Ramirez pays, but "Ramirez Provision" goes
The Times reported this week that the commissioner's office and players' union had agreed to bar the "Ramirez Provision" and any other contract clauses that compelled players to donate to club charities. In the interest of clarification, a few questions and answers:
Q: Manny Ramirez agreed to donate $1 million of his $45-million contract to the Dodgers' charitable foundation. Is he still obligated to do so?
Q: So why did the Times headline read " 'Ramirez Provision' is banned?"
A: At the press conference to announce the Ramirez signing, owner Frank McCourt lauded Ramirez for his donation and said all future Dodgers contracts would include a clause requiring players to make a donation to the club's charitable foundation. McCourt said the clause would be called the "Ramirez Provision."
Q: So what's wrong with players supporting club charities?
A: Nothing, should the players choose to do so, and many do. The players' union objected to mandated donations as part of a contract, in much the same way a company can ask its employees to donate to the United Way but cannot compel them to do so.
Q: The owners agreed to refrain from mandating such donations, so why does Ramirez still have to pay?
A: The agreement anticipates that all existing contracts will be honored. In addition, the agreement provides an exception for teams to mandate such donations in contracts of players signing as free agents, or signing extensions that buy out one or more years of free-agent eligibility. Those players would have the option to sign elsewhere. The Dodgers could sign Ramirez to the same contract today, without objection from the union.
Q: Did the union object specifically to McCourt's announcement of the "Ramirez Provision"?
A: No. The union filed a grievance last year against 22 clubs that had included such clauses in player contracts, including the Angels and Dodgers. The grievance was in the works before McCourt made his announcement.
Q: What was the Dodgers' reaction to the agreement?
A: "We respect the agreement that was made and will, of course, abide by it," Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said in a statement. "With that being said, one of our organization's three core goals is to be a model franchise in giving back to the community and therefore, we will continue to encourage our players to voluntarily do so, both with their time and financial resources."
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo: Manny Ramirez. Credit: Morry Gash, AP.