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Raiders Want JaMarcus Russell To Return Some Cash

Yelling JaMarcus Russell in an Oakland, California theater is almost like yelling fire – everyone is going to look for the nearest exit.  The Raiders are not too happy with their investment in the former #1 overall pick and are going to do whatever they can to pay him the least amount of money as possible.

Russell’s agents claim that $32 million of Russell’s $68 million rookie contract was fully guaranteed.  The Raiders claim that Russell’s rookie contract was modified at some point, and have filed a grievance, where this will all be looked at very closely.  The Raiders want Russell to give back $9.55 million – no small chunk of change.

Was this modification oral or written and signed?  As Paragraph 21 of the NFL Uniform Players’ Contract states, This contract, including any attachment to it, sets forth the entire agreement between Player and Club and cannot be modified or supplemented orally.  This is commonly termed a “no oral modifications” clause.  But what if there was a written modification?  Russell was already obligated to perform on his rookie contract with the Oakland Raiders.  Did he provide any new consideration?  If not, the modification would seem to be unenforceable.

If the modification claim is dropped and the Raiders want the money back saying it was merely a “salary advance” and not guaranteed, then good luck to them!

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

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