When I woke up this morning, I did not have any concrete plan as to what I would write about today. I had some coffee, chatted with my long-suffering wife about plans and schedules for the day – and the weekend – and sat down to see if anything happened overnight that caught my eye. Voila! The Washington Post came through with a headline saying:
- “Cardinals drop Kyler Murray’s homework clause from contract extension”
As everyone here knows, I have never spent a day of my life in law school – – but I do have several friends who are lawyers. One of them spent his career dealing in contracts involving the Federal government and every time I have asked him about some reported quirk in a sports contract, he is always sure to remind me of the following:
- Every clause, every stipulation and every conditional arrangement specified in any contract of any kind is there for a specific reason that is important to one or both of the parties.
A quick text message to him this morning affirmed that he is certain that the “homework clause” was in the original version of the contract extension for the reason stated above. So, which party to the original contract might have thought it important to include it in the deal? Sorry, even a law school dropout can figure that one out.
The reason given for the removal of the clause is that it would become a “distraction” and the only thing a football team needs less than a “distraction” would be an outbreak of explosive diarrhea among all the linemen on a team about 30 minutes before kickoff. The Cardinals’ brass expressed full confidence in Murray and his work ethic and his study habits and the like – – conveniently ignoring a plausible explanation as to why that clause magically materialized in the original document. Oh, and you can be certain that no one making any pronouncements on this issue referred to this statement attributed to Kyler Murray just last season:
“ [I am] not one of those guys that’s going to sit there and kill myself watching film. I don’t sit there for 24 hours and break down this team and that team and watch every game because, in my head, I see so much.”
Moreover, there is another aspect of this clause removal that I think needs “fleshing out”. When the deal was struck and all parties signed the contract leading to the announcement of the deal earlier this week, Murray’s agent had to know the clause was in there. So:
- Did he fail to tell Murray it was there? If he told Murray it was there, was Murray cool with it?
- If the agent did not tell Murray about anything other than the finances of the deal, did Murray sign the document without reading it? If so, did he do that because – like he does not need to study film all the time – he sees so much in his head?
Murray and the Cardinals may think they have avoided any “distractions” with this clause removal, but the obviously saccharine-sweet PR statements related to the clause removal just might come back to haunt some or all the parties.
While on the subject of quarterback signings, there was a report at SI.com that Jimmy Haslem – – owner of the Browns – – did not think that Baker Mayfield was sufficiently mature to make it as an NFL QB and that is the reason the Browns went in full pursuit of Deshaun Watson. Haslem has denied that report and his denial makes a ton of sense. Consider:
- Even if you have reason to think that Baker Mayfield is immature and as an owner or a coach you think it is important to go out and get yourself a more mature individual for the team, how is it that you narrow down your focus to someone who has been charged with sexual assault by about two dozen different women over the past couple of years?
Moving on … The LIV Golf Tour has an event today in Bedminster, NJ at a course owned by former President Donald Trump. There are enough trigger words in that last sentence to fire up an argument that could last for days, but I want to try to avoid most of them.
- The purse for this LIV event is $25M; if I counted correctly, there are 48 entrants.
- The PGA Tour event this weekend – – Rocket Mortgage Classic – has a purse of $8.4M; if I counted correctly, there are 157 entrants.
The entire science of economics is based on the idea that people as consumers of goods and services make rational choices. [Aside: Personally, I think that economics is a sub-set of psychology where folks study human behavior relative to money as opposed to human behavior in general. But that’s just me…] Say whatever you want about the LIV Tour but look at the economics above. Professional golfers are people who have decided to make their living competing in golf tournaments:
- The LIV event offers $521K per entrant
- The PGA event offers $54K per entrant
In case you think I have cherry-picked a single weekend to throw out decidedly different numbers, consider the following data:
- The total purse money for PGA Tour events in 2022 is targeted at $427M. I have not seen any projection for what the 2023 purse total might be.
- The LIV Tour says it has targeted $4.05B for purse money in 2023.
Remember, these are professional golfers…
Finally, since most of today’s rant related to contracts and money, let me close with this view of money by comedian Steve Martin:
“I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………