Ethics Or Merely Business Of Baseball?
After studying Professional Responsibility for a few minutes, which for some reason is given as a first semester class at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, I took a break and decided to do some sports reading. One of the last things that I suspected to come up on my radar was a discussion about ethics. The guys over at Squawking Baseball do not enjoy talking ethics. They would rather break down and analyze hard, cold numbers. I happen to be more of the other type. I take interest in tackling the gray issues, and thus, today we discuss ethics in baseball.
Search through the SportsAgentBlog.com Archives, and you may find quite a few articles where I defend the not-so-common man (players) against the old kings (teams and upper level management). I find that in a majority of circumstances, the media will say that a player is grossly overpaid instead of saying that such player was due a high compensation. I feel that mass media often gets the story wrong. First of all, teams would not be shelling out large quantities of money if they did not have the resources to spend. They must be making some moolah (hint: TV contracts). Second of all, for the great portion of the history of sport, players have been taken advantage of by organizations. As Squawking Baseball declares, “For a hundred years the owners screwed the players. For 25 years the players have screwed the owners – they’ve got 75 years to go.” [Ethical Culture].
I honestly do not believe that players nor agents are screwing the owners, though. Instead, agents are finally getting certain players a fair portion of the wealth accumulation that they create for management. So why do we insist on making each contract negotiation about ethics?
As long as an agent is fully representing her client to the best of her ability, not disclosing confidential information, not abusing fee restrictions, etc, then there is nothing ethically wrong. If the Average Joe or even the Wealthy Joe is willing to spend the money to see the player and TV companies are willing to pay for the rights to broadcast games, then why blame the player and agent when compensation increases?
For two days, free agents have been able to discuss possible contracts with any team. There have already been a few big signings. You can expect there to be many more (cough, A-Rod, cough). One thing is certain. Once A-Rod signs his record breaking deal, there will be cries from every corner of the planet. But why? It’s just a hard working man getting his well deserved dollars that some team (maybe the Angels) is willing to give up.
Ethics? Nah. I concur with Squawking Baseball…it’s just business. If you want ethics, read this book.