Penn Law Faculty Find Place in Reporters’ Rolodex®
FOR SEVERAL DAYS last March, Penn Law School became
the epicenter of the sports world, as a media frenzy engulfed
Burbank, the NFL’s special master, had sat on the sidelines for
sixteen months, without any player disputes to settle. He had plenty
of time to study the league’s collective bargaining agreement,
which is even more complex than the typical offensive playbook.
But his inactivity ended when he was asked to rule on whether
Terrell Owens had the right to opt out of his contract with
the San Francisco 49ers and become a free agent. Overnight,
Burbank went from relative anonymity to celebrity. As Burbank
set a tight deadline for a ruling, sports reporters deluged him
with interview requests; The Boston Globe and Baltimore Sun
profiled him; fans crammed his inbox with emails.
And Burbank found himself in an unaccustomed position
which, frankly, irked him. “Any distraction from making the
best decision within the very limited amount of time available
was not a welcome distraction,” says Burbank, who, it turns
out, did not have to render a decision. The league and players
association resolved the issue on their own.
Burbank, David Berger Professor for the Administration of
Justice, is not the only Penn Law faculty member to draw media attention. Several others periodically place op-ed pieces in major
newspapers, appear on television, or provide quotes for articles.
Among the most visible are Nathaniel Persily and David Skeel,
both of whom are called on regularly to provide perspective in
their areas of expertise.