In the wake of a recent trial court decision finding that minor league baseball players are year-round employees, California State Senator Josh Becker has introduced legislation proposing that California enact the Minor League Baseball Players’ Bill of Rights.

Commenting on his proposed legislation Senator Becker stated, “I introduced Senate Bill (SB) 1248 to create the Minor League Baseball Players’ Bill of Rights and to clear the way for better wages, better treatment and fair contracts for these athletes. It’s only fitting that the legislative movement for Minor Leaguers’ rights begins in California.”

SB 1248 would define a minor league baseball player as a person who is employed to play baseball for a minor league team that is affiliated with a major league baseball team and who plays, resides, or is employed in California. It would drastically reduce the current seven (7) year time period that a minor league player can remain under a Major League Baseball team’s contractual control. It would expressly prohibit an employment contract entered into on and after January 1, 2023, from having a term in excess of 4 years.

Using similar legislation to the California bill signed into law by Governor Newsom in 2021 which granted college athletes the right to market and profit from their name, image, and likeness as a model, this bill would require that minor league player employment contracts permit a player to use his name, image, or likeness as he sees fit, the legal right to receive compensation for that use, and any such provision prohibiting such use would be void and unenforceable. SB 1248 would also protect a player’s exercise of the right to use his name, image, or likeness by prohibiting retaliation in any form against a player as a consequence of the exercise of this right.

Becker further commented, “Baseball is called America’s pastime and Minor Leaguers are just asking for what every American worker wants. These players are asking for fair treatment and the opportunity to make a decent living under decent conditions.”

Jackson Lewis continues to track legislation affecting employers. If you have questions about this legislation or issues related to name, image, and likeness regulations contact a Jackson Lewis attorney or any member of the firm’s Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group to discuss further.