Sport and the Law


Historical and Cultural Intersections
Edited by Samuel O. Regalado and Sarah K. Fields
978-1-55728-666-6 (paper)
December 2014


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This new collection examines not only how athletes looked to the nation’s judicial system to solve conflicts but also how their cases trans¬formed the interpretation of laws. These essays examine a vast array of social and legal controversies including Heywood v. NBA (1971), which allowed any player to enter the draft; Flood v. Kuhn (1972), which considered baseball’s antitrust status; the Danny Gardella lower level 1948 case regarding free agency and baseball; Muhammad Ali’s celebrated stance against the U.S. draft; Renée Richards’s 1976 lawsuit against the U.S. Tennis Association and its due process ramifications; and human rights violations in international law with respect to the increased recruitment of underage Latin baseball players in the Caribbean region are a few examples of the vast array of stories included. Sport and the Law links these cases to other cases and topics, giving the reader the opportunity to see the threads weaving law and sport together in American society.


“This engaging set of essays demonstrates how individual sports were changed forever when the law was brought to bear on practices that were thought to be so important that they needed no defense. One of the strengths of the essays is that they focus directly on how the law affected the lives of individuals and in so doing set the stage for new conditions that would affect players, officials, teams, leagues, fans, and even governmental jurisdictions for decades to come.”

—Charles Korr, author of The End of Baseball As We Knew It: The Players’ Union, 1960–1981

Samuel O. Regalado is professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus and the author or editor of four books, including Baseball in Nikkei America: From the Meiji to the Majors.

Sarah K. Fields is associate professor of communication at University of Colorado Denver and the author of Female Gladiators: Gender, Law, and Contact Sport in America.

Sport and the Law is an exceptionally well-edited anthology of its kind. Unlike conventional sports law books that focus on the effect of law and case law on the field of sport, this refined specimen places sports case law into a comprehensive historical and cultural context that gives life to the legal decisions that have had a profound impact on American sport, law, and the larger society. The essays are written in a scholarly yet jargon-free manner that assumes no prior knowledge of legal, historical, or jurisprudential theory on the part of the reader. It is an easily accessible book that is a must-read for those interested in specific sports- law cases, the historical and social context in which they were adjudicated, and their ultimate legacy to sport and the United States of America. Sport and the Law should certainly be added to the list of textbooks for college programs of study in law, sport, history, and American studies.
—Ying WuShanley, Journal of Sport History, Fall 2016
“Free of legal jargon, this accessible book emphasizes the historical and cultural context that influences legal decisions and the reciprocal impact that sport, law, and the larger society have on one another. Recommended, upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers.”
Choice, January 2016

“This book should be of great interest for sport historians and American studies’ scholars.”
Sport in American History

Section I: The Burger Supreme Court and Sports


Chapter Two: “Clay, aka Ali v. U.S. (1971): Muhammad Ali, Precedent, and the Burger Court”
Samuel O. Regalado

Chapter Three: “Odd Bedfellows: Spencer Haywood and Justice William O. Douglas”
Sarah K. Fields

Chapter Four: “The Flood Case, 1972”
Richard C. Crepeau

Chapter Five: “How the Burger Court Came to Be”
Steven P. Gietschier

Section II: Antitrust Law & Sports


Chapter Six: “Danny Gardella and Baseball’s Reserve Clause: A Working-Class Stiff Blacklisted in Cold War America”
Ron Briley

Chapter Seven: “Powerlifting’s Watershed: Frantz v. United States Powerlifting, the Legal Case that Changed the Nature of a Sport”
Thomas M. Hunt and Janice S. Todd

Section III: The Impact of Sport on Law


Chapter Eight: “Thirty Five Years After Richards v. USTA: The Continued Significance of Transgender Athletes’ Participation in Sport”
Anne L. DeMartini

Chapter Nine: “‘Clean Up the Abuses’: Building a Rule-of-Law Culture for Major League Baseball’s Operations in Latin America”
Arturo J. Marcano and David P. Fidler

Chapter Ten: “‘A Matter of Basic Fairness’: Ed O’Bannon Takes the NCAA and EA Sports to Court”
Daniel A. Nathan

Chapter Eleven: Epilogue

Thoughts Regarding Scholarly Methods




Sport, Culture, and Society is a series from the University of Arkansas Press that publishes monographs and collections for academics and general readers in the humanities and social sciences. Its focus is the role of sport in the development of community and the forging of individual, local, regional, and national identities.

Sport is an extraordinarily important phenomenon that pervades the lives of many people and has enormous impact on society in an assortment of different ways. At its most fundamental level, sport has the power to bring people great joy and satisfy their competitive urges while at once allowing them to form bonds and a sense of community with others from diverse backgrounds and interests and various walks of life. Sport also makes clear, especially at the highest levels of competition, the lengths that people will go to achieve victory as well as how closely connected it is to business, education, politics, economics, religion, law, family, law, family, and other societal institutions. Sport is, moreover, partly about identity development and how individuals and groups, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic class, have sought to elevate their status and realize material success and social mobility.

Sport, Culture, and Society seeks to promote a greater understanding of the aforementioned issues and many others. Recognizing sport’s powerful influence and ability to change people’s lives in significant and important ways, the series focuses on topics ranging from urbanization and community development to biography and intercollegiate athletics. It includes both monographs and anthologies that are characterized by excellent scholarship, accessible to a wide audience, and interesting and thoughtful in design and interpretations. Singular features of the series are authors and editors representing a variety of disciplinary areas and who adopt different methodological approaches. The series also includes works by individuals at various stages of their careers, both sport studies scholars of outstanding talent just beginning to make their mark on the field and more experienced scholars of sport with established reputations.

The series is edited by David K. Wiggins.