January 17, 2020
Dear friend of Advocacy for Fairness in Sports,
2019 was an exciting year for Advocacy for Fairness in Sports and as we enter 2020, we look ahead to new goals and new challenges.
After making the transition from solo blog to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit midway through 2019 we experienced a period of substantial growth thanks to reader support. We are now tracking more cases than ever before and we’ve expanded our writing staff to include Derek Helling as a regular contributor and Maurice Clarett as a featured columnist. This has enabled us to bring you more exclusive content than ever before. We’ll also be launching a podcast next month.
Advocacy for Fairness in Sports has been recognized and/or quoted in national publications such as the New York Times and The Athletic as well as in legal publications such as Law360 and the ABA Journal and continues to broaden its reach.
Investigative journalism is becoming a rarity, especially in the realm of sports, but it’s an effective catalyst for change. Consider where we’d be without “League of Denial.” Consider also that USA Gymnastics, the USOC and even the FBI were aware of Larry Nassar’s transgressions but Nassar was not brought to justice until Indy Star delivered their exposé. Consider how the investigative reporting of ESPN and Washington Post was responsible for exposing the egregious conduct of the University of Maryland’s coaching staff and their role in Jordan McNair’s needless death, and how those responsible were ousted from their positions due to public pressure. Unfortunately, these examples of investigative journalism-driven changes are becoming the exception rather than the rule as more and more newspapers are shuttering their investigative endeavors and major media focuses on clicks and entertainment and is often reluctant to report due to financial affiliations with organized sports.
Advocacy for Fairness in Sports works to continue delivering truly independent investigative sports journalism with moral clarity focused on promoting change. Even as small as we are, we appear to have had an impact on the way the NFL appeals claims in the concussion settlement. Last year the NFL initiated several bulk appeals encompassing numerous claims. Each time they did this, Advocacy for Fairness in Sports was successful in obtaining the off-docket records exposing their claim attacks and as a result, they have been forced to change their strategy to appeal claims individually. While their assault on dementia claims is still ongoing, they’ve been slowed by having to attack the claims one-by-one and as a result, will have more difficulty impacting the Class of retired players as a whole through those appeals. We continue to monitor the situation and report. We also are in the midst of ongoing investigations in other areas that are detrimental to athletes.
As you know, our website content is provided ad-free and free of charge because we strongly believe in our mission of providing access and analysis of sports law cases which focus on the rights and wellbeing of athletes and advocating on behalf of athletes in their quests for equity, fairness, and justice. The US court system charges for the thousands of underlying documents we need to bring our stories to light. In turn, we make these documents available free to you on Document Cloud. We travel to hearings to bring you firsthand insights into the latest sports litigation. In the near future we also hope to initiate an FOIA request regarding the NFL’s disability plan, but this, too, will be a costly undertaking. What we do is expensive, but vital. Please consider helping us to continue delivering unique and insightful content that you won’t find elsewhere. Even small donations add up and aid us in continuing our work. We need your financial support in order to do this.
Advocacy for Fairness in Sports recently opened a Patreon page in which our donors can pledge monthly donations starting at only $5.00 per month. We’re creating some exclusive content for our patrons and our patrons will also be alerted when a new story publishes so you won’t have to worry about missing anything. We’ve also established several tiers of support, each of which comes with some special perks for our monthly donors.
If you’re not ready to commit to a monthly donation, you can make a secure one-time donation through Stripe or PayPal by clicking below. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit recognized by the IRS, your donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. You may also donate anonymously if you prefer. Please click the button below to make a one-time contribution to our work.
Thank you for your generous support of Advocacy for Fairness in Sports!
Sheilla Dingus founded Advocacy for Fairness in Sports in October 2016, after a stint with Defenders of the Wall, a New England Patriots based blog where she dived deep into the legal aspects of Deflategate. Along the way, she observed many inequities in sports and felt a need to address some of the under-reported stories in sports law. She draws from her background as a former professional dancer, who like many of the athletes she writes about, took an early retirement due to orthopedic injuries. After a return trip to college she worked for a legal software company, with seven years as a Project Manager and Analyst. She brings her analytical skills to the table in breaking down complex lawsuits, and enjoys pursuing her longtime interest in journalism.