The Flood V Kuhn Case Study

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Prior to free agency was implemented, individual players were controlled by teams within the MLB to a much greater extent than the current situation. Players’ contracts included reserve clauses, which essentially bound players to a team. Essentially, players could only move teams if they were traded or released. In 1969, Curt Flood who was an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals of the MLB at the time, became known as the first professional athlete to challenge the reverse clause. Flood believed the reverse clause went against antitrust laws and his 13th Amendment rights. Once he realized he was being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, Flood communicated to Bowie Kuhn, the baseball commissioner that he should be able to consider contracts offered by other teams prior to deciding. However, Kuhn rejected his petition, which triggered Flood to sue the MLB for violating antitrust laws.…show more content…
Kuhn case eventually escalated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972. In a 5-3 decision, Flood lost the case as the majority of judges believed that baseball was exempt from antitrust laws since they believed baseball was not business. Although Flood lost the case, his challenge led to other players fighting the reverse clause in order to eliminate it from sports. Arbitrator Peter Seitz opposed the verdict created by the Supreme Court at the end of 1975. He stated that MLB players possessed the right to turn into free agents after playing for their team for one year without a contract. This caused the elimination of the reverse clause from all sports. Additionally, the MLB also included regulations for the arbitration of salary demands. Players could now negotiate their salary once their contract was expired, providing them the ability to seek higher salaries. Furthermore, in 1976, the MLB and MLBPA formed an agreement to permit players who had a minimum of 6 years of experience to become free agents. Other leagues such as the NFL, NHL, and NBA later adopted a similar
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