Unions from the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL came together last week and unveiled a new universal declaration of player’s rights.
The document is meant to establish a new approach to governing sports leagues and protecting its players.
There were 17 articles laid out in the declaration in total (from the Associated Press):
-Every player is entitled to equality of opportunity in the pursuit of sport without distinction of any kind and free of discrimination, harassment and violence.
-Every player has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
-The rights of every child athlete must be protected.
-Every player has the right to share fairly in the economic activity and wealth of his or her sport which players have helped generate, underpinned by fair and just pay and working conditions.
-Every player has the right to organize and collectively bargain.
-Every player is entitled to have his or her name, image and performance protected. A player’s name, image and performance may only be commercially utilized with his or her consent, voluntarily given.
-Every player has the right to a private life, privacy and protection in relation to the collection, storage and transfer of personal data.
-Every player must be able to access an effective remedy when his or her human rights are not respected and upheld. This is particularly crucial given the highly skilled yet short term and precarious nature of the athletic care
There are more than 100 players unions that were involved with the declaration in total.
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) December 14, 2017
You can tell by the sort of articles laid out in this declaration that much of this has been sparked by the activism of players in these sports leagues and the controversy surrounding many players speaking out or protesting against the current political regime, police violence and inequality in society. These players are trying to assert their freedom of speech and expression not be reprimanded by their sports leagues and employers for using their First Amendment rights.
This is also about identity, persona and image protection as well as the protection of their personal information.
I am all for these sort of movements and have personally been a fan of players using their platform to help enact social change. It hearkens back to an era of Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Bill Russell.