Earlier this fall, Met’s closer Jeurys Familia found himself embroiled in scandal when he was charged with domestic violence. This was exasperated by the fact that he had been recently featured in an anti-domestic abuse campaign advertisement. In the video, Familia says that he is not a fan of domestic violence and is featured alongside other athletes that are both male and female. Since the scandal broke, the advertisement has been pulled from the campaign.
The Mets responded by saying that they were investigating the incident. Major League Baseball has recently implemented strict domestic violence suspension policies that require fines and a loss in salary. In May, the Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was suspended fifty-two games, forced to give $100,000 to charity and repay $7 million of his salary that he had already received this season. This was despite the fact that Reyes had only been indicted for domestic violence and not actually convicted.
Not many details have yet been released about Familia’s case, but it seems to be less severe than the charges against Reyes. Reyes allegedly caused injuries to his wife’s neck, thigh and wrist by slamming her against a glass door. The complaint in Familia’s case does not identify the victim, but it is presumably either his wife or his infant child. It also says the visible injuries observed by the police were a scratch on the victim’s chest and a bruise on the victim’s cheek. While Familia has a wife and young child, it does not identify how either would have received the injuries.
It is expected that more details will be released in the months following his arrest, both from the MLB as well as the court proceedings. Since the MLB does not need to wait until conviction, it is possible that Familia will face a penalty from the MLB on the basis of charges alone. This is controversial because supporters may argue that Familia is innocent until proven guilty. While this is true in a court of law, Major League Baseball is no such thing. In order to play, athletes will be required to agree to the policies of the Major League so that they cannot seek legal recourse.
While much media attention is usually given to domestic violence in the NFL, some studies suggest that it is more rampant among baseball players in the Major League. Instead of comparing sports, it is important to consider the qualities that make athletes more susceptible to domestic violence charges in order to prevent them.
What Makes a Contract Binding?
A contract is binding if there is an agreement between parties and consideration for the agreement. I will talk more about these two elements below. Though a proper agreement and consideration exists, there may still be routes for one party to get out of a contract that they previously signed.
An agreement is more than it may seem. In order to be legally binding, an agreement to contract must show mutual assent on behalf of both parties. Usually, this is satisfied through an offer to contract and an acceptance of that offer. An acceptance of an offer is accepting every term of the offer. If someone bargains with the other party to change terms after an offer has been extended, then there is no legally binding contract. Additionally, if someone rejects the offer, then no contract is created.
In addition to an agreement, there must be consideration in order to form a legally binding contract. Consideration is a bargained exchange between the two parties. This can take the form of a performance or return promise, forbearance or creation, modification or destruction of a legal right.
For example, a performance or return promise is agreeing to pay a certain amount for services. Forbearance would be agreeing to abstain from acting on a legal right in consideration of the contract. An example of forbearance is agreeing to abstain from drinking alcohol in order to inherit money. The creation, modification or destruction of a legal right can take the form of forbidding someone from voting in return of money.
Defenses to Contract Formation
Even if there is an adequate agreement and consideration, there are still potential options for someone attempting to get out of an otherwise valid contract. Some examples of defenses to contract formation are:
- Lack of Capacity for Parties to Contract
- Contract Created Under Duress
- A Misrepresentation of an Essential Element of a Contract
- A Mistake on Behalf of a Party Contracting
- A Mistake in the Contract
- Public Policy Arguments Against the Content of the Contract
While not all of these defenses are available to everyone wishing to get out of a contract, many times contracts are actually unenforceable. This happens because parties contract without actual knowledge of contract law. They believe that a handshake or personally written contract will hold up in court, but unfortunately, they frequently do not. While no one should ever enter a contract lightly, it is important for parties to know and understand their rights once they already have. Here is a great article from Entrepreneur.com that talks about all of this!