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UFL Issues

UFL Issues

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Published by John M. Phillips
The UFL Contract is loaded with unfair, and likely unconscionable provisions... if you have had your photo taken, have stepped out in public or ESPN shows a highlight of you, you are in violation. Know your contract, we do!
The UFL Contract is loaded with unfair, and likely unconscionable provisions... if you have had your photo taken, have stepped out in public or ESPN shows a highlight of you, you are in violation. Know your contract, we do!

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: John M. Phillips on Oct 27, 2010
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10/27/2010

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Why the UFL needs a Union / Commentary on UFL-NFL Relationship
From Story on UFL Website:In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and his dear friend, Annie Arth,who passed away after battling both breast and ovarian cancer, Novak has pledged $50for each field goal he makes during the 2010 season.“I’ve always wanted to start a foundation, but I don’t have the revenue to do it. Knowingsomeone who’s gone through it, I imagine everyone out there has gone through it in someway. I have a purpose out there, other than making the field goals. I’m trying to raise asmuch money as possible in the process.” http://www.ufl-football.com/news/novak-helps-breast-cancer-fight-honors-friend-processRevenue. It is what professional sports is all about. Kickers take far fewer hits and typicallyhave longer careers if they can keep the ball straight, but in a vocation where the average career is3.5 years and long-term health benefits and pensions are a long-shot, every dollar matters.According to Sports Illustrated, 78% of Players are broke/bankrupt 2 years after they retire fromfootball.Nick Novak has in some way played in 8 different NFL cities and the Cologne Centurions inEurope. He seems to keep his head up with every move and understands that the “F” in NFLsometimes stands for “Fickle.” However, the goal in professional sports is to maximize income.Nick’s website reveals ways in which a Player can try and do that. Yet, even his website is inapparent violation of his UFL contract if it was not pre-approved. Why?Unlike the NFL and CFL, the UFL does not have a Player’s Union and has a contract that paysless and takes more than ALL of the other sports leagues in most instances, including the NFL,CFL & AFL. In fact, it is simply overbroad and unfair.The Contract grants the UFL “exclusive authority to use his name, image, picture, likeness,facsimile, signature, and biographical information (collectively “likeness”) for licensing,publicity, sponsorship, and promotional purposes.” Thus, every player’s website is in technicalviolation.It also states, “during the UFL playing season he will not make public appearances, participate inradio or television programs, permit his picture to be taken, write or sponsor news-paper ormagazine articles, or sponsor commercial products without the prior written consent of both theClub and Management, which such consent may be withheld in their sole discretion.”
Read thatagain-
A Player cannot make
 public appearances
or
have his photo taken
without
 prior writtenconsent 
of the team and the league. That is impossibly preposterous.The Contract also forbids, “any third party to identify Player as a member of the Club or as a UFLplayer.”
So if any media is writing about the accolades of any Player, well, that Player is inviolation.
ESPN better not come near the UFL or name Player’s names! WHAT?These provisions prove why a Union is necessary. The overwhelming majority of these Playersneed this job and would sign the Contract no matter what it says. Some of these Players dependon promotion, camps and endorsements to make ends meet and get enough publicity to make itinto the NFL or a higher paid spot in the CFL. Some, like Novak, use their image to do goodthings. However, the UFL Contract doesn’t make exception. I’ve volunteered to review the
 
Contract for free, to assist the UFL and to advocate for Players. I am still waiting on a callback… it’s been months.
So, how long are these burdensome rights are owned by the UFL?
Unless sooner suspended, terminated or extended in accordance with the termsand conditions set forth herein, the term of this contract and Player’s services hereundershall begin on June 1, 2010 and continue through and conclude on February 28, 2011 (the"Term"). Provided that Player is employed by the Club at the end of the final game of the2010 season, upon notice delivered to Player on or before February 15, 2011, the clubshall have the exclusive right, during the period beginning on the date of such notice andcontinuing through and ending on September 15, 2011, to bargain with Player for hisservices as a UFL football player during the 2011 season.Wow. So, according to the face of the Contract, the UFL can terminate a Player for essentiallyany reason, but if they don’t, they maintain their rights to the Player until after the NFL seasonand possibly to the start of the next season. Why? Control.Keep in mind the UFL Schedule runs from September to late November, with the final game onNovember 27. So, at least there is some overlap in which a Player can finish the UFL season andenter the NFL, as the NFL regular season ends January 2. Yet, the UFL owns the Player’s rightsuntil after the NFL season and possibly until the beginning of the next season.
 And what rights does the UFL own or how can a Player get out of it?
3. EXCLUSIVITY/RELEASE.(b) Notwithstanding subparagraph (a) above,
on or after November 28, 2010, 
uponPlayer’s written request,
the Club, Management and/or the League may
, in their soleand absolute discretion,
agree to terminate
this contract and Player’s employmenthereunder (i.e. "Release" the Player), subject to and in accordance with the
 followingterms and conditions:
 (i)
On or after November 1, 2010, 
after giving written notice to the Club andManagement, subject to subparagraph (b)(ii), below,
 Player may negotiate with any teamthat is a member of the National Football League
("NFL"), provided however, that inno event may Player try out for an NFL team or otherwise participate in any workouts orfootball-related activities during the 2010 UFL season. Upon Player’s written request, theClub will provide Player with copies of such medical records as the Club may have in itspossession pertaining to Player and Player shall be free to share such medical recordswith the NFL.(ii) Player acknowledges that he shall not willfully perform, or threaten to perform, at alevel below his full capabilities or otherwise withhold, or threaten to withhold, serviceshe has agreed to render under this contract, including his duty under Paragraph 2 hereinto give his best efforts and loyalty to the Club, and that if the Club determines that he hasdone so, the Club will refuse to Release the Player.(iii) Further, Player shall not enter into any agreement, whether written or oral, with theNFL or any NFL team to provide services of any kind until after Player has been given aRelease in accordance with the terms of this subparagraph (b).(iv) Player acknowledges and agrees
that he may only receive a Release pursuant to thissubparagraph (b), upon payment of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars($150,000.00)
(the "Release Fee’), to be paid to Management by Player, the NFL, an

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