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Understanding breach-of-contract disputes for athletes

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Contract Disputes

Regardless of the sport, the professional athletics industry revolves around contracts. There are legal agreements regarding personal images, employment, contracting and everything else you could think of.

For players, contracts are among the most important aspects of being a professional. Even if you do not think you will become a party to a dispute, it makes sense to learn some of the basics.

What contracts do

A contract is more than an agreement to pay you a certain amount for a certain term of employment. It is a document that determines your relationship with the organization.

A typical sports contract outlines your responsibilities and those of your management. It would also have some language about most of the predictable problems that might arise and how all the parties agree to handle them. In general, it sets expectations and rules for the professional relationship.

How people handle disputes

In many ways, sports contracts operate under similar principles as other types of business contracts. When something happens that does not fit within the contract, parties might start legal action.

Typically, this action would come from a material or a minor breach of the contract. If you have a minor breach, it means that one party got what they wanted, but that there were problems with delivery, performance or other factors. A material breach would be when one party does not get what the others promised. Examples of material breaches might be if your company does not pay you or if you decide unilaterally you do not want to play for them.

While it is true that sports contracts are legal contracts in a general sense, they are also unique in many ways. There have been many decisions on cases involving athletes, forming a body of case law that might inform your dispute.