Player Restraints In Professional Sports Essay

Length: 10 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Sports Type: Essay Paper: #30447372 Related Topics: Sports Law, Football, Antitrust Practices, Sports Media
Excerpt from Essay :


National Football League (NFL) free agency and player mobility restrictions

Sports have managed to become gradually a lucrative business, which has seen to the interest by investors to protect this business. Team owners, who are the main stakeholders, have imposed rather extreme measures or approaches to protect their teams from supposed manipulation from their players. Through the NFL, team owners have imposed the mobility restrictions on the players to retain them and generate revenue from the players, and subsequently retain them in the team.

The intention of the study is to critique relevant literatures on the topic, and provide credible data about the aspects of NFL, free agency and mobility restrictions on players.


This study relied on prior literatures. The search strategy employed used terms such as "NFL and mobility restrictions on players" to find relevant studies. The main exclusion imposed in the studies is the literatures submitted by students, for example, dissertations and thesis.


It is apparent that information from the studies suggests that the team owners generate revenue at the expense of their players. The main and consistent suggestion from most of them is that there is a need of free agency to ensure that players can choose their teams of choice. In addition, cases or litigation in the ordinary courts have found out that the mobility restrictions are extreme, and they cannot ensure a professional association among the players and the team owners. In addition, the dispute between NFL and NFLPA about the issue is the longest in history.


The studies show consistency that free agency is the superlative way to guarantee that there is competition in the market. In addition, team owners should give the players a chance to earn what they deserve. Moreover, even the court has come out to justify the players' concerns in relation to the exploitative nature of the mobility restrictions on players. A particular study justifies the "Franchise Player" adopted by NFL, suggesting that it has the capacity to reduce the high costs involved in the negotiation. However, the approach is still restrictive.

National Football League (NFL) Free Agency and Player Mobility Restrictions

Problem Statement

Sports have evolved to become a lucrative business venture, which has seen to emergence of many investors. Alternatively, this has seen to the development and observation of the sports law in an effort by the investors to protect their investment interests. Conversely, owing to the money involved in sports, team owners have also imposed their own rules, in an effort to protect their teams, particularly through imposing mobility restrictions to its players. Apparently, there are many mobility restrictions, which have also evolved over time.

They all serve the same purpose of protecting team owners from supposed manipulation from team players. However, it is not appropriate for team owners to restrict players, and impose their own mediated salaries on the players, considering the amount of money a single player brings or contributes to the team. In this context, it is also wrong for the team owners to limit the movements of players. Therefore, it is a problem in the context that as a profession, players might not be enjoying their professions, and they could be operating as slaves.


The study relied on prior studies. Therefore, the most appropriate method use to retrieve relevant information concerning the topic was through a literature review. Literature reviews are central to already existing literature on the topic, regardless of the year the study was conducted. In this context, literature reviews provide accounts of literatures undertaken by accredited scholars or investigators in relation to the topic of study. Then again, this study's aim is to give an evaluative study, which analyzes prior studies, only those relevant to the topic of study in an effort to unravel more information about the topic of study. In addition, the paper employed an online search. This followed search on Google and Google Scholar for relevant literature.

Search Strategy

Notably, NFL and player mobility is a historical phenomenon. It is evident from the literature, and this is because of literature dating back...


Having no particular issue to look for, the search strategy included terms such as "NFL and player restriction mobility, NFL free agency, NFL free agency and player mobility, and player restriction mobility." In this context, the search strategy yielded a number of studies, which were relevant or showed some relevance to the topic of study.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

The study imposed exclusion and inclusion criteria. In this regard, any study that did not show any relevance to the topic of study was not included in the study. This means that any study, which lacked or failed to provide or obey the search strategy terms employed, were excluded. In addition, the study did not impose exclusion criteria based on the year of publication. This is because most of the studies, which showed substantial relevance to the topic, were mainly published between the years 1990-2013. The quality of the paper also mattered; in this context, papers from relevant or accredited authors, scholars, and investigators were included in the study. However, if there were papers submitted by students, such as thesis, or dissertations.

Body of Review

What the Studies Say

In the chosen studies, they all showed a consistency on the issue of free agency. In all the studies, it referred to the player's ability to have the freedom of choosing to sign with their teams of choice in the league. In addition, the renowned sports agencies, which include NFL, NHL and MLB, share this similarity, and they recognize that it is fundamental in the continuation of a free market. In addition, without a free agency, it would be impossible to realize the unfairness, and this is dangerous because team owners would exploit players (Chalian, 2012).

However, with free agency, there is the creation of a competitive market where players can negotiate with many teams, and this would allow them to receive benefits equivalent to their value. With the top three leagues sharing this crucial aspect, it would be possible to examine the adverse effects of variations in contract structures. In the past, people engaged in sports because of their love to the game; however, this is not the case anymore. Currently, players of all types of sports appear to be hired to play. Recently, it has become common for the players to maximize their salaries, and freedoms (Simmons, 2007; Depken, 2000).

This, therefore, has resulted to a counterattack from team owners who have fought to ensure that they retain as much revenue from the players, which has only created conflicts. As a measure or approach to mitigate the conflicts, players and team owners have opted to hold negotiations between the player's associations and the professional leagues. Historically, team owners imposed the player restrictions mobility in an effort to contain their players' salaries. They restrained the movements of the player through the reserve clause, which gave the team owner exclusive rights to the player's services and subsequently gave the owner the right to offer their desired salaries to the players.

In addition, the reserve clause forced players to accept the provided contract, and failure to accept this; they would lose their eligibility to play the sport. The college draft, which is still in existence to date, is another mobility restriction clause, which indoctrinated the players into the reserve system. In reference to the college draft, teams chose players who were later placed on the reserve lists. Still, there is another type of mobility restriction known as first refusal. In this context, first refusal operates together with the free agency restrictions to limit the player's movements, prior to them playing for the team for a particular period.

Failure of a player playing for the threshold years, when their contract expires, then, the players become restricted free agents and remain subject to the first team's right of first refusal. This restriction gave the team power to match any offer from external teams made to the players, in an effort to keep the player. However, when the player meets or plays for the team for the required time, then one becomes an unrestricted free agent (Depken, 2000).

At the phase, the player could sign with any of the available teams without any imposed limitation. Although there were a number of player mobility restrictions, prior studies suggest that the mobility restrictions failed, mainly because of the increased antitrust and player demands. This saw to the development of new methods, which also aimed to restrict player mobility. A typical example of the new techniques is the salary cap, and this enables the player's freedom to move intra-league; however, there are limits about the number of teams, which the player was supposed to undertake negotiations (Levine, 1995).


Mobility restrictions give the team owners power to manipulate the players, and this is why there are many conflicts between players and their managers, or team owners. Team owners…

Sources Used in Documents:


Chalian, S.C. (2012). Fourth and goal: Player restraints in professional sports, a look back and a look ahead. St. John's Law Review, 3(7), 1-46.

Depken, C. (2000). Wage disparity and team productivity: Evidence from Major League baseball. Economic Letters 67:87 -- 92.

Depken, C.A. (2002). Free Agency and the Concentration of Player Talent in Major League baseball. Journal of Sports Economics, 3(4), pp. 335-353.

Eckard, E.W. (2001). Free Agency, Competitive Balance, and Diminishing Returns to Pennant contention. Economic Inquiry, 39(3), 430-443.

Cite this Document:

"Player Restraints In Professional Sports" (2014, May 02) Retrieved August 8, 2022, from

"Player Restraints In Professional Sports" 02 May 2014. Web.8 August. 2022. <>

"Player Restraints In Professional Sports", 02 May 2014, Accessed.8 August. 2022,

Related Documents
Sports and Anti-Trust Is the National Football
Words: 4609 Length: 15 Pages Topic: Sports Paper #: 26815272

Sports and Anti-Trust Is the National Football League's Requirements to Enter the Draft a Violation of Antitrust Law? If so why? Why does the NFL think it is not a violation? Defining the AntiTrusts Legislation Sherman AntiTrust Legislation Clayton Antitrust amendment Presidential support The Maurice Clarett Case The NFL's position, The effect is could have on the game. Judge Scheinin's decision Sherman Antitrust Act Clayton Act Basis of Judge Shira Scheinin's Decision Other cases from other Professional sports leagues, like the NBA, that are

Sports, Race, and Gender Sports
Words: 1706 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Sports Paper #: 77228108

But despite these strides, the negative as well as the positive legacy of sports in American culture cannot be ignored. References About Title IX. (2010). University of Iowa. Retrieved September 20, 2010 at Douglas, Scott. (2005). Running through Kenya. Retrieved September 20, 2010 at Gettleman, Elizabeth. (2006, July). Review of William C. Rhoden's Forty Million Dollar Slaves. Mother Jones. Retrieved September 20, 2010 at Johnson, Jenna. (2010). NCAA graduation rates. The

Collective Bargaining in Sports and
Words: 2529 Length: 10 Pages Topic: Careers Paper #: 92478124

Strikes in particular have been used as a bargaining chip during collective bargaining negotiations. Players unions can use the threat of a strike to motivate owners to capitulate to their demands. If this is unsuccessful, then players can follow through on their threat and effectively shut down the professional sports industry. For the human resources professional, the potential of a strike is a significant problem. It hinders the smooth and

Sports World Cup: Unifying the
Words: 6706 Length: 20 Pages Topic: Sports Paper #: 15665876

It's well-known that soccer, like religion, can provoke violence like hooliganism and tramplings at overcrowded, large stadiums, and this is what many Americans assume it is all about. "But soccer has also proved unique in its ability to bridge differences and overturn national prejudices. The fact that the World Cup could even take place in South Korea and in Japan, as it did in 2002, was a victory for tolerance

Violence in Hockey This Past
Words: 2244 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Sports Paper #: 18565124

Violence in Hockey Today There is no shortage of opinions regarding whether or not violence in hockey should be curbed. Certainly the NHL, the fans and the players would all like to see incidents such as the Bertuzzi-Moore fiasco eliminated from the game. Some fans would go further, but that approach may not be realistic. All physical, contact sports will be inherently aggressive. That aggression will naturally boil over from time

Antitrust Exemptions One of the First National
Words: 644 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Business - Law Paper #: 15599560

Antitrust Exemptions One of the first national laws against trusts and monopolies was the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1886, which applies to all businesses engaged in interstate or international commerce. Federal law and the courts have defined commerce very broadly, as the "giving of essentially anything in return for barter or money" unless a specific exemption is granted (ABA, p2007, p. 7). Up to the 1970s and 1980s, many industries had