NFL

NFL: Could Contract Arbitration Hearings Help?

NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  Quarterback Sam Bradford from the Oklahoma Sooners holds up a St. Louis Rams jersey after the Rams selected Bradford numer 1 overall during the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Sam SnyderCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2010

For those who aren't familiar with law or just don't know, an arbitration hearing is a less complicated and less formal court appearance. Each side gets to present its case and it is settled by the court.

Arbitration hearings can cover a broad spectrum of things, but this case in particular is about contract disputes. The National Hockey League currently impliments a system where a player and his team can go into a court in order to settle a contract dispute.

Each side gives the salary they want and present why the player should be paid that amount of money. The court picks one of the proposed contracts or makes a new one.

Recently, Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi went to court to settle his dispute with the team management. The decision will be made by Saturday.

The NFL is no stranger to contract disputes.

Last year, Michael Crabtree held out into the season just because he wasn't getting the contract he wanted. That is just one notable case.

It would have been a lot easier if the 49ers had just used a neutral third party to settle the argument. Sam Bradford has yet to sign a contract with the Rams as training camp approaches.

Although he has no intention of missing camp, it would be easier to settle sooner rather than later, and an arbitration hearing can do just that.

It may also make rookie salaries much more reasonable.

Most of today's disputes are between rookies who want more than what the team feels they deserve. This has happened so often that people are calling for a rookie salary cap in the new CBA.

JaMarcus Russell was awarded a monster contract after a holdout, and many outside the Raiders' organization felt they made a huge mistake. Three years later, Russell was arrested for drug possession just weeks after being cut from the team.

With players in today's world demanding more and more money, people are starting to feel that enough is enough. The best way to resolve a dispute over money is to get a neutral third party to make the decision.

It always has been, and always will be, the best solution.

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