Is it fair that professional football players possess so much control in renegotiating contracts? Do the players in fact possess the control that we perceive them to have? Often, players do have most of the bargaining power, as in the case of college players being chosen in the draft. Once a team has chosen to pursue a draftee out of college, no other team has the right to interfere with that process. If that club fails to sign the player, the club wastes a valuable pick, and there is no remedy for such a failure. But after that introduction into the league, who retains control? It appears that the player still retains control because, although the player is under contract, he can withhold playing for the club until it accedes to his new demands. Although those with promanagement sentiment might agree that this option should be available to the club," the remedy will not be accepted by the courts because the clean hands doctrine poses a major roadblock to the legal implementation of the self-help specific performance remedy. Before analyzing the problems that the self-help specific performance remedy faces, this Comment begins in Section I by describing the self-help specific performance remedy as applied to professional athletes. Section II then explains the clean hands doctrine and the rationales behind it. Section III continues by explaining why the self-help specific performance remedy should not be exempt from the defense of the clean hands doctrine. Section IV then concludes that the clean hands doctrine is a proper defense and will defeat any attempt to implement the self-help specific performance remedy.
Stephen C. Wichmann, Players, Owners, and Contracts in the NFL: Why the Self-Help Specific Performance Remedy Cannot Escape the Clean Hands Doctrine, 22 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 835 (1999).