Mississippi College

Michael McCann Brings Sports Expertise to Mississippi College Law School

May 23, 2014

Michael McCann always scores points with his insightful analysis of legal issues swirling around the sports universe.

One day, the “SI.com” writer is examining the merits of the new lawsuit by retired football players who sued the NFL. They claimed the league provided powerful painkillers to keep them on the field.

The next, McCann is discussing the latest step in the legal wrangling as the NBA seeks to boot Donald Sterling as owner of the LA Clippers.

As the media firestorm rages off the field for millions of sports fans, McCann quietly slipped away in late May to teach sports law classes in Jackson, Mississippi, the heart of SEC Country. But the Distinguished Visiting Hall of Fame professor at the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson continued to take media calls and pen stories between lectures.

Breaking news or breaking in new law students, McCann is a hot commodity in media circles and on the academic scene.

“Professor Michael McCann is the perfect teacher and commentator for sports law,” says MC Law School dean Jim Rosenblatt. “He has a command and working knowledge of the many aspects of the law that come to focus on a legal issue with a sports setting.”

Whether it’s anti-trust, contracts, tax, labor, employment or intellectual property law, the Massachusetts resident “understands how these disciplines affect the issue at hand,” Rosenblatt says. “He also has the ability the break down complicated issues into concise segments that promote analysis and understanding of the matter.”

In short, McCann brings his “A game” to the table – from interviews on CNN and NBC’s “Today Show” to pounding home a point to law students in Mississippi and New Hampshire.

“Michael brings an uncommon breadth of perspective to his sports law course,” says MC law professor Matt Steffey, who’s frequently quoted by the media on a host of legal issues in Mississippi.

“Students are especially eager to engage with professors who are relevant to the larger world – whether through scholarship, government service or as part of the ongoing public dialogue,” Steffey said. “Michael’s work with various media outlets definitely brings this aspect to his teaching.”

Showcased on McCann’s radar screen is the lawsuit filed May 20 by eight retired NFL players who argued the league never warned them about the long-term health dangers of pain killers and anti-inflammatories.

Their claims could grow to become a class action lawsuit involving more than 500 former pro football players. Meanwhile, the NFL tries to persuade a federal judge to accept a $765 million settlement with another group of players who claim the league hid or ignored the effects of concussions and head trauma.

The founding director of the Sports & Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire, McCann has been running a sports law marathon in recent weeks.

With the Donald Sterling case, the new litigation on NFL painkillers, talk of paying college football players and much more, the Boston Red Sox fan has appeared on a blitz of national TV programs. He fielded questions on 15 national TV shows in the last month – from CBS News to NBC’s “Today Show” and numerous interviews with CNN’s Don Lemon.

Since April 26, the Harvard Law School graduate has penned 13 articles for SI.com, one for “Sports Illustrated” and a new piece May 22 detailing the NFL painkillers lawsuit on Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback. “The lawsuit depicts the NFL as a greedy enterprise which viewed players as disposable assets and treated them more like thoroughbreds than humans,” McCann writes in “The MMQB.”

A former full-time Mississippi College law professor, McCann has nearly 23,000 Twitter followers. He’s a regular on Facebook, too.

McCann shows no signs of slowing down as sports fans keep tabs on player contract disputes, off-the-field legal fights, the NCAA Division I football playoff system starting next fall and other burning topics for ESPN lovers.

When he’s not giving his take on sports law issues or teaching students, McCann enjoys life in Andover, Massachusetts with his wife, Kara, a real estate and banking analyst.

His career in sports law should keep McCann running sprints through the summer, fall and the years ahead. Says Steffey: “Media coverage of the legal troubles of athletes and owners is certainly booming.”

To follow Michael McCann on Twitter go to @McCannSportsLaw.

Photo: Michael McCann, Distinguished Visiting Hall of Fame Professor at Mississippi College School of Law and nationally acclaimed sports law analyst.

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