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Do Incentive Clauses In Contracts Lead Players To Hide Injuries?

Something a little different for you all today. I am taking a senior Sports Administration class here at school, and the big project for this class is somewhat of a mini Masters thesis project, and my topic will most likely be what the title says: that is, do athletes hide injuries (such as concussions) in order to fulfill incentive clauses, such as starting all 16 games (Gonzo's contract has this clause), starting a playoff game, or achieving 1000 yards rushing/receiving, etc.

I realize most of you all are fans and not necessarily experts on this topic, but I thought, for potential research use, I would poll you all and ask your opinion on this matter, because I think it's a valid question.

Incentive clauses, in case some of you aren't familiar with those, are things that agents usually negotiate into athletes' contracts to give them incentives to play hard or achieve certain milestones. These incentives can be something very small and lead into something big. Here's a small sample of what some of these incentives might be, including some I have mentioned above:

  • 4,000 yard passing seasons (5,000 would give a higher bonus)
  • Number of 300 yard passing games (Certain # of 400 yard passing games would give higher bonus)
  • 1,000 yard rushing/receiving seasons
  • 100 yard rushing/receiving games (Say 6 of these games in a season results in a bonus)
  • Regular season MVP
  • Winning a playoff game (e.g. Tebow's $250k bonus for beating PIT)
  • Winning the Super Bowl/ Super Bowl MVP

Please note that all of these may not actually be incentives that agents try to negotiate in a contract, but you follow what I'm saying, I'm sure.

Now, my research question asks if athletes would hide an injury in order to achieve one of those clauses for the paycheck bonus and, if that is the case, should incentive clauses be removed to help protect the players.

So today I call on you all, Falcoholics. What do you think? If an athlete is close to an incentive bonus, would they hide an injury (that could seriously affect their career) to achieve that bonus? I have included a poll in here to quickly gather your thoughts, but I do ask that, if you feel so inclined, take a couple minutes to share your thoughts about this matter because I think that it is a matter that might be overlooked in sporting administration today.

I also want to thank everyone who participates in advance. I really appreciate it! I'll also be floating around as well.