Comm Law Lesson

Gerry Callahan is morally indignant, apparently, that the Red Sox may spend as much as five years, $75 million (!!!) on J.D. Drew.

That is a heckuva lot of money, and more than I think Drew is worth, but Callahan actually calls it obscene:

What do they say about obscenity? You know it when you see it? Well, $14 million a year for J.D. Drew is obscene.

Well, actually, Gerry, that was pornography — Justice Potter Stewart in 1964, to be exact. Although Stewart was discussing hard-core pornography unprotected by the First Amendment, which by definition is obscene, so we’ll give you half-credit.

Nevertheless, is the possible signing of J.D. Drew really equivalent to obscenity? The Supreme Court — I’m using the manner Callahan himself chooses to define the term — says it’s something that:

  1. The average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
  2. Depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and
  3. Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

While the average person, applying community standards, might find the "work" excessive, I’m not sure how prurient the interest here is — unless you really, really love money (so, if you’re Scott Boras, maybe this really does apply). Hard to get around No. 2 though. If this were Derek Lowe, you might have a case, but J.D. Drew is reportedly a devout Christian, so no known offensive sexual conduct here. As a fan of baseball considering the contribution this deal makes to the economics of the game (science), the product on the field (art) and the written history of the sport (literature), I can’t say it runs afoul of No. 3 either.

So, sorry, Gerry. You’ve failed your first test. The signing of J.D. Drew — even at $15 million per year — is not obscene. But it’s still ridiculous.

4 comments… add one

  • “J.D. Drew is reportedly a devout Christian, so no known offensive sexual conduct here.”
    This is a joke, right?

    obser November 28, 2006, 6:21 pm
  • Just what I’ve heard. Could be true. Could not be true. Could’ve been sarcastic and I missed the punchline.

    Paul SF November 28, 2006, 6:24 pm
  • That’s a bit of money.. unless it’s a lot of backloaded + incentives.. if I was a SF, I wouldn’t mind paying him even 18 mil$, if say, 5-6 mil of it was incentive-based..

    Lar November 28, 2006, 6:48 pm
  • This is a very funny post.

    Hudson November 28, 2006, 9:27 pm

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