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The Wide World of Media Coverage 1 - 2

Penn Law Faculty Find Place in Reporters’ Rolodex®

 
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The Wide World of Media Coverage
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FOR SEVERAL DAYS last March, Penn Law School became the epicenter of the sports world, as a media frenzy engulfed Stephen Burbank.

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.

 
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