Why MLB and NBA Free Agents Should Thank Curt Flood
The drama of modern free agency has become as much a part of professional sports as the games themselves. But it wasn’t always that way.
On the morning of October 8, 1969, just days after the end of a disappointing season for the St. Louis Cardinals, Curt Flood was told that he was being traded to Philadelphia. The veteran center fielder didn’t want to go. However, baseball players did not have a say in where they played, thanks to a court-protected “reserve clause” allowing team owners to perpetually renew their contracts.
Flood wanted control over his life – describing himself as a “well-paid slave,” he invoked the spirit of the civil rights movement, and highlighted demographic tensions at play between team owners and professional athletes. By taking a stand Flood put the power dynamic of America’s sports on trial, both in the court of law and of public opinion, and championed a movement that forever changed the game.
More Like This
How an Underground Abortion Network Got Started
It started with one request. A friend's sister was pregnant and suicidal. Before long a clandestine group called Jane was created to help women in Chicago with illegal abortions.
Operation Ceasefire: Inside a Community's Radical Approach to Gang Violence
Our latest collaboration with The New Yorker, tells the story of cops, African-American pastors, gang members, and academics coming together to create positive change for Boston, while upending notions of traditional policing in a way that is especially pertinent today.
Trump Administration Sued for Torpedoing Enforcement of Landmark Housing Law
Ben Carson, Secretary of HUD, is being sued for not enforcing the Fair Housing Act -- landmark legislation that was passed 50 years ago during the Civil Rights era.
Louis Armstrong And The Black Celebrity's Dilemma
As America's jazz icon, Louis Armstrong was seen as a smiling, easygoing entertainer. But in 1957, he invited controversy by speaking forcefully on behalf of his fellow African Americans, putting him in a position familiar to many black athletes today.