Sports Law Advice for Professionals

Key Contact for Sports Law Services: Edward J. Hayes

Despite the complicated lives they lead, professional athletes absolutely must be able to give 110% and perform at their highest level every time they take the field. It helps to have experienced legal advisors who can handle the many matters that will arise. With our experience, inside knowledge and full range of services available, we make problems go away — so players can concentrate on the game, knowing their interests on and off the field are being taken care of.

Fox Rothschild can help professional athletes deal with issues directly related to their image and on-the-field performance.

Contract Negotiation

During the course of his or her career, an athlete will be faced with the negotiation of many contracts. Whether it is the first contract offered after the draft or a long-term contract providing financial security to the player, COMPETENT REPRESENTATION IS VITAL in order to obtain the best deal possible. We provide the following services to the athlete during the negotiation process:

  • Assess and communicate realistic expectations for the athlete regarding the deal offered
  • Compare and communicate the proposed contract to those provided to other similarly situated players
  • Provide information to the athlete on contracts offered by his team to other players
  • Provide negotiating strategies to be used in dealing with the ball club
  • Act as the negotiator with the ball club
  • Handle relationships with the media regarding the negotiation process
  • Review paperwork to make sure that the contract includes all necessary language for the player's protection
  • Insure that the athlete understands the terms of the contract

International Contracts

The contracts facing a player during his or her career may not always be just the contracts with clubs here in the United States. Many players continue playing after the season with certain winter ball clubs. Those clubs also provide written contracts for players to sign. Our Sports Group has negotiated contracts with clubs in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.

Some players are presented with the opportunity to play full regular seasons in other foreign countries. Negotiating with those clubs requires particular knowledge, not only in the manner in which negotiations are undertaken, but also with respect to special issues that need to be addressed regarding salary, housing, general amenities, and immigration matters. We have negotiated contracts in Taiwan and Japan for our players.

Endorsements and Marketing Services

A successful athlete has the opportunity to make substantial monies and receive substantial benefits "off the field." During the course of a player's career, various opportunities will need to be analyzed not only for their financial rewards, but also for the effect they may have on the athlete's name — a valuable asset that must be protected. One reckless act can affect the ability of the player to utilize his or her name for financial security.

We have significant experience handling public relations issues. We establish relationships with the community relations departments of our players' teams to explore all avenues of marketing available to our clients. We encourage our clients to become involved in community service activities and charities, and we have relationships with outside public relations firms that can provide service to our clients.

Right of Publicity

Apart from athletic ability, the second most important asset is the player's name. It is critical to keep the player's name reputable, and to be cautious about the manner in which others use it. We recognize the need to protect the use of the athlete's name both personally and financially.

We have experience in instituting proceedings arising from the improper and/or unauthorized use of our clients' names. Whether it is the unauthorized marketing of products bearing a client's name or the utilization of a client's likeness to promote an unauthorized business or product, we are familiar with the legal means available to stop such unauthorized use. We remain aggressive in prosecuting those actions to insure that our client's good name is not damaged.