04 April 2008

Worst Analogy Ever: Contracts = Slavery

New University of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez has a hell of a lawyer. Rodriguez is trying to get out of paying up on a $4 million buyout clause that was part of his contract with his former employer (University of West Virginia). Can't blame a man for trying, I guess, although how a guy who is smart enough to run a college football empire, and who had legal advice during his contract negotiations, is going to successfully argue he was tricked into signing a contract with that buyout clause is a bit of a mystery.

Here's how, apparently.
"It's like back before the Civil War when slaves had the right to buy their freedom," attorney Marv Robon argued. "A penalty of $4 million is almost like a slave from Africa trying to buy his freedom in America.
As usual, the media gets the point wrong. Whomever wrote the article follows with
He's comparing a millionaire to slaves? Oh, come on.
No, no, no. What's wrong is that he's comparing contract law with slavery!

Rodriguez' decision to sign a contract he now regrets is compared to a system in which people were stolen away from their families, packed into ships without proper food, ventilation, water, sanitation, etc., and sold them to other people who would keep them and their descendants enslaved in perpetuity unless one of those descendants happened to find himself in a situation in which he could earn the money to buy his freedom.

Yep, contract law and slavery--surprisingly similar. Wonder how that lawyer did in his contracts class in law school?

1 comment:

James K said...

Somehow I'm unsurprised that the mdia gets it wrong, they too often go in for the "victim-villain" style of story telling rather than a discussion of rigths and obligations.