This is a very broad ranging question for professional athletes who have agreed to contracts. In some cases, the rules are clear as to what the athlete has control over and what the team does. However, in other cases, you have to look deeper into the contracts, or the collective bargaining agreements to get the answer.
Indeed, professional athletes typically use an agent who negotiates their individual contract on their behalf. In exchange, the agent will receive a percentage of the negotiated deal. The contract involves the number of years and monetary amount. It can also involve various incentives. So these could include additional payouts for reaching any number of milestones. Including things like winning the MVP award, making the All-Star game or leading the league in scoring.
Not Always Clear
But there are some other areas that are not as clear at first glance. Take the case of Los Angeles Laker guard Lonzo Ball. Ball suffered an ankle injury in January of this year that was expected to keep him out for 4-6 weeks. But at the urging of his business partner, he was referred to a doctor in Ohio who recommended surgery. After, Ball called Lakers GM Rob Pelinka. Pelinka told Ball this is an unauthorized procedure. He also told Ball that he could have had his contract with the team voided. See here for more.
Ball ended up not having the surgery but missed the remainder of the basketball season while rehabbing his injury under the Lakers supervision. Yet it turns out that teams have the right to refer players to doctors, hospitals and clinics in order have them assess the players medical condition and the next steps. Not doing so could void the players team contract.
Injured Players Clothing Choices
In another recent event, New Orleans Pelican forward Anthony Davis wrapped up what would probably be his last home game in New Orleans on the bench in street clothes. Davis is likely to leave the team after asking for a trade earlier this season. But the shirt Davis wore that night seemed to send a clear message about his future. It simply read “That’s All Folks”, a clear message to Pelicans fans that this was his final game as a member of the team.
But according to Davis, that’s not what he meant. Davis said that he didn’t pick the shirt out and that is was hung up for him. In fact, he said his clothes are always laid out for him and he wears what is picked out for him. On this front, it’s easy to disagree. The shirt sent a clear message, and Davis, as an adult, does have control over his wardrobe as he sees fit.
Regardless of who made the decision, the optics don’t look great. From a public relations perspective on the part of Davis and the Pelicans organization, their credibility has taken a turn for the worse this season. See this clip for proof!
There is one area that players have some clear choices, and that is with endorsements. Being professional athletes, companies are happy to throw large amounts of money at players to wear their product. Doing so can create large increases in sales and revenue for companies.
In basketball, the shoes are everything. For instance, Lonzo Ball went against the norm by wearing and endorsing Big Baller Brand shoes, a company his father had a stake in. However, he no longer wears them after a lawsuit against a former partner.
Meanwhile, Toronto Raptors players are split on their choices of shoes. Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam wear NIKE shoes, while Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka sport Adidas brands. On the contrary, Kawhi Leonard wears New Balance.
And don’t forget that hockey players have choices too. Toronto Maple Leaf players are also split on the skates they take the ice with. Auston Matthews and William Nylander use Bauer skates while teammates John Tavares and Nazem Kadri favour the CCM brand.
To conclude, there’s a lot more to be written on this subject so stay tuned. It looks like times are changing in terms of what players can and cannot do and say. We’re on all the trends. Keep following us.