Brother of Judge Who Ruled for NFL in New Jersey Sports Betting Case Is Hired by New York Jets
The New York Jets have hired the brother of the U.S. District Judge who gave the NFL a legal victory in its showdown with New Jersey over sports gambling. The Jets hired Marcel Shipp, who was running back for the Arizona Cardinals for 8 season, was hired as the Jets’ running backs coach. The judge in the case is Michael Shipp, who was appointed to his U.S. District Court by President Obama in 2012.
Calls to Recuse Himself
Because of his connections to a longtime NFL employee, New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak earlier called for Judge Shipp to recuse himself from the sports gambling case. Marcel Shipp had subsequently had a teaching fellowship for children with the Arizona Cardinals organization.
In October 2014, the NFL joined with Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL, and the NCAA to sue the state of New Jersey. The suit was filed to stop the onset of sports betting at Monmouth Park, a New Jersey racetrack which hoped to open a sportsbook in conjunction with the famed UK bookmaker, William Hill Plc.
New Jersey’s Plea for Legalized Sports Bets
New Jersey has tried several times to legalize sports betting in their state, though the American court system has so far sided with the sports leagues. In this latest case, New Jersey’s leaders were following the advice by the U.S. Third Court of Appeals, which had ruled against New Jersey in an earlier case, but suggested the state would get better results of they allowed sports gambling, but did not try to legalize it.
Eventually, Judge Michael Shipp granted a temporary restraining order against Monmouth Park, derailing attempts to start a mid-season sportsbook. In November 2014, Shipp ruled that violations of the 1992 PASPA law, which bans sports gambling in all but four states, would cause irreparable damage to the sports leagues.
Reaction to Judge Shipp’s Ruling
New Jersey’s politicians were beside themselves with that judgment. It is hard to imagine how sports betting at Monmouth Park could destroy the NFL, when every NFL game played for the past 22 years was made available for gambling at Las Vegas sportsbooks. New Jersey believes, if the sports leagues have seen historic growth in their sports in the years that Las Vegas sportsbooks were taking wagers on their games, that the argument “sports betting will hurt public confidence” carries no weight. Judge Shipp disagreed.
Despite their mystification at the ruling, Raymond Lesniak and Dennis Drazin, the lawyer for Monmouth Park, say they will not file a motion to have Michael Shipp remove himself from the case. At this point, the fate of sports gambling in New Jersey is in the hands of the panel at the U.S. Third Court of Appeals. Soon, that group of judges will rule on Shipp’s decision. All along, New Jersey’s politicians believed the appellate court would be the best opportunity to legalize sportsbooks in New Jersey. In that case, Michael Shipp and Marcel Shipp are irrelevent.
About Marcel Shipp
Marcel Shipp was a First-Team All-American selection at the University of Massachusetts. Despite his accomplishments at UMass, Shipp went undrafted in the NFL. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent in 2001, but had no carries with the team in his rookie season.
“The Shipp Has Sailed”
In his 2nd season, Shipp had a break-out year, rushing for 834 yards and 9 touchdowns. In his 3rd season (2003), despite the team signing Emmitt Smith from the Dallas Cowboys, Shipp led the team in rushing again, with 830 yards. An injury ended his season early in 2004, but he once again led the team in rushing in 2005. After the team signed Edgerrin James as a free agent in 2006, Shipp’s carries were reduced significantly. 2007 was his last year with the team, though he played briefly with the Houston Texans in 2008. He played with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League from 2009 to 2011.
In 2014, Marcel Shipp began his career as a coach, taking a running backs position coaching job with Massachusetts, where he served under head coach Mark Whipple (in his second stint with the team). On the strength of that year, Marcel Shipp joined the Jets staff in the same position, under head coach Doug Marrone.
About Michael Shipp
Michael Shipp received his bachelors degree from Rutgers and a doctorate from Seton Hall University in 1994. Shipp served as a law clerk for the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1994-95. He was an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Newark, New Jersey from 1996 to 2003. From 2003 to 2007, he worked at the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.
In 2007, he was appointed as a Magistrate Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. He served in that role until his elevation by Barack Obama in 2012.