Professional Athlete's Rights

sensei_hanson

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Listening to Sporting News Radio last night, and the topic came up as to what sort of rights professional athletes should have, do exercise, and often abuse.

The first instance was the whole draft procedure. They starting rattling off a number of high-profile athletes who, for one reason or another, declined to sign a contract with the team that originally selected them. One of the first ones that sprung to mind was Eric Lindros with the Quebec Nordiques. Steve Francis with the Grizzlies, John Elway (who defied all convention by going to another league), and a variety of others who held teams hostage by refusing to report to play. In the case of Lindros, his move was basically one of the final nails in the coffin of the Quebec franchise. It almost solidified the notion that the city would never be able to attract, or hold onto, big-name players.

This could rear its ugly head again this summer when the NFL draft takes place. Heisman trophy winner and probable #1 pick Carson Palmer could very well find himself as the QB of the future for the Cincinatti Bengals. Cincy is an awful franchise who has no real future and seems to make bad decision after bad decision. The city of Cincinatti is actually suing the franchise for not putting a competitive product on the field for so many consecutive seasons.

Now, the question is this. Is Carson Palmer justified if he declines to sign with the Bengals? Or any draft pick, for that matter? As a first year player, do you simply report to camp and play with the team who drafted you, or do you use your skills as a pro athlete as leverage to obtain what you truly desire? In this case, what Palmer might desire would be not getting sacked 934 times next year behind a brutal Cincy offensive line. And going to a desolate franchise that might never recover from years of poor results.

The other point SNR offered up was the rights of a pro-athlete once a contract was signed. This Major League Baseball off-season saw a rather bizarre incident involving Larry Walker (Colorado) and Matt Williams (Arizona). In short, Williams had a no-trade clause in his contract with Arizona. Knowing this, Arizona management went into negotiations with Colorado for Larry Walker, offering up Williams in return. They then leaked this info to the media, who broke the story that a major MLB trade was hinging on whether or not Matt Williams would waive his no-trade clause. It was a strange deal because at this point in both their careers, Walker is a far more valuable commodity than Williams. This move was done in part to improve a baseball team, and in part to save money down the road.

Williams refused to waive the clause, and justifiably so. He cited that his family had established roots in Zona, and he wanted to end his career there rather than move to a new city. From this standpoint, I can agree with Williams' move. He has a binding agreement with his bosses which clearly states he cannot be traded unless he says so. He made a family decision and should be commended somewhat for that.

At the same time, I can agree with the several thousand fans who are going to show up to Arizona games this fall, and boo the shite out of Williams. Because to them, and rightly so, Matt Williams has prevented their baseball team from getting better. His contract is keeping Arizona from obtaining Larry Walker, who would undoubtedly make them a stronger team. And for the fans, winning really is the bottom line. You can't really sympathise with a guy who's making 50 times the money you'll ever see in a lifetime, even if he might have to uproot his family. It's not like he would be moving to some ghetto in downtown Denver.

I'll let this marinate for a bit. I don't know where I actually stand on this but I found it interesting nontheless.

Cheers,
-Sensetive.
 

Dapotayto

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I'm not sure there is a clear-cut answer to the question you have posed. On one hand it does seem, in some cases, a little unfair to make players work for specific teams, some of which they would never consider doing so if they had a choice. On the other hand, like you said, it's very hard to feel any sympathy for pro athletes these days with the amount of cash they are bringing in. Especially guys who have never played a second in their respective pro league but get huge contracts regardless. The owners of these teams are certainly no angels either and so it is also hard to find sympathy for them. I have a feeling someone (one of these high draft choices most likely) will challenge the legality of the whole draft system someday and we'll end up seeing some big changes. Personally though, for my job I was assigned a position here in Vancouver. Lucky for me as that was my choice but in the long run it wasn't my decision. I have also had to sign papers saying I am willing to relocate anywhere in Canada if, for whatever reason, it is deemed necessary. If I don't wish to do so then it's Au Revoir Monsieur and I'm out of a job. That is made clear from the start and part of the whole package. Not much different from being at the whim of an entry draft. With that in mind, I say if the players want to play pro sports then go by the rules that have been established by the leagues and stop crying. If you don't want to play by the rules then go find a real job like the rest of us. The problem is, most of the 'superstar' athletes live in a fcuking dream world anyway and don't understand 'rules' as they have never had to abide by them. If there wasn't an entry draft then the star players would hold all the cards and could go wherever the hell they want. Would we ever see the superstars playing in small market/undesirable locations? Players like Shaq in Orlando, Mario in Pittsburgh, and Barry Sanders in Detroit?

Sensei, as an aside, when did Elway join another league? He threatened to play baseball, I believe, but was traded to Denver before the NFL season started and thus played only for Denver. Am I wrong?
 

Captain Shamrock

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OAKLAND INVADERS (26 players)
Steve Booker LB Cal Poly SLO
Gill Byrd DB San Jose State
Reggie Camp DE California
Steve Clarkson QB San Jose State
Scott Darrow K Fresno State
Rich Dixon LB California
Mike Dotterer RB Stanford
Chris Dressell TE Stanford
John Elway QB Stanford
Henry Ellard WR Fresno State
Mariet Ford WR California
Wes Howell WR California
Brian Hawkins DB San Jose State
Kevin Jones LB Fresno State
Tim Kearse WR San Jose State
Tim Lucas LB California
Maomao Niko San Jose State
Stephon Paige WR Fresno State
Gary Plummer LB California
Chris Rose T Stanford
Harvey Salem T California
Rich Stachowski DE California
Ken Thomas DB San Jose State
Vincent White RB Stanford
Fred Williams DB California
Gary Wimmer LB Stanford


Territorial draft but I don't think Elway ever played in the USFL.....But I could be wrong, like that one time before.
 

ParkHead

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Good topic Sensei,


This discussion will go no forever because Both sides are right and wrong. I don't believe you could ever get everyone on the same page on this one. This comes down to just personal opinions!
 

Dude

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This is a cool topic, for sure.

Let’s not confuse rights with marketing strategies.

I’m assuming drafts were put in place to ensure teams had equal opportunity in building their franchises, so as to eliminate the likelihood of rich teams buying out all the young talent. When a team drafts a player, all the team has gained is that player’s rights in that league. This is why the Argos were able to sign Raghib Ismail to a CFL contract when he was originally drafted by an NFL team (was it the LA Raiders???). The player has the absolute right to negotiate the best contract he can, which may include trying to influence the team into trading away his rights.

That said, how smart of a marketing decision is it for a player to hold out his rights? As it was pointed out, it automatically creates an image of the player being a pre-Madonna, selfish, overconfident…when in reality, that player may or may not be these things. Lindros, it can be argued, did command the respect on the ice, because he had proven himself in the Canada Cup prior to playing in the show. It certainly hurt his image in Canada, though. I’d argue that, had he chosen the Nords, his overall marketability would have been higher. He could have been an icon in Canada, but, even though he has happily served his country in every important tournament he was asked to play in, he’s marked as a pouty crybaby. I'd also argue that he’s barely known outside of sports circles in the US. Given where he is now, and what he has managed to achieve, I’d say his strategy backfired. I think the same could be said for a lot of players whom chose to hold out. It may get them the best contract, but the question to be asked should be: how much better, and is it worth the bad press and publicity that player is likely to receive?

Players have to start thinking for themselves more, or else get themselves an agent who they’ll stick with for a long haul. Most agents are short sighted: the best contract now gets them the highest cut. Of course they’re going to advise their player to hold out.
 

Guinness

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Whoa Sensei

You bring up a couple of good debatable subjects, but like that putz Parkheed stated, "This comes down to just personal opinions!" ;)

However, I will assume the fans opinion... Cry babies like Steve Francis should be left out to dry... Although he said he didn't want to play in Vancouver they drafted him anyway... So they should have if they thought he was the best fit for their team (which it turns out he wasn't really considering they already had Bibby) :rolleyes: The teams around the league should have blacklisted him!!! He is an ego maniac that could care less about team success and that was obvious the day he was drafted...

Ted Nolan on the other hand has been out of hockey since he pissed in that old bat John Muckler's cereal... Being a coach, the organizations won't touch him in fear of losing bargaining leverage with other clubs... Players embrase a bad apple in hopes they are not as sour as the past(s) clubs have been saying...

Bure is another example of cancer!!! Fans, coaches and management should not put up with these self centred pukes...

What I'm saying is players are blessed with the talents they have and should embrase the city, the franchise and it's fans regardless of who or where they are!!! The NHL, NBA and MLB are all leagues that stretch across North America... Players (especially non proven rookie's) need to go where they're told and suck up the losing seasons... Maybe if they worked harder at playing and training insted of rapping and acting they could put up better numbers and contribute to team success...

Fans in Arizona should boo the hell out of Williams!!! Palmer better check his ego at the door and go to the Bengals and possibly contribute to them getting back to the super bowl!!! I'm sure there are many kids out there that would trade in their work in stealing cars and dealing drugs and play football in Cinci or would have traveled up to the great white north for our beloved since left Grizz??? Then again, maybe I'm dreaming and the life of a rich and spoiled athlete is quite normal??? :rolleyes:
 

lean

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Just a couple of thoughts....

Good Topic,

I think things should be evaluated differently for different players and would like to see a system where you earn your status as a professional player. Rookies (Lindros) entering their respective leagues should be thankful that someone before them provided them an oppertunity to play in a professional league like veteran players and owners who put up millions. Journeymen (Williams) players who have contribued to the success of a franchise and have proven loyalty desirve to be treated better. They earned the right to put no-trade clauses into their contract and the owners signed those contracts, so what gives the team the right to just wave it.

Here is one for you.... If both players retired right now who would you put in their respective Halls of Fame??


Leanwouldliketoseesomenoeknocklindrosoutofhockey:eek:
 

sensei_hanson

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The draft scenarios are tough to figure. If you put it into an "everyday life" perspective, it'd be equal to entertaining a variety of job offers after graduating top of your class. You put in hard work and effort to gain knowledge and make yourself a prospect to be a good employee. If you're wanted, you obviously use that as leverage to obtain the best deal possible.

I obviously hate Steve Francis for what he did to this city and the franchise. But you can't really knock a guy for using the leverage (leverage which is put on him by owners, scouts and the businessmen behind pro sports. Without them, Steve Francis is just a guy who played college basketball - very well, mind you). He is an asset, and he knows it. You can always use the old adage that "you go play for who picked you", but in reality, it's not that simple anymore. Francis was such a hot commodity that he, and the rest of the NBA with the exception of the Grizzlies, knew that Steve Francis was essentially calling the shots, not Stu Jackson.

Another topic - after watching Willis McGahee tear all three of his cruciate ligaments in the National Championship against Ohio State, I never want to hear another argument condemning guys for leaving school early. McGahee was 9 minutes away from leaving Miami as a fullback-turned-star-running-back, who worked his arse off to be nominated for the Heisman this season. If he came out he would have been a top-5 draft pick and would have been secured financially for the rest of his life. Now he's got to completely rehab his knee and hope to high hell that he can return to form in time for next season, and the 2004 Draft.

Like anything, if you work your butt off to be the best at something, the least you expect is some payoff in the end, be it personal or financial gain. If leaving school early means capitalizing on the work you put in, so be it.
 

sensei_hanson

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...and the Lindros issue....

He's a special case because the injuries have really kept him from being the player he was (or is supposed) to be. When he was at full health, he was dominant and had a nice stanley cup run with the Flyers.

Obviously the cloud regarding the draft situation will hang over his head until he's done playing hockey. So too will the Bobby Clarke fiasco - and my impression is that at the end of the day, Lindros will viewed as a whining malcontent rather than a talented and immense hockey player. I mean, he basically held two teams hostage by demanding trades and refusing to play. But then you look at the Dave Babych situation with the Philly doctors and you have to think that, sometimes, looking out for #1 isn't a bad idea. Hockey is a business above all else, and in a way Lindros was just sticking to his guns, getting all he could when he could.

The Captain is a Flyers fan. It'd be interesting to hear his take on the whole Lindros situation.
 

Captain Shamrock

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If leaving school early means capitalizing on the work you put in, so be it.

This is what happens in sports. We all feel bad for Magahee(sp?) because he did have a great season and good career at Miami. However, he could have been called for some workouts with some pro teams in the spring, and torn a knee ligament when trying to make a cut. We can't always use hypothetical situations or nothing would seem to work or make sense. So you're saying that LeBron James should have the right to leave school after his junior year(which he contemplated) in high school? He obviously worked very hard so he should leave after his junior year, just in case he blows his ACL during his senior year? I have never agreed to all these high school kids coming out and declaring themselves eligible for the NBA draft. There are too many things to potentially learn in university about life, and I'm not talking about Psychology 101. You know how long it takes these kids from high school to have any sort of impact in the league anyway. By going to university, they should hopefully be more physically and mentally tough to play at the next level, and deal with everything that goes with being a pro.


As for the Lindros/Clarke situation, I can't stand either of them. Clarke carries out his job superciliously every day and Lindros is a self-serving individual, whose career will always be superseded by Quebec/Colorado's success. At times, he brought a lot to the ice for the Flyers but it obviously wasn't enough. At the time, I knew the Flyers were giving up WAY too much to get him. As for Clarke, he was the epitome of the what the Broad Street Bullies stood for in the 70s, but as a general manager he is nothing less than egomaniacal. He lacks judgment and is more often than not, an ungracious, indecorous, and uncouth sack of bollocks. We just need to look at how the dealt with Roger Neilson.


Go Flyers.


Captain Malcontent
 

sensei_hanson

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If your kid told you he was skipping college because he was guaranteed a multi million-dollar contract, I hardly think you'd stop him/her from doing so. You strike when the iron is hot, and for LeBron James, the iron won't be any hotter after four years in college where scouts can constantly evaluate him and find every minor flaw in his game. His time is now, and you can thank scouts, the media, every NBA general manager and, to a certain degree, college coaches for this. I mention the college coaches because all of them basically stopped (or never tried to) recruit James after his 10th grade season. They went along with this foregone conclusion that the NBA was the only route to take.

It's a double-edged sword because of the huge risk involved. On the one hand, if the kid is legit he basically uses those four years usually reserved for college as training for a (hopefully) sterling professional career. The other hand has the case where you don't really know what you're getting, other than a very talented 17-year old who still lives at home with his parents. The worst thing is that, financially, the kid probably benefits from NOT going to college, because his potential at this point is more appealing than it ever will be. It creates a bad precedent, but who do you blame? The business, or LeBron James?
 

Yoda

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stepping back a bit

Going back to the drafting issue.
What is the point of having a draft if when a player is picked he doesn't go to that team. The object of the draft is to spread the talent out among all the teams so that the league teams are more equal and you don't get teams (like the Grizzlies) who suck every year.
If this is how the players are going to control the draft why don't we just rank all the players and then let them pick the team they want to play for. If player picks a team has already been picked by someone else then they can pick their second choice. That's what is happening anyways. Players are now picking the team they want instead of the teams picking the players they want.

Its all ass backwards.

As for no trade clauses, that is a risk that management takes. Personally I think your asking for troubling giving no trade clauses. What if after signing a 10million dollar contract a player stinks the whole season, you are stuck with him for good. Unless the player is getting traded to a team that he likes and wants to play for. I am sure that is the Walker/Williams trade were different and Williams had a chance to go to the Yankees, a legitimate World Series contender every year, he would have said OK.
But that takes us back to who's controlling eveything. Again, the player is picking his destination.
What control does management have then over their own players?

Yoda's2centsworth
 

Dude

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Of course you're going to follow the money. This is, in simple terms, the equivalent to winning the lottery for 99% of us who will never see a cash windfall like that in our lives. Hell, few of us will realistically be fortunate enough to earn as much as this kid will make on his first contract over the span of our entire careers.

Damn rights I'd do the same thing, and hope my kid would too. The best you can do in that situation is to hopefully mentor the kid, and hope that he keeps himself centered and humble, while investing his money wisely. You should also advise the lad to wrap it up every time he planned to dip it.

I'd hope he'd buy Dad a nice gift. A 36' Bayliner with flying bridge and Twin Eagle engines sounds good to me. And a home in the Bahamas (Guana Quay). And a house in Sun Peaks (Whistler's too expensive). Also, throw in an Olsen twin for good measure…they’ll be old enough by then.

I digress. School will always be there.

I agree that the current situation of kids skipping college to take their chances in the NBA draft is a problem...but it is a problem the NBA has to fix. Perhaps they should have a minimum draft age, like 20.

How are things done in European Football?
 

sid

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football

10 year olds are signed up on 1 year contracts to their loocall schoolboy team with either adidas clothing for the whole family,If that kid keeps up to their standard ie good grades ,competitive football,stay out of trouble they pick them year after year ,school is important ,not as important to many kids as is football!!

my dads best friend is the Irish rep. for adidas and he was telling me how the system works ,he is also damien duff & robbie keane agant ,he was telling me damien is going to man u ,in the next couple of weeks



sid
 

Yoda

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Paid the way you play

I think some how most leagues need to incorporate a "Get paid for what you produce" system. If you score 50 goals then you get paid more than a guy who scores 10 goals or 49 goals, instead of getting paid for what you've done in the past.

The guys that piss me off the most are guys like Big Continent who signed a 10 million dollar deal, played 2 (maybe 3) seasons, got himself out of shape and injured himself. Sat out for half the season or just long enough to get compensation and claim insurance, and still get paid but never play again.
If you don't play you don't get paid.
:rolleyes:

Tell me, is that waste of money or what.

I mean a perfect example of how this doesn't work is Jerome Iginla who is on pace to score 25 goals, which is less than half his season total of last year.
 

Dude

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The only way to control spending is a cap.

Your system won't work, because you may have, like in hockey, someone like Scott Stevens who's value isn't necessarily measured by his goal / assist output. This especially wouldn't work with a sport like soccer. That would mean that TheRob would be paid more than Yoda, because TheRob is such a magnificent goal-scorer. Even though, you, Yoda, are magnificent as a right fullback (and obviously more valuable to GEU that TheRob, you stud), you would be paid less because you score fewer goals.

Sucking up,

Dude.
 

Yoda

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Wait a minute

That's not true!
I have potted at least two this season...................in my own net of course, but that's not the point.

Obviously there would have to be a different point system for defensemen and forwards. Plus/Minus, PIM's, whatever.

I don't have it down to a science but there obviously needs to be a different system.

How about a base salary and then paid for each goal, assist, plus, minus, whatever.

I know this won't work for soccer but there must some other system that these leagues can use.

Hockey is obviously the biggest problem for salaries and keeping teams alive. I don't know if this problem exists in soccer, or even baskteball now that the Grizz are gone.

Other than the pay and pray system they use right now.
Pay 'em and pray they produce.

As for the spending cap, look what that did to the Grizz. I know they made some mistakes themselves (big salalaries, bad drafts, etc) but that screwed them pretty good for getting an experienced and talented player to help build the franchise.
Mind you the league didn't help with thier exorbinant franchise purchase fee either.
:rolleyes:
 

lean

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Follow the Leader

What is the most successful sports league out there....The NFL.

They use a model that includes a cap, no guaranteed contracts and have complete profit sharing. They have the highest rated television contract that is worth the most amount of money$$.

The owners have all of the control but work together to make money for everyone involved. The NHL, NBA and MLB should give more power to the owners and follow the NFL model.
 

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