Most employees in the free-world are able to quit their job and take another job if that's what they want to do. That's how the labour market works. Work needs to be done, employers seek out the best people to do this work, and the workers themselves in turn negotiate a price for their services. Sport is no different.
Sonny Bill Williams is a rugby player and is most famous (to AFL tragics such as myself) as 'that rugby player who shagged the triathlete in the public toilet'. Apparently, he is a very good rugby player though. So good in fact that a French Rugby Union team offered him more money than that he was earning in the NRL to play in France with them.
He did what most people would do. He quit his job and went to another.
He is now being sued by both his NRL team and the NRL itself for 'breach of contract'.
This is akin to an air hostess quitting Qantas to take a better job with Air France, then being sued by both Qantas and The Australian Civil Aviation Authority.
The NRL and the Canterbury Bulldogs need to get over themselves and deal with their loss, and quick smart, because as reported today, Williams' defence is frightening. He is counter-claiming that the NRL salary cap is inherently unfair and a restriction of trade. It's frightening because it's true - we all know it's true, but in order for sporting codes to remain interestingly even we choose to keep our heads in the legal sand.
The salary cap, like 'the head' in AFL, is sacrosanct.
If the NRL pursue this and the salary cap is tested in the courts and found to be a restriction of trade and thusly demolished, there can only be one result. Powerful teams with more access to sponsor money will then be able to afford all the best players and we'll end up with two or three powerhouses (a la English Premier League) and all the other teams will just make up the numbers.
And we all know in Victoria what that means. Collingwood will be unbeatable, and Eddie Maguire will become President of the Universe.
When the NRL are forced to give evidence at the hearing, I hope they turn to the judge and say, "Your honour, the salary cap may be restriction of trade, but in the name of all things holy, consider this image (above). We rest our case."