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Tilting the Scales Business Issues with a Legal Slant

Wanna Bet? Betting About Baseball Returns to the News

Posted in *BTW - Noteworthy, Money, Sports & The Outdoors

In 2011, Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun became the first MLB player to successfully challenge, and evade, a 50-game suspension for suspected use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).  Coincidentally, that same year, Braun went on to win the National League MVP award.  Although many thought that Braun escaped on a technicality, Braun was not without his vocal defenders, most notably his good friend, and fellow Wisconsin superstar, Green Bay Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers.  In 2012, Rodgers was quick to come to Braun’s defense when Todd Sutton, a flight nurse from Denver, tweeted that Rodgers was “delusional” in blindly believing that Braun was clean.  In response, Rodgers brazenly tweeted “I’d put my salary next year on it.”  This Twitter exchange would certainly have gone unnoticed but for the fact that, in 2013, Braun was suspended by MLB for 65 games for violating the league’s PED policy and to eliminate any lingering doubt, Braun publicly admitted to making “mistakes” and accepting “the consequences of those actions.”  Given these events, can Sutton expect to supplement his nurse’s salary with an $8.5 million payday?

Doubtful.  While courts will not enforce bets involving prohibited gambling games, it is arguable that this bet did not constitute a prohibited gambling activity so presumably the bet may be enforced if it was an otherwise enforceable contract.  For there to be such an agreement, there must be consideration.  Consideration is something of value given by both parties that induces them to enter into the agreement to exchange mutual performances.  Without consideration, there’s no contract.  Here, Rodgers has seemingly promised next year’s salary if Braun was using PEDs.  The problem for Sutton, is that he has promised nothing in return and provided no consideration.  Compounding the problem for Sutton is the fact that Rodgers statement seems conditional.  He states he “would” put his salary on it.  As worded, Rodgers has arguably left open material terms and conditions of his promise and therefore a court would likely choose not to enforce.  Reportedly, Sutton has taken the whole exchange in stride and suggested a compromise of a single game check.  Good luck.

Tilting the Scales in Your Favor

            The essential elements necessary to form a binding contract are typically described as an offer, an acceptance (in strict compliance with the offer or it will be considered a counteroffer), a legal purpose, a meeting of the minds as to the parties’ obligations, consideration and competent parties.