Bullfighter Bails – Breach of Contract?

There are many things that come to mind when I think of breach of contract. Non-performance, failure to pay, failure to deliver goods, among other things, but certainly NOT fleeing from a bull fighting ring.

Well, according to Above the Law.com, that’s exactly what happened to Mexican bullfighter Christian Hernandez. In Mexico, it seems that contract law covers a failure of courage. The bullfighter was arrested, locked up and ordered to pay a fine. All for a simple breach of contract.

Above the Law.com further reports that the bullfighter was gored by a bull in a previous match several months ago and lost his nerve and fled from the ring ahead of a charging bull, leaving his cape behind along the way…but his escape from the charging animal left him exposed to legal action.

Above the Law made a good comparison regarding how this issue would play out in America:

Let’s say that the American equivalent of bullfighting is something like NASCAR. Would it be a breach of contract if a driver suddenly lost his nerve and started driving the speed limit at Daytona? What if he just parked his car on the track and they had to go to caution until they could get him back in the pits? In America, we don’t have a contractual requirement that our sports figures be courageous, do we?

It’s not like Mr. Hernandez threw a fight. He was scared stiff by a charging bull. One could argue that this was not breach of contract but simply self preservation.

“There are some things you must be aware of about yourself,” the matador said in a television interview. “I didn’t have the ability, I didn’t have the balls, this is not my thing.”…

According to NBC Sports, officials did, briefly, persuade Mr. Hernandez to return to the ring, where he put his hands over his head and pointed upward before he made a second departure, shaking his head. He later said he would retire from bullfighting.

I couldn’t have said it better, straight from the horse’s mouth: “I didn’t have the balls.” What more do you want? Can you contractual obligate one to act courageously?