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Sports Law

Sports law covers both professional and amateur sports. It overlaps with contract law, tort law, antitrust or competition law and labor law. Privacy rights and defamation are important aspects of this law. With this law, professional athletes can organize unions and associations to negotiate CBAs or Collective Bargaining Agreements with their sports owners. Owners and players should honestly negotiate mandatory issues like those associated with wages, working conditions and hours. Other issues are considered permissive and don’t need to be negotiated. Once a Collective Bargaining Agreement is in effect, sports owners pledge not to lock out players and players promise not to strike.

In almost all professional sports, the limit on the use of drugs that enhance performance has become an important part of Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. Not all professional sports have the same drug policies. Every Collective Bargaining Agreement usually explains the policy about drug testing, rights of appeal, penalties, list of prohibited drugs, privacy issues and violations. Drug violations may not only result in loss of income, but also suspensions.

Player agents are usually certified by their sports association. Once they have a certification, they may negotiate the contracts of players. Agents who assigned to conduct business on behalf of the players have to fulfill a fiduciary duty such as behaving ethically, acting in the best interest of the player and acting fairly.

Tort Law Issues

A tort is an actionable wrong. Negligence torts are usually more difficult to prove in contact sports since injuries and violent actions are more common and expected. Spectators can also file a case for negligence if the injuries they have sustained couldn’t have been anticipated given the sporting event’s nature. For instance, a baseball fan staying in the bleachers could sensibly assume a baseball might come toward their direction. However, a wrestling fan staying courtside wouldn’t assume a wrestler to come soaring their way.

Sports tort law affects other less obvious aspects. For instance, team doctors could be responsible for medical malpractice for issuing a fabricated clean health bill to a player so that the athlete may continue performing. This is a form of negligence on their part. Players who deliberately cause physical harm to another player, spectator or coach may be responsible for doing an intentional tort together with battery and assault.

A person’s reputation or good character is protected by the law of defamation. Publishing wrong information about an athlete may be unlawful if it was circulated with actual spite or with an irresponsible disregard for the truth. The popularity and growth of instant messaging, websites and other non-traditional media outlets have added a different dynamic to this area of the law.

Publicity rights are also closely associated with tort. The law of defamation may protect the reputation or good character of an individual, but the right of publicity allows a person to commercially take advantage of his name, image or likeness. Domain names, copyrights and trademarks are included in this area of sports law. Getting the help of a lawyer is advised if you face any problem with your contract or you sustained an injury due to another person’s negligence, inaction or action.

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