Five Ridiculous Athlete Demands
There's no room at the table for negotiation
On Raw SuperShow Monday night, Brock Lesnar rattled off a list of demands to John Laurinaitis, including access to Mr. McMahon’s private jet. The General Manager of Raw and SmackDown believed he had no choice other than to acquiesce, as refusing Lesnar would result in no Extreme Rules Match against John Cena. With that, Laurinaitis caved in.
Brock Lesnar’s hardly the first athlete to make such ultimatums. Take a look at the lofty mandates other stars have made, including one of the highest paid athletes in the world, Alex Rodriquez.
Back in 2000, after Alex Rodriguez closed out his time with the Seattle Mariners, he entered the free agent market. The New York Mets had great interest in signing him, but passed. It was quickly asserted to the media that in addition to commanding the highest salary ever for an athlete, Rodriguez's negotiator demanded that the star get his own office at Shea Stadium, a marketing staff, a merchandise tent at spring training, a luxury box and use of a private jet. Talk about major league demands!
In the end, the Texas Rangers signed Rodriguez to a mega, 10-year, $252 million contract that the team had to ditch midway through due to financial issues. Fast forward to December 2007, and the outstanding number was trumped when the New York Yankees - who helped out the Rangers, and themselves, three years earlier by trading for him - signed Rodriguez to a 10-year, $275 million contract.
As one of football’s greatest receivers, Terrell Owens caught controversy throughout his career. In July 2005, Owens - having previously talked his way off the San Francisco 49ers and was now in the second year of a seven-year, $49 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles - committed unsportsmanlike conduct with harsh comments about Eagles management and quarterback Donovan McNabb. His relationship with the team worsened even further after he demanded - wait for it - to be allowed to play basketball in a summer league. Say what?
Needless to say, the Eagles dropped their star receiver the following season. T.O. would finish out his NFL career by passing off his services to the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and finally Cincinnati Bengals, but he never received the same fanfare he developed earlier in his career. One has to wonder what might have been if T.O. were allowed to play in that summer basketball league?
When San Diego Padres star Phil Nevin was seeking a new contract in 2001, he had big things in mind. His four-year deal included an unusual clause. He could become a free agent if construction on San Diego's downtown stadium – halted at the time because of legal reasons – did not resume within one year. Nevin feared the team could not be a serious contender without the revenues from a new home. As it turned out, the team cleared up the legal issues, and construction started again in February 2002. PETCO Park opened in 2004, and Nevin - who enjoyed only one more signifiant year with the Padres due to injuries - was traded to the Texas Rangers in July 2005.
OK, Van Halen isn't comprised of pro athletes, per se. Then again, the band has long enjoyed "Runnin' with the Devil," and just watch lead singer David Lee Roth’s amazing stage jumps from back in the day. Plus, the guy has been a devout practitioner of martial arts since the early age of 12.
In perhaps the most infamous contract rider of all time, the band wanted a bowl of M&Ms at all of their shows. There was just one little added detail. All brown M&Ms were supposed to be removed from the bowl of candy-coated confections.
Dig a little deeper, and there’s more to the story than just the chocolates. Turns out the band used the rider to test how well concert promoters paid attention to details. If they found brown M&Ms, the band knew to check things over, including their sound system, as well as the safety of the stage construction.
As one of Major League Baseball’s greatest pitchers ever, Roger Clemens won seven Cy Young Awards. His 2007 contract with the New York Yankees included a "family plan" clause that stipulated he didn’t have to go on road trips in which he was not scheduled to pitch. It also allowed him to leave the team between starts to be with his family. Clemens had the same clause in his contract during three seasons with the Astros prior to joining the Yankees. But his unique arrangement with the Yankees really raised the ire of some when he was thrust back under one of the biggest sports media spotlights in the world. That, and he posted a 6-6 record with an unimpressive 4.18 ERA. Perhaps he should have gotten in more work playing catch with his son during those extra Family Nights.