Monday, January 31, 2011

Part 4 in A Series Comparing the CBAs: Weird & Quirky Clauses

by Graydon Ebert/Eric Macramalla

Offside has combed through the collective bargaining agreements of the big four leagues to look for interesting and quirky clauses that you might not expect. This is Part 4 in a series of comparing CBAs. In the first 3 parts, we addressed player lunch money, revenue sharing and salary caps. Click here to read these earlier articles.

As for strange and stranger, we found a few provisions. Some real classics, from being fined for indifferent play to hair length to getting your own room. Here's a sample:


• In the standard player contract, players agree that they won’t engage in pro boxing or wrestling. For sake of clarity, this is wrestling outside the ball field; players can of course beat each other up when playing.

• Any player who is required to attend a regularly scheduled military encampment of the Reserve of the Armed Forces or National Guard will continue to get paid by their team during this attendance.

• Teams cannot travel by bus between games if the distance is more than 200 miles. No word on tandem bicycles.

• All players are required to get a single room on the road.

• Despite not making the playoffs, players on each of the 2nd place teams that do not earn a wild card get 1% of the playoff pool money.

• If one player on the team requests it, their team has to provide English as a Second Language course.


• Unlike baseball players, NHL players must have played 10 seasons and 600 games to get a single room on the road. Man that's tough.

• A player cannot be fined for “indifferent” play but can be fined for reporting to training camp overweight. Alexei Yashin meet Alexei Kovalev.

• Players can’t drink on a club flight, in the airport or in their hotel unless allowed by the head coach or GM. The '86 Mets would have had the CBA amended if this was the case in baseball.

• Players must wear jackets, ties and dress pants to all games unless allowed by the head coach or GM.

• Any player traded or waived shall be compensated by the new team for an amount equal to 6 months rent or mortgage for his house/apartment in the city that he left.

• Periodically throughout the year the league must give each team an educational video of on ice incidents that have warranted the imposition of supplementary discipline during the year, either electronically or in VHS format. No word on BETA.


• NBA players traded or waived only get 3 months rent or mortgage if traded or waived, to a max of $4,000 per month.

• The NBA must pay over $400,000 a year to the Players’ Association for its Annual High School Basketball Camp.

• If a player owns or operates a vehicle, he must give his team proof that he possesses a valid driver’s license, registration documents and insurance for the vehicle at the start of the year.

• Teams have to make sure that the hotels they stay at have extra-long beds and that the players’ baggage will be picked up by porters.

• Teams also have to make sure that the temperature in the locker rooms is consistent with temperature on the court. Since when does Jennifer Lopez play in the NBA.

• There is a reason there’s no local games on Christmas Day. All games on Christmas must be televised nationally.

• No-trade clauses are not allowed in the NBA. However, NBA teams can sign a bench player to a $20 million contract.


• Teams cannot discipline a player for hair length or facial hair. If Don Mattingly had played for the New York Giants instead of the Yankees, his sideburns would be safe.

• Teams can fine players, up to twice a week, for being overweight to a maximum of $400 per pound. Would love to be at that weigh in.

• Teams can also fine a player up to $8000 for losing all or part of his playbook, scouting report or game plan. What if a player just can't execute the game plan? Hello Jay Cutler.

• Veterans selected in an expansion draft receive a $30,000 bonus and another $40,000 bonus for being on the Active List after the beginning of the team’s first regular season game.

• Any veteran player traded or claimed has the right to be reimbursed for moving expenses BUT the team actually has the right to pick the moving company.

• Once a player signs his first contract with an NFL team, he cannot be required to take a psychological or personality test. Ricky Williams please take note.

Which is your favourite?

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