Thursday, December 13, 2012

Issuing the Fines Is Easy, Collecting... Not So Much

When sports leagues announce player/coach/team "fines" they make sure it makes headlines. The fines are as much public relations as anything.

A frequent question I get from listeners is "where does all that money go?"

If you answered "The League Christmas Party" you'd be wrong - although it would buy one helluva a lot of eggnog.

Three of the top four sports leagues -- the NBA, Major League Baseball and Nascar -- don't disclose the amount of the discrepancy between the penalties they announce and the money they actually collect. The NFL says it collected about two-thirds of the fines it levied last season. Interviews with dozens of sports executives, lawyers and players shed light on how the industry follows through on its disciplinary actions, and turned up numerous instances in which reprieves were granted away from public view. In particular, the NBA, whose championship series this week caps a season marked by record fines, often issues proclamations about the penalties the league and its teams assess. But the league almost never makes public when fines are reduced or rescinded. The NFL does not make public when individual penalties are cut or dropped. "We're not going to break out every little detail," says NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. Major League Baseball is less vocal about its discipline -- except in rare cases, fine amounts are not announced -- but it too declines to reveal how much fine money is collected.
Imagine that. I know many divorced men right now are muttering: "Sheesh. If only my ex were that lenient."


  1. I've often wondered about just who is getting all this "fine" money. It would make a very interesting piece to do on some news magazine show. I'd say ESPN, but they are too busy making sure that black athletes (RGIII) are black enough.

  2. I agree with the Sheesh.

    I remember Rusty Wallace stating that he had one time paid a $5,000 fine to Nascar in pennies, because he thought the fine was BS. Who's going to count $5000 worth of pennies?