Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law


Sean Bukowski

First Page



This Note will consider the extent to which the "professional athletic" community should add its own sanctions to those imposed by public law. First, it asks whether athletes are getting into more trouble than in the past, as it is possible that athletes are just following a trend of society, and thus are no more prone to violence than anyone else. Nevertheless, violent crime, especially that committed by role models like athletes, is especially damaging to society. Therefore, the Note then addresses why the sports leagues should care whether their athletes are committing such offenses.

It will then examine how the individual major sports leagues--the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA)--are currently addressing the problem of athletes and violent crime. Particular attention will be given to the deficiencies in the leagues' means of dealing with violent crime, including the ways in which current policies and programs might be unfair to players.

Finally, the Note will explore some options for the leagues to consider in attempting to handle player-committed crime. It will argue that the leagues are in a better position to discipline the players than are teams or players' associations due to obvious conflicts of interests. Leagues are concerned only with their health. For this reason, many leagues, either through collective bargaining agreements or official policies, have given their commissioners the power to discipline players for off-the-field actions. However, rather than relying on amorphous powers vested in league commissioners, the Note will call for definitive processes established for the ultimate benefit of the leagues, teams, players, and even the fans. Also, it will suggest that the real focus of future discussions should be on measures aimed at the prevention of violent crimes by educating and rehabilitating players, not by simply kicking them from one team to another.