Hobbes and Contracts in Sports
In lecture, we discussed contracts and what Hobbes thought of them. Thomas Hobbes was a philosopher in the 17th century who wrote the famous book, the Leviathan. Some of the ways he described the purpose of contracts was to increase accountability and make everyone equal. The benefits of a contract were Predictability, Accountability and Equality. But Hobbes also knew that men were deceptive and would look for ways to break the contract or get around it, so they would benefit.
If you look at a couple examples of recent major sports stories regarding contracts, many of the stories do not seem very fair or equal for both parties. Take for example Gilbert Arenas, a former all-star in the NBA. He had been grossly overpaid in his recent contract. Last January, Gilbert apparently drew a gun on one of his teammates over a bet. Arenas was suspended for the rest of his season but still had 4 years left on his contract. His team, the Washington Wizards, tried anyway possible to break the contract, not because of the gun charge, but many believe because he was not performing up to his large contract. If it had been someone like Lebron James, I’m sure they would have not tried to break the contract. This is just another example of one person (the Wizards) trying to get out a contract with another person (Arenas) to make up for their mistake.
This article was from yesterday talking about how NBA teams want to make sure they can get out of bad contracts. How is this fair that you can give a player X amount of money and then they get injured and can cut them and pay them nothing? This is the case in the NFL, the most violent sport in America where if you get hurt, your bank account will also take a hit. A player can sign a huge contract, break his leg and never player again and only come out with a small portion of the contract. What is the point of a contract in the first place then? I wonder what Hobbes would have thought of these agreements that can easily be broken.