All online dictionaries say that the phrase never refers to a written agreement. However, Wikipedia says, “It`s usually oral, although it can be written.” Until Jackie Robinson was hired by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946, a gentlemen`s agreement guaranteed that African-American players were excluded from organized baseball.  The end result may, in many cases, be higher costs or lower quality products for consumers. Worse still, a gentlemen`s agreement can be used as a means of promoting discriminatory practices, as in an “Old Boy`s Network”. The U.S. government banned gentlemen`s agreements in trade and commerce relations between nations in 1890. .