The course has helped me understand the various legal aspects and how I can apply this knowledge as a sport professional. Understanding the law is an essential characteristic to have to promote a legally conscious culture and act acceptably. My experience regarding many legal aspects was limited at the beginning of the course. However, as I progressed throughout the class, I was able to find answers to my many hypothetical legal dilemmas always lingering on my mind and learn newer elements of the law. Some terms are contradicting since most people use them interchangeably, creating more confusion in their application. Each day, the world presents many opportunities, but there are risks involved, which I learned from the course and how to manage them. From the course, I have known the various legal elements, but the most striking ones were tort law and product liability, risk management, and agency regulation.
Chapter 2 about tort law and product liability equipped me with insightful information. From this chapter, I learned the concept of negligence liability and the way it applies to sport. Besides, I understood the defenses to the tort of negligence and their application to sport management. In addition, I learned about the concepts of international torts and product liability and how they apply to sport settings and management. Under tort law, the types of claims include negligence, intent or desire, and strict liability. Negligence, in common understanding, is defined as recklessness in action. However, in a legal sense, it is more than this; it includes the failure to act, a decision that causes harm. For example, in sports management, a coach should know when a player is injured to not include him in the team list until they are free from injury (Barry et al., 2016). A coach’s failure to act will likely be treated as negligence, and he can be sued. Therefore, from this course, I have learned that a failure to take precautions is negligence under tort law, which has many legal ramifications.
Moreover, tort law mostly involves civil, not criminal, actions, which makes it different from other liabilities. Under this category of legal responsibility, the rights an individual has against the world are also included. It is an area that is concerned with the compensation for damages of civil actions or failure to take precautions. Tort complaints are often determined by civil juries instead of judges. Thus, I learned that there is a difference between tort and criminal law. In the latter, an individual has to be guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, while in the former, the burden of proof lies on the preponderance of the evidence. Negligence liability, therefore, involves personal injury, and its elements include the standard of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. There must be a legal duty between the plaintiff and the defendant, which determines the latter’s negligence. Besides, breach of duty involves doing or failing to act in a situation leading to injury. Causation refers to the connection between the plaintiff’s injury and the defendant’s action or breach of duty. Therefore, the standard of tort law is based on fault, and no intent to injure is required.
From chapter 2, I also learned a higher degree of carelessness, in particular, gross negligence, which is based on wanton, willful, or reckless conduct. In this case, although there may be no intent to cause injury, the action results in damage. An example given in the chapter is Hackbart v. Cincinnati Bengals, Inc. In this case, a player’s intentional injury was inflicted on his opponent, which was against the general football customs. The defense of such a lawsuit depends on the assumption of risk. I can apply this knowledge as a sports professional if a similar tort occurs in my career. First, the risk must be inherent to the sport, and the participant must voluntarily consent to be at risk. For example, in the case mentioned above involving Hackbart, the defendant was aware of the inherent dangers of the action. For this reason, the defendant who hit Hackbart assumed, knew, and appreciated the risk. This is useful information to have as a sport professional.
In tort law, the sources of the risk include express and implied assumptions. The former is found in oral or written records outlining the risk of the participation agreements’ action, while the latter is from inherent knowledge of the risk resulting from an activity. From this chapter, I also learned the invasion of the right to privacy, which is a common and broad offense. It has four areas: appropriating of one’s likeness and name, false light, intrusion, and publicly disclosing private information and facts. This is essential knowledge that I can apply as a sport professional to avoid litigation involving the right to privacy.
Chapter 3 was also educative as I learned many concepts on risk management which I can apply as a sport professional. The first aspect I acquired from this section is the critical elements of the decision-making process and risk management foundations. I now know the vital elements of crisis management and emergency action planning. Lastly, I learned how to manage issues for sports facilities and those with disabilities.
The process of managing risk is divided into three steps: recognition, analysis, and action. The first stage includes identifying risks and the specific type of hazards related to them. As a sport professional, recognizing risks is an essential skill that I need. For example, I can ascertain that food is properly prepared to avoid stomach upsets and similar issues regarding the welfare of players. The analysis phase involves relating the identified hazards with their potential liabilities. For example, in a sport setting, an uneven turf or slippery floor is likely to cause personal injuries, which may result in tort liability (Barry et al., 2016). It is also necessary to assess the risk to estimate the seriousness of the possible injury, causation, and foreseeability. The final stage is taking action, which involves adopting a number of strategies to prevent liabilities. Sometimes no action is needed; for example, in case the risk involved has a negligible effect. On the other hand, the hazards can be treated to reduce the risk if there is a possibility of tort liability. Therefore, risk management is an important skill to have as a sport professional.
In a sport setting, an emergency action plan (EAP) outlines the strategies to address potential medical emergencies. As a manager, I have the legal and ethical duty to prepare an EAP based on industry standards, statutes, court rulings, and regulations. The crucial aspects I learned from this section of the chapter include communication, emergency training, the first responder’s role, documentation, or when to call 911. On the other hand, a crisis management plan (CMP) is more preemptive, and it aims to reduce the adverse effect of a crisis. It has three distinct stages: planning, communication, and post-crisis response. Therefore, the knowledge of EAP and CMP are useful to me as a sport professional since there are always emergencies and crises in sport settings.
Chapter 4 also had insightful information about agency law, which is applicable in sport settings. The first aspect I learned from this part of the course is the working of agency relationships and how authoritative agents are. I now have a better understanding of the function and duties of a sports agent. Some of the roles of sports agents include negotiating employment and concessions agreements and representing the client in negotiations with media, sponsors, and advertisers. The need to regulate agents developed due to abuses in the past and the negative impacts on athletes, including sportspersons losing money due to their agents’ actions (Barry et al., 2016). Therefore, this information can help me as a sport professional demarcate the various responsibilities of the parties in an agency relationship and how athlete agents are regulated.
In conclusion, this course has equipped me with the requisite legal information for various situations in a sport setting. I now have a better understanding of tort law and how negligence can lead to liability in sports. For example, a sports team manager needs to ensure the turf, and the floors are not slippery, which can lead to potential personal injuries to players. There are many risks involved in sports, and risk management knowledge was also beneficial to me. Agency law is an area that I never had much knowledge about, but I now have a better grasp of this area and athletes’ agents’ roles. Therefore, as a sport professional, I am now better informed on legal matters about tort law, risk management, and agency regulation in a sport setting.
Barry, M., Skinner, J., & Engelberg, T. (2016). Research handbook of employment relations in sport. Edward Elgar Publishing.