NFL players face unique issues in arbitration
Florida professional football players have a lot on their plates, especially when it comes to negotiating their career contracts. There are many intricacies involved in the bargaining process, specifically in the arbitration process used by the NFL. Sports law can present unique issues that have huge impacts on the careers of NFL players.
New Orleans Saints All-Pro player Jimmy Graham is entangled in just such a legal situation. As part of a contract dispute, Graham filed a complaint indicating that his current position as tight end does not accurately describe his job duties. Instead, Graham would like to be considered a wide receiver because one, he claims he is frequently split away from the tackle and, two, being deemed a wide receiver would mean a $5 million salary bump. The NFL’s argument against this claim is that Graham was drafted as a tight end, made the Pro Bowl in that position, meets in the tight end room and lines up where tight ends do. Further, the NFL indicates that Graham’s Twitter page lists himself as a tight end.
Issues similar to Graham’s come up often in NFL contract negotiation and a seemingly insignificant detail, like a Twitter post, can mean the difference of millions of dollars. Collective bargaining agreements like arbitration can be challenging because they present these types of complexities at very high stakes.
Tricky rules may apply when negotiating player contracts and the results may have a major effect on a player’s salary or job description. Florida legal professionals with experience in sports law can help players going into negotiations understand the legal complexities and help protect players’ best interests in the process.
Source: New York Post, “Jimmy Graham’s Twitter bio could cost him $5 million,” June 18, 2014