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The Cost Of Collusion

If it smells like collusion, and it looks like collusion, minus it not tasting like collusion, it probably is collusion.  At least that is what Jeff Borris, Barry Bonds’ agent, has been preaching for a while now.  And it finally seems like the MLBPA is going to take up Barry’s cause.  Well…eventually.  While the MLBPA claims that it has found evidence of collusion among the owners in an attempt to ostracize Bonds from professional baseball, the union has agreed to delay the filing of any grievance for the time being.  Once, or if, a grievance is filed and if owners are found to have colluded in preventing Bonds’ signing with a team in 2008, then the CBA lays out the damages.

The first two paragraphs of Article XX Section E of the 2007-2011 MLB Basic Agreement reads as follows:

(1) The utilization or non-utilization of rights under Article XIX(A)(2) and Article XX is an individual matter to be determined solely by each Player and each Club for his or its own benefit. Players shall not act in concert with other Players and Clubs shall not act in concert with other Clubs.

(2) Upon any finding of a violation of Section E(1) of this Article XX by two or more Clubs, any injured Player (or Players) shall be entitled to recover in monetary damages three (3) times the lost baseball income, he (or they) would have had but for the violation. Such lost baseball income shall be limited to lost salary and other lost contractual terms, including lost additional contract years, lost signing bonuses, lost trade restriction provisions, lost option buyout provisions, and lost incentive bonuses (e.g., performance, awards, attendance and weight bonuses). Damages (and fees and interest) may be recovered only from the Clubs found to have violated Section E(1) of this Article XX.

So but for the violation, what would have Bonds made this past season?  It depends on what an arbitrator would find to be the proper amount.  Bonds made more than $15 million in his final season with the Giants.  Do you use that figure and multiply it by three, or do you use the minimum major league salary that Borris was pushing for ($390,000), which no team would offer to pay?

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.

2 replies on “The Cost Of Collusion”

It’s at least $30 million, because under normal circumstances he would have never reduced his demands and there would have been heavy incentive bonuses in any contract he signed. He made about $19 mill last season because of incentives.

Paragraph (2) looks like the fees could fall on only 2 clubs. That could be very expensive for someone.

The lost incentive bonuses seems too speculative to be determined, doesn’t it? Surely, Bonds would have incentive bonuses in his non-existent K, but whether those incentives would be reached by Bonds is questionable at best. Thoughts?

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