Friday, December 17, 2010

Should Sports Have A Lemon Law?

Recently Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been criticized for publicly berating his point guard Baron Davis from the sidelines. Such comments as "You're overweight", "You're terrible", and "Why are you shooting 3 pointers" have become part of the culture in Clipperland. I understand Donald Sterling's frustration to a certain extent, Donald signed Baron Davis to a 5 year $65,000,000 contract 2 years ago and has received very little return on his investment. Should Donald Sterling have some recourse for services not rendered? Should sports have a lemon law?

If you buy a Porsche that doesn't go above 50 mph you'd want your money back right? If you bought a Toyota Camry and the transmission went out a month after you drove it off the lot you'd want your money back right? Sports doesn't work that way however. It is an inexact science that relies on human performance and you don't always get the results you anticipated. There is risk involved and money is not the remedy for injuries and bad attitudes. Owners should expect a certain level of professionalism for their investment but the money doesn't guarantee a specific level of performance. That comes from within the athlete. The money can only be used as a motivating force and a reward for possessing unique skills and abilities.

Before we go feeling sorry for Donald Sterling and countless other owners who feel they've been "burned" by underachieving athletes let us not forget that professional sports is a chess game played by billionaires. They get into ownership understanding the risk and are driven by their own egos more than you think. Donald Sterling is not a victim in all of this, he's just not getting the return on his investment he expected. It happens to businessmen everyday. If it gets too bad he can always sell his franchise for 20 times more than he bought it for 30 years ago and walk away. A simple enough solution right?

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