Commentary

Free agency hasn't ruined sports

Free agency isn't evil. But the lies told about it just might be

Updated: February 26, 2011, 2:05 PM ET
By Peter Keating | ESPN The Magazine

EVER HEAR OF A ZOMBIE LIE? It's a falsehood that just won't die, no matter what evidence is brought to disprove it, such as the claim that President Obama wasn't born in the United States. The worst thing about the whole Albert Pujols contract foofaraw is that it has resurrected the ultimate sports zombie lie: Free agency has destroyed player loyalty. Some version of this notion runs through a broad spectrum of our chatter, from blaming LeBron for the South Beach spectacle to judging former MLBPA boss Marvin Miller's Hall of Fame candidacy to choosing sides in the upcoming NFL and NBA labor wars.

Well, now's the time to break out your ax, chain saw, Egyptian obelisk or whatever other zombie-killing equipment you've got lying around the house. We're about to crush this demon once and for all.


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Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.