The Case Of James Jackson's Case Against The NFL

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The Case Study in question relates to a racial discrimination suit filed by James Jackson III against the National Football League (NFL) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in June 1994. Jackson had previously filed a discrimination charge in 1991 with the Equal Opportunity Commission and was granted the right to sue on July 1, 1992 (Jackson v. National Football League, 1994). The plaintiff, James Jackson III, an African American minor league football coach, sued the NFL because he was not granted an interview for a head coaching position in the World League of American Football (WLAF). The WLAF was formed by the owners and teams of the NFL as a corporation and limited partnership whose sole shareholders were the …show more content…
Jackson, the plaintiff, asserted that he could not be labeled as “not qualified” because no set guidelines or criteria existed for the hiring of coaches by the WLAF. Mr. Jackson’s past experience included nine years as the head coach of a Connecticut minor league football team. In addition, he had been a head coach of a semi-pro team in New York. He believed that this experience presented sufficient qualifications for an interview. Mr. Jackson contended that the WLAF eventually hired a coach who did not conform to their informal guidelines when they hired Roman Gabriel. Gabriel was a local hero in North Carolina who had no prior coaching experience, only having played the quarterback position in the NFL. Additionally, Mr. Jackson produced personal notes of a telephone conversation with Mr. Vainisi that offered evidence of discrimination. Within this conversation, Mr. Jackson was told that he could not be hired for the team in Germany because “They’re not ready for a black head coach” (Jackson v. National Football League, 1994). Moreover, Mr. Jackson maintained that the WLAF and the NFL should be considered a single entity and, therefore, he had cause to sue the NFL. As evidence he cited that the NFL and WFAL had the same accounting and law firms, they operated a joint office and planned to combine insurance coverage (Jackson v. National Football League, …show more content…
Jackson is the plaintiff, he has the burden of proof to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. His lawsuit was brought against the NFL and although Mr. Jackson cited the actions of WLAF officials, there was no evidence of discrimination on the part of the NFL. His claim of discrimination was not directed against an NFL team and, therefore, he did not produce evidence of a pattern of discrimination. In addition, the plaintiff sought to utilize the single employer argument to a part of the NFL. Mr. Jackson did not establish that the NFL exercised complete control over the WLAF nor did he cite legal authority to support the condition that the management of the WLAF by NFL owners constituted ownership. Thus, it is my contention that the plaintiff should not win the case, based on the facts provided. However, I do believe that Mr. Jackson had a legitimate case of discrimination against the WLAF and the criteria established in the McDonnell decision had been

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