clifton summarized the current sports law landscape, including the name, image, and likeness (NIL) issues concerning student athletes, the transition occurring at the NCAA level with a new president, and changes in the professional sports world regarding collective bargaining negotiations, as well as some new rule changes in Major League Baseball.

Mr. Clifton is chair of Lewis Brisbois' Collegiate & Professional Sports Law Practice, and a member of the firm’s Entertainment, Media & Sports and Labor & Employment Practices. He has extensive experience in the collegiate and professional sports world and has advised numerous professional franchises on a range of labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues. Mr. Clifton is also an editor of The Official Review, Lewis Brisbois’ sports law blog, and recently joined the firm's entertainment law podcast, Periscope.

You can listen to the full Sports Lawyers Association podcast episode on AppleSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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