Long before the advent of social media, sports players across every game you can imagine still needed quality representation from athletic attorneys. Now that social media is here, the need for entertainment law firms have arguably quadrupled because the status of the “athlete” now means far more than it ever did before. Sure, not every boxer will become Ali or Tyson, but every boxer now has the opportunity to capitalize off of their fame in ways never before imagined. With that monetization comes many questions about the new mediums, licensing, and rights of these celebrities. And even for the player who simply wants to keep his or her head down and keep winning, involving attorneys educated in sports law can help avoid serious pitfalls.
Nearly every aspect of contractual agreements created by employers (teams) and employees (players) require meticulous inspection by sports law firms to ensure players remain protected. Protection includes providing specific guidelines to what is expected of players from their conduct, to their presence on the field. Because the conduct of players off the field can be so important for the brands surrounding and including the team, having an athletic attorney on staff is key in clarifying what is expected of each player.
“Doping” a.k.a drug abuse for either recreational or strategic reasons is obviously discouraged by any entertainment law firms, however, the scope of consequences or compensation should a player breach contract depends on the written terms. Injuries, for example, are treated similarly to non-athletic work, as healthcare is provided by employers, and compensation is earned if a permanent injury occurs. Aside from conduct or harm on the players part, sports law plays an instrumental role in making sure that players aren’t being discriminated upon due to their religion, race, or stature. By keeping employers in check from biased practices, sports as a whole can involve a much larger array of talented individuals.
Like we mentioned earlier, the number of opportunities for any athlete has gone through the roof in recent years. With that availability comes the need for more protective measures from contract to contract. Signing book deals for publication, selling merchandise online, or selling legendary memorabilia are all endeavors that require immense attention to detail. The higher profile the player has become, the more money can slip through the cracks if the entertainment law firm’s eye isn’t keen.
Similarly, sponsorships by major brands such as Nike, Adidas, or Red Bull require specific contractual attention to make sure players are aware of what is expected of them. Endorsements, another huge revenue stream for famous athletes, launch players into a whole different spotlight, usually bringing more legal hurdles to be handled by sports law. Finally, one of the greatest influences of a player’s athletic attorney is their ability to clarify remunerations owed by the employers, as well as the organization of taxes owed each year. For these reasons and many more, sports law has become a critical facet of professional sports.