Ring: Could players collude with each other?

From Sheryl Ring at FanGraphs on February 18, 2019:

Over the course of yet another slow offseason, we’ve talked about labor relations and the free agent freezeout. But what we haven’t talked about is the opposite scenario.

So let’s take a look at answering this question: can players (and their agents) legally collude with each other? Teams colluding is somewhat straightforward: clubs make a collective decision to refuse to employ a player, or to offer a player more than a certain amount. We don’t have to go too far back in history to see what that looks like; the NFL, for instance, recently paid almost $80 million to settle claims that they did just that against quarterback Colin Kaepernick. For a baseball example, one need only look to the collusion cases of the 1980s, which ultimately resulted in ownership paying players a $280 million settlement; more recently, Barry Bonds filed (and lost) a grievance for collusion after the 2007 season.

Collusion by players wouldn’t be as simple. Players could, I suppose, all agree to not sign with one or more teams, but that would be inherently self-defeating if it restricted their own markets. More interesting would be if the players decided to coordinate on salary demands.

Read the full article here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/could-players-collude-with-each-other/

Originally published: February 20, 2019. Last Updated: February 20, 2019.