Can an NFL team tell a player not to play basketball?

AP

The Chiefs have lowered the boom on Patrick Mahomes‘ basketball jones. Do they, or any team, have the right to do it?

Haha yeah that’s gonna work,” 49ers cornerback and NFLPA executive committee member Richard Sherman said on Twitter. “If they don’t want him hooping then put it in the contract. It’s not there so he can do as he pleases. Most players do.”

Paragraph 3 of the Standard Player Contract contains broad language regarding activities beyond the football field: “Without prior written consent of the Club, Player will not play football or engage in activities related to football otherwise than for Club or engage in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury. Player represents that he has special, exceptional and unique knowledge, skill, ability, and experience as a football player, the loss of which cannot be estimated with any certainty and cannot be fairly or adequately compensated by damages. Player therefore agrees that Club will have the right, in addition to any other right which Club may possess, to enjoin Player by appropriate proceedings from playing football or engaging in football-related activities other than for Club or from engaging in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.” (Emphasis added.)

The question becomes whether basketball constitutes an activity that “may involve a significant risk of personal injury.” In other words, is the risk of personal injury “significant”? For minor injuries — cuts, scrapes, contusions, bruises, etc. — the risk is high. Major injuries happen less frequently, but they definitely can and do occur.

As Sherman notes, most NFL players play basketball in the offseason. It’s a great way to get exercise, and it’s far safer than playing football. Besides, all forms of exercise entail risk; if the alternative consists of players sitting around doing nothing, teams should embrace the fact that players are trying to stay in shape on their own time.

If/when a serious happens away from the team’s facility, the team can place the player on the non-football injury list and, if it so chooses, not pay him. Again, the overriding question is whether the team wants its players staying in shape or playing Fortnite for the seven or eight fortnights between the end of the season and the launch of the formal offseason program, when any injury occurring within the confines of the team’s headquarters would not jeopardize a player’s right to compensation.

The Chiefs apparently plan to take a much safer approach with Mahomes. If Mahomes is willing to go along with it, so be it. But if Patrick Mahomes shows up for the start of the offseason program looking more like Patrick Mahouse because he hasn’t been exercising, the Chiefs shouldn’t complain.

83 responses to “Can an NFL team tell a player not to play basketball?

  1. “But if Patrick Mahomes shows up for the start of the offseason program looking more like Patrick Mahouse because he hasn’t been exercising, the Chiefs shouldn’t complain.” That literally made me laugh until I cried!

  2. But if Patrick Mahomes shows up for the start of the offseason program looking more like Patrick Mahouse because he hasn’t been exercising, the Chiefs shouldn’t complain.

    —————–

    This is a dumb take.

  3. The “overriding question” is not a choice between staying in shape or Fortnite. (Or even doing nothing.) The overriding question is how best for a player (especially a QB) to stay in the best shape possible with the minimum level or injury risk.
    As you note, workouts, no matter where they are, are not risk free. But, they risk is a lot lower in a gym, under supervision.
    Unfortunately, athletes are, by nature, competitive. They don’t want to compete against a weight machine; they want to stuff it over the head of some former DB who thinks he’s got moves. In the end, it’s going to be up to the player to decide if the risk of losing his career is worth it just to slam one home on some neighborhood kid,or even a teammate.

  4. Wrong Sherman…you blowhard. If you don’t like the broad language for what you can and cannot do, “put it in the contract.” Based on paragraph 3, telling a player not to play basketball, which COULD result in a serious injury, is exactly what a team can do!

  5. I mean if you are Mahomes do you want to play hoops? If so, then do it. You are on your rookie deal, if you hurt yourself and lose out on like $30M then you can look in the mirror and blame yourself. Something people don’t seem to do enough these days.

  6. Basketball is particularly risky for two reasons: the cutting on a hard surface can lead to a torn ACT (not just a scrape or bruise); and pickup basketball involves others. So even if the NFL athlete is careful, the opponent who is trying to stuff a superstar could undercut him and cause serious injury.

  7. I love how Florio gets bent out of shape at the tiniest notion of a team telling an employee what that employee can and can’t do.

  8. If a “player” is out exercising on his own and gets hurt, he gets put on the non-football injury list. You can’t protect a player from getting hurt 24/7. Maybe all players shoud refrain from any training during the offseason and see how the teams react. If he falls down a set of stairs are teams going to put in the players contracts to not walk down stairs??? If he steps off a curb wrong and breaks his leg/ankle, is he going to be forbidden from walking?????

  9. On my time I do what I want. Now if you want to negotiate some sort of compensation for me to not to do something or to do something on my time we can talk about it. But with the non-negotiable rookie contracts I would not give up squat in my free time.

  10. thetooloftools says:

    February 7, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    As much money that NFL teams invest in these players they shouldn’t be playing risky sports.

    ———–
    They don’t invest and they don’t own them they pay for their services and as the article clearly states if a player gets injured outside the team building or team workout the team can place him on NFI and choose not to pay them if they can no longer provide their services. Also are we really going to call basketball a risky sport? This isn’t racing, dirtbiking or some extreme sport it’s a game 40 year olds play at the Y.

  11. Let the kid play. I coach Volleyball in a school primarily in STATES every year for Basketball. And a school known for basketball. You can’t change an athlete if its an outlet for the player… leave it alone. Draw up a contract clause who cares. But to strangle the player will just lead to worse things. Accidents happen they can find ways to play with their buddies so they keep accidents to a minimum. This is ridiculous.

  12. jtm12180 says:
    February 7, 2019 at 1:11 pm
    Wrong Sherman…you blowhard. If you don’t like the broad language for what you can and cannot do, “put it in the contract.” Based on paragraph 3, telling a player not to play basketball, which COULD result in a serious injury, is exactly what a team can do!

    ——————————————————————————————

    The question is does playing pickup basketball “provide a significant risk of personal injury”, not COULD result in a serious injury. I play basketball at the YMCA every once in awhile when there is “Open Gym”. I have never thought I was taking a “significant risk of personal injury” when I stepped on the court.

    Although Richard Sherman didn’t articulate it as well, he is correct.

  13. Of course it depends of the definition of “activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury”

    That language is so vague that it could include driving a car, bike riding, riding a motorcycle, being a pedestrian in a city, having sex, walking up or down stairs, bungee jumping, skydiving, eating gas station tacos, and a lot of other things

    Without clearer language, it seems unenforceable, if a player were to challenge it. Except for injury from eating the gas station tacos. That would be just plain stupid.

  14. As long as you don’t mind having your guarantees voided and returning some signing bonus, ball away.

  15. So tell me could the 49ers make Sherman play basketball. You know what sucks about the mouth that roared is he will be around for a long time well after he is done playing football. He will be like for example give unsolicited advice , sticking his nose into spots where it doesn’t belong. and his constant running to be the players rep for the union and then the end game being commissioner of the NFL. So he will be around for years.

  16. Talk about fake news Florio. In the story on this website it says they “asked” Mahomes about playing basketball, and it sounded like Mahomes agreed he shouldn’t. That is a long way from “lowering the boom”. There is a HUGE difference between asking and demanding or threatening, I think a lawyer like Florio should know that.

  17. He is on track to be a top 3 paid QB… i saw the cute spin move and all it qas slick… not much thinking anout KC football and their fans but could imaginr if he messed his knee up.

  18. dougchillin says:
    February 7, 2019 at 1:11 pm
    I mean if you are Mahomes do you want to play hoops? If so, then do it. You are on your rookie deal, if you hurt yourself and lose out on like $30M then you can look in the mirror and blame yourself. Something people don’t seem to do enough these days.

    More like $200 Million.

  19. if there is one thing ive learned about hoopers, its that hoopers gonna hoop. if they ban him from hooping he will build a gym and have secret hoop sessions with his boy sworn to secrecy

  20. If it’s in the language of his contract, then Yes, they can tell him not to. I get that these guys are young and enjoy playing multiple sports, but there are examples of players getting hurt playing other sports and hurting their football career. Ryan Clady was Denver’s exciting, young LT. He blew out his knee playing pickup basketball and it started a string of injuries that plagued him the rest of his career.

  21. They (a franchise) can only prohibit a player from certain activities or sports if it is explicitly mentioned in the contract. I don’t think there’s any wording to that effect in the standard rookie contract, but it could be added prior to signing.

    In another sport, the Chicago Bulls selected Jay Williams, a point guard, with the second overall pick the same year Yao Ming came out. Williams never played a game, as he got into a gruesome motorcycle accident. His rookie contract was rather explicit about not riding motorcycles, and thus didn’t owe him a dime. The Bulls gratuitously paid him $3 million (chump change in the NBA) and waived him.

  22. I suspect Mahomes agent got to him before the Chief. Until he extends his contract Mahomes playing for $4.5 million TOTAL for the next two years, none of it guaranteed.

    His next contract will exceed $32 million a year with about $75 million guaranteed. Pays to stay healthy until he inks that deal.

  23. Oh, of course Florio had to get Richard Sherman’s comments on this immediately. Is Sherman on your payroll already Mike????

    Sherman’s right, though. Spell it out in the player’s contract right under the part that says they can’t hit women, do drugs, get arrested, etc…..

    The Packers recently had their 311 pound Pro Bowl offensive left tackle David Bakhtiari go bungee jumping. I mean, seriously? It seems to me that it’s pretty foolish for a guy that big to go bungee jumping, but throw in he makes millions of dollars by playing in the NFL and I think he it’s beyond stupid.
    The bottom line is you can’t stop some guys from doing stupid things, no matter what their contract says.

  24. My dad tore both his ACLs over the years playing pickup basketball and he was 5’10, thin, in good shape. Anyone can land wrong or push off wrong. Its way more likely to happen in basketball than on a weight bench of elliptical and the variable of other competitors in close space makes it worse. He probably should not ski either. I mean he can if he wants, but a lot of the risk is his own, and its not a wise risk.

  25. So teams are worrying about an unnecessary activity that may involve a significant risk of personal injury to a player …like playing in the Pro Bowl?

  26. Soon Mahomes will become the first $50 million a year NFL player. I would say giving up basketball is a worthwhile trade off.

  27. I remember when Drew Bledsoe came back from a bye week and Kraft asked what he did. He told him he took his dad heli skiing. The next season they wrote into his contract he could no longer go heli skiing.

  28. I once had an unnamed backup NFL lineman airborne on a giant tube towed behind my boat. Guess I should have checked his contract before dropping the throttle on him, LOL.

  29. engage in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.

    ——————————————————

    Key work is ‘significant’. What does it mean? An injury that causes them to miss 1, 2, 3, etc. games?

    If a player really does want to play another sport and a team stops them from doing so, they can present research showing what types of injury occur in that sport and how often (i.e. ankle sprains, broken arm/wrist, etc.).

  30. Ok Sherman because you are a genius as we all know.. however, if Mahomes wants to get that big contract I suggest he takes up golf or something else. He ends up getting a significant injury playing basketball for fun and it costs him millions and millions down the road..yea that sounds like a genius idea..said no one ever!!!

  31. You can blow out a knee or tear an achillies walking down the stairs. The fact is playing multiple sports keeps your tendons and muscles in better shape and more resilient to injury. The major injuries you see a lot are caused when people only do one form of exercise so when that odd step happens or an ankle gets rolled the injury is worse.

  32. No they cannot tell him. The player can opt to retire and play all the pickup hoops they want.

    Ask Aaron Boone how that worked out for him

  33. rlm1966 says:
    February 7, 2019 at 1:28 pm
    On my time I do what I want. Now if you want to negotiate some sort of compensation for me to not to do something or to do something on my time we can talk about it. But with the non-negotiable rookie contracts I would not give up squat in my free time.
    +++
    You could possibly give up your career in the NFL. Is that worth a possible career ending injury, on your own time?

    If you’re a free agent, do what you want. If you’re under contract, there’s language to protect the team.

    Companies have a right to protect themselves just as much as individuals do.

  34. Robert Edwards basically ended his career playing flag football and tearing up is knee. But whatever Mahomes’ contract says, or doesn’t say, should be the final word.

  35. Sure, a team can tell a player not to play basketball, but is it enforceable?

    1. The language in Paragraph Three is too broad, and most wouldn’t consider basketball to be an activity that involves a significant risk of personal injury.

    2. More importantly, what’s the form of redress if Mahomes continues to play basketball? KC won’t trade or waive him, and if they fine him, they stand to jeopardize their relationship with him. Considering there’s the small matter of a contract extension coming up, I don’t think they’ll do much of anything.

  36. All logic is cast aside when a writer suggests or intimates that basketball might be the only way for an NFL player to stay in shape in the off season.

  37. The Chiefs are doing the right thing. A couple of years ago Brady posted a video of himself wiping out while skiing and it was just the dumbest thing.

  38. I would say no basketball doesn’t constitutes an activity that “may involve a significant risk of personal injury.” I haven’t heard of another team telling a player they’re not allowed to play basketball b/c there isn’t a significant risk of personal injury. There is a precedent set and if Mahomes were to fight this he would most likely win. Chiefs are being totally unreasonable and their fans are so desperate for a SB they see no problem with this. It’s basketball not base jumping. And long as Andy Reid is HC, Chiefs fans, they will not win a SB!

  39. “So teams are worrying about an unnecessary activity that may involve a significant risk of personal injury to a player …like playing in the Pro Bowl?”
    —————————-

    Playing in the Pro Bowl is part of the NFL contract and some have bonuses attached to it. 10 millions fans watch it every year and it promotes the NFL stars and makes them household names.

  40. Basketball is a fun workout but teams should provide alternative off season workout tips.

  41. mackcarrington says:
    February 7, 2019 at 12:58 pm
    Then why do the Seahawks allow Russell Wilson to attend baseball spring training

    ————————

    If Russ was half as good as Mahomes, it would be an issue.

  42. NFL clubs absolutely have the right to limit their highly paid assets from high risk, off the-field activity. Case in point. Ben Rothsliberger slamming his head into a wind shield because he didnt know how to ride a motorcycle.

  43. I play indoor volleyball and the jumping and foot traffic is very similar to basketball. I dislocated my ankle and was on crutches for 11 weeks and now a year later it’s still not 100%.

    When you have the league mvp at such a young age, it would be a travesty if he got injured in such worthless way.

  44. They can prevent a player from doing anything that is specifically mentioned in their contract. Like auto racing, skydiving, and, yes, basketball.

    If it’s not prohibited in the contract then, no.

  45. If they put it in the contract and the player signs it- they absolutely can tell them not to play.

    If it’s not in the contract, they technically can play. However, you sustain an injury hooping with your friends- don’t complain when you don’t get paid.

  46. Of course an NFL team can tell a guy not to play basketball. It has been stipulated in contracts before. Considering the investment that teams make into players with signing bonuses and such, teams have every right to protect their investment. That’s one of the reason they are compensated so much in salary.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!