Sports Agent News

August 13, 2007

Slingo. The Morals Clause

Filed under: Slingo, Sports Agent — emmettjones @ 2:11 pm

I’ve decided to start the blog with a weekly look at the terms used in typical contracts (and sports contracts in particular). The point of these posts will be to examine and explain some of the typical terms found in sports contracts so that the aspiring agent will know how to deal with these terms when they arise.

Today’s phrase is the “Morals Clause”. A morals clause is a clause in a contract that is usually enforceable against the athlete (although I guess they could also be used against the team or agency involved) which allows the other party to terminate the contract based upon some action(s) of the athlete. While morally offensive actions can trigger a team’s ability to terminate a contract, a morally offensive action is not required in order to trigger the clause. Actions that embarrass or stigmatize a team can also be reason enough to terminate a contract (i.e. If Peyton Manning was seen with a Verizon phone when he is still under contract with Sprint, he would violate a morals clause in his Sprint contract stating that he could only use Sprint products).

Below is a sample morals clause in an employment contract taken from the Wisconsin Law Journal

“The employee agrees to conduct himself with due regard to public conventions and morals, and agrees that he will not do or commit any act or thing that will tend to degrade him in society or bring him into public hatred, contempt, scorn or ridicule, or that will tend to shock, insult or offend the community or ridicule public morals or decency, or prejudice the producer or the motion picture, theatrical or radio industry in general.” See Noah B. Kressler, Using the Morals Clause in Talent Agreements: A Historical, Legal and Practical Guide, COL. J. OF LAW AND THE ARTS, 235, 236 (2005) (citing Lowe’s, Inc. v. Cole, 185 F.2d 641, 645 (9th Cir. 1950)).

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