NFL Public Relations Contract Clause

NFL players are required to play the game when physically possible, adhere to certain standards set by the league and relate to the media to the satisfaction of the NFL due to a public relations contract clause.

Yes, player contracts can be as much about public relations as they are about the game.

‘I’m here so I won’t get fined:’ Player’s media campaign sheds light on public relations contract clause

public relations contract clauseThe mandate that players speak with the media came up repeatedly during Marshawn Lynch’s long campaign against such policies. The Seattle Seahawks running back’s media silence in the months leading up to Super Bowl XLIX was well-documented. Well, not exactly silence per say. During a media day prior to the Super Bowl, the reclusive player repeatedly answered reporters’ questions with some variation of “I’m here so I won’t get fined,” according to ESPN. He did so because, as part of the public relations contract clause he signed to play in the league, he must also “cooperate with the news media.”

Players aspiring to or entering the NFL need to understand that representing the shield is about more than playing the game with integrity, it is also about speaking with reporters and promoting the team, as well as the league. This requirement is listed in paragraph four of the NFL player’s contract. This portion of the document outlines how players should interact with the media, and how the le​ague and club may use his image.

Paragraph four of the NFL players contract

For example, paragraph four states that a player should grant the league and club permission to use his image and name for promotion of the sport, any NFL club and the league in “newspapers, magazines, motion pictures, game programs and roster manuals, broadcasts and telecasts” and any other sort of advertising or publicity media. Additionally, the public relations contract clause requires that players work with the news media and participate in any “reasonable activities” designed to promote the league or team.

The paragraph goes on to state that neither players nor the NFLPA may do anything to restrict the league’s right to “telecast, broadcast or otherwise transmit” any NFL games, as well as the right of the league’s film division to use game footage for various purposes.

An NFL player’s image and name are essentially the league’s and team’s to use, as long as the purpose is reasonable. If you are opposed to the ways in which the NFL or your club is using your name or image, contact an experienced sports and entertainment attorney to review your options.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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