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Posts from June 2023.

Welcome back to the Spotlight! One of the more notable headlines in Hollywood this week is that Ryan Seacrest has been selected as the successor host to Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune.  For a man who wears countless hats, what’s another gig on one of America’s longest running game shows?  Happily, I have my law degree to help keep a moat around this slightly lesser paying position (if I am out next week, it will be because I am taking a break for Independence Day, not because of Seacrest).  For the rest of you, it’s not Artificial Intelligence that’s the biggest threat to taking over your job—it’s Ryan Seacrest (though maybe not mutually exclusive). Speaking of concerns about obsolescence, in response to several states having passed laws shielding state schools from being punished by the NCAA for any NIL-related violations, the NCAA has issued guidance to its member colleges and universities that disregard state laws for purposes of enforcement of NIL violations. In so doing, the NCAA is brazenly thumbing its nose at detractors and setting the stage for a renewed push for federal intervention to provide clarity to confusion arguably wrought by the NCAA itself. In essence, what the NCAA is doing is the equivalent of driving the wrong way on the highway in hopes that it will create a need for a traffic light. Where the chips land at the end of the day is anyone’s guess, but certainly no stretch of the imagination is required to arrive at the conclusion that there will be litigation to resolve the stalemate. After all, what people really want is to have lawyers in the spotlight.

    • Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney (alongside Michael B. Jordan and Redbird Capital) look to spin gold once again, this time on the Formula One circuit through their investment in the Alpine race team. On the one hand, Alpine is seeking to tap into the same success as Wrexham. On the other hand, they’re hoping that when it comes to their cars, they don’t wreck ‘em.

    • No stranger to things fiery red, Ed Sheeran is leveraging his record label’s new venture arm in launching his “Tingly Ted’s” line of hot sauces in collaboration with Kraft Heinz.  Personally, I would have gone with the name “Red Tearin’,” but what do I know about marketing? I’m just a small town lawyer who makes dad jokes.

    • NBA Star Chris Paul invests in plant-based brand Wicked Kitchen founded by brothers Derek and Chad Sarno. Not yet announced is whether Cliff Paul will join his brother on the cap table.

Welcome back to the Spotlight. It’s officially summertime, and the living is easy…or at least it should be (in theory) when you live in the (ahem…) spotlight. But with great star power, comes great responsibility (sidebar: I can say with certainty that this is the only time today that you read a work with a “Porgy and Bess” reference followed by a “Spider-Man” reference). That is the lesson that the NBA is seeking to impart on its All-Star player Ja Morant, handing down a 25 game suspension stemming from his flashing firearms on social media on at least two occasions (the first such occurrence leading to a 6 game suspension). Morant, whose talents have been celebrated by the league for drawing in a younger generation of basketball fans as superstars such as LeBron James age, now finds himself in a precarious position with the league and his endorsement partners. While it does not appear as if any of his contracts have been terminated, another misstep could send Morant crashing back down to earth—a cautionary tale for public figures in the age of social media, of which this year’s NBA draft class would be wise to take note.

    • NBC’s streaming service Peacock secures naming rights for the Los Angeles theater at which the EMMY Awards are held. One may find it clever that the name denotes a place to show off and be seen, but I think that it’s just fowl.

    • YouTube announced that as part of its inaugural season offering NFL Sunday Ticket programming this year, each subscription will allow unlimited simultaneous streams. Cord-cutters and cat video enthusiasts alike will undoubtedly rejoice at being able to watch the Week 5 matchup between the Panthers and the Lions.

    • The artificial intelligence, machine-learning music platform WAVS.AI, that made wav(e)s for streaming its AI-generated fake Drake song, “Heart on My Sleeve” has raised $20 million. The company will use a few hundred dollars of that to buy a companion for its AI machine (a microwave oven) and the rest will fund the company’s litigation costs.

    • Recording Artist INFJ Kenzo signs a $60 million debut recording agreement with an Israeli investment firm. Maybe I am getting old, but that’s a falafel lot of money for someone I had not heard of until five minutes ago.

Welcome back to the Spotlight and happy Fathers’ Day to all those celebrating (or celebrated) this weekend. If you’re a dad like me, you’re probably very tired, but also remarkably proud. Undoubtedly, the dads of the players for the Las Vegas Golden Knights and Denver Nuggets are especially proud of their having won the championships in their respective leagues (NHL and NBA) for the first time in history this past week (…maybe(?) a little less proud of celebratory debauchery, but that’s another story entirely).  One most valuable dad (MVD) who played a notable role in his child’s championship run is that of NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP), Nikola Jokić.  Were it not for Branislav Jokić’s fatherly wisdom to shirk becoming a horseman in favor of focusing on becoming a basketball player, the 6’11”, 284 pound Serbian superstar may not have shone as bright. Certainly, the NBA world would not have been able to tell a Jokić apart from a skin condition commonly treated with a medicated powder or ointment.

As it is, the people of Denver (and presumably the horses) are grateful for Jokić’s path, going from an afterthought (having infamously been drafted while ESPN was airing a Taco Bell commercial) to one of the best players in the world—all the while remaining humble, just as dad would have wanted. And just as you would have wanted, a few other highlights from this past week:

    • Phil Mickelson’s LIV Golf team, the Hyflyers may have flown too close to the Sun, as they face a trademark infringement lawsuit from an established skateboard apparel brand, Fallen, for having a confusingly similar logo.  The logos in question appear to be very similar designs of the letter “F” backwards and forwards—which is incidentally the grade that the Hyflyers’ legal counsel must have gotten in their law school trademark law class.
    • The Beatles’ Paul McCartney announces that artificial intelligence was used to re-create the late John Lennon’s voice to complete a final Beatles record. Some human intervention was needed to correct the recording as the AI model became confused and kept inserting noises of a walrus.
    • Twitter gets hit with a massive copyright infringement suit from major music publishers. Yet another lawsuit for Elon Musk to grapple with, hastening his plans to go to Mars.
    • Longtime Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak announces that he is R_T_R_NG.

If there are topics you’d like to see featured, parenting advice or any combination thereof, please feel free to contact me.

Welcome back to the Spotlight! This week, I aim to be your breath of fresh air since the Canadian wildfires are likely depriving you of the same. Another apparent smokescreen (albeit one that did not make the Sun appear red) was revealed in the sports world earlier this week, as the PGA Tour and LIV Golf settled their lawsuit against one another by agreeing to join forces. This news comes despite nearly two years of mudslinging, not the least of which came from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, who as recently as last year extolled the fact that, unlike the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, the PGA Tour was not funded by the same coffers that funded the 9/11 terror attacks. As Commissioner, it was Monahan who cut the deal. How quickly things change, particularly when there is seemingly limitless money involved.

Naturally, sideline observers and internet trolls alike have felt compelled to ridicule as inconsequential the decisions of big-name golfers such as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to decline the hundreds of millions of dollars being offered to have them join LIV Golf. But, while Woods and McIlroy must feel like the friends who badmouth another friend’s ex, only to find out that friend made-up with and got engaged to the ex, I doubt that they are losing much sleep over their decisions. Not only have they done very well for themselves professionally, but they have also helped bring light to the phenomenon known as “sports washing.” It is fair to wonder whether the principled stance factored into iconic soccer star Lionel Messi’s recent decision to decline a reported $1 billion offer to play in Saudi Arabia, in favor of an incentive-laden deal (rumored to include revenue sharing in MLS’ streaming rights deal with Apple, Adidas sponsorship and the right to acquire ownership in a future MLS franchise) to join Inter Miami as a Major League Soccer. That should pair nicely with Messi’s Apple+ docuseries.

    • The band Coldplay announced that they had reduced carbon emissions from their tour by almost 50%--and not just by cutting their setlist. Meanwhile, the full-throated screaming at Taylor Swift’s tour has pushed CO2 levels beyond pre-industrial levels.
    • The Cincinnati Bengals and stadium sponsor Paycor are giving back to their community, hosting an innovation pitch competition giving minority-owned businesses a chance to win a sponsorship package for the Bengals 2023 season. Through the sponsorship, the businesses hope to gain brand recognition and, in so doing, answer the question, “WHO DEY?”
    • Fashion House Louis Vuitton introduces a luxury NFT collection, making spending money on its merchandise that much harder to justify (sorry, honey!).

Welcome back to the Spotlight (to everyone but the Boston Celtics, who made it as far as opening the link but didn’t put in the effort to read any further)! A little basketball humor to kick off this week and get me blacklisted throughout New England. For those who were rooting for a comeback in the Heat and Celtics playoff series, you actually got exactly what you wanted, if not the one you realized. Indeed, by now, you have probably read or seen that just a year earlier, Heat forward (and fellow JB) Jimmy Butler boldly stated after a Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics that he and his team would be back and get the job done next year. And like a stereotypical murder mystery, (the) Butler did it, propelling his team to the NBA Finals through countless memorable performances. Full of foresight and confidence, if Butler’s on-court performance has been stellar, his off-court performance has been savvy. Having demonstrated an entrepreneurial chops in 2020 during the NBA’s COVID-abbreviated “bubble” season, selling $20 cups of coffee, Butler continued keeping an eye on business by having his legal team file for trademarks for HIMMY BUCKETS for use in connection with clothing…and coffee. The lesson? Always bet on yourself and surround yourself with a team to help you take advantage of opportunities when they come knocking. Not unlike taking advantage of the opportunity to read this week’s Spotlight.

    • Retired tennis great Roger Federer follows the route taken by such celebrities as Christina Aguilera and has lent his voice to traffic navigation app Waze. A surprising move for someone who’s not used to being out.

    • The Scottish Pickleball National Championships are set to get underway. Great news for the continued growth of the sport. Terrible news for the ball boy/girl who has to retrieve errant bounces from players’ kilts.

    • Wildly popular Netflix series King of Collectibles: Goldin Touch is the subject of a copyright infringement dispute in which the plaintiffs allege their concept for the show was stolen from them. Best case scenario for the defendants, they win. Worst case scenario is they lose and get to auction off original pleadings from the litigation.

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