You’ll recall there was a bit of a hubub last spring when it was revealed that Manny Ramirez’s contract with the Dodgers required him to donate $1 million to Dodgers’ charitable foundation. At the time Frank McCourt said that, going forward, all Dodgers contracts would contain similar provisions. It was later revealed that over 100 contracts involving multiple clubs had such provisions already. The union filed a grievance, but the matter was settled yesterday:
Under the settlement agreement, which resolves the grievance, clubs can
demand such donations from players signing as free agents or signing
long-term contracts that buy out one or more years of free agency,
according to a management official who spoke on condition of anonymity
because the agreement has not been officially announced.
players have the option to sign elsewhere. Players not yet eligible for
free agency cannot be compelled to donate, the management official said.
I’m not a fan of forced giving simply because I’ve encountered a number of charitable foundations in my time that are less about charity and more about polishing the social and philanthropic credentials of foundation’s sponsors. “Nice gala, Mr. Chairman! Helen just loves the champagne fountain! Anyway, when will those poor, poor charitable recipients be ushered on the stage for the photo op and then hustled out the back door, because I really need to talk to you about the Johnson deal . . .” The whole scene has left a bad taste in my mouth.
That said, this seems like a sensible compromise here inasmuch as any free agent can decide if being required to give to the Team X Foundation is worth signing there or not, and as long as there’s an element of choice, mazel tov.