As you know, I was part of a sports panel at Chapman Law in Orange, Calif., last week. If you’re interested in watching our panel in its entirety, it’s already been posted online. I’d encourage you to check it out.
Here are a few observations and thoughts.
- Early on, we discuss success in the business. Every year, there’s some out-of-nowhere agent who signs several players that the bigger firms sought. Often, that agent gets media attention and maybe even praise from other contract advisors, but on draft day, where do his players wind up? Sometimes there’s a happy ending for the players, but at what cost? Often, these new agencies win because they throw buckets of money at their clients. We never get to see their balance sheets, however, and that’s where you really find out who won and lost.
- At one point, one of the panelists decries agents who claim they can get players into the NFL Combine or the Senior Bowl. I agree on half of that statement; no agent can get a player into the combine. On the other hand, there were a dozen players who competed in Mobile this year that are not going to Indianapolis. I’d be very surprised if an agent’s strong lobbying wasn’t part of the reason one or all of them were in the game. In fact, I know for a fact that one of them (Northwestern State WO Ed Eagan) made it strictly because his agent, New Orleans-based Jason Cavignac, pushed hard enough to get Eagan an actual workout with the game’s organizers, which led to his assignment to the game when another receiver got hurt. That’s good agent work.
- One of the agents on the panel, Select Sports Group’s Erik Burkhardt, very famously rid himself of a troubled client, former Browns QB Johnny Manziel, the week before the panel. Many of us on the panel expected a question from the audience about Erik’s decision; God knows I’ve had several agents who’ve reached out to me with words critical of Erik. Had anyone asked, however, I would have defended him. I’m confident Erik did what he could. What’s more, he hung around longer than the marketing people that surrounded Manziel did. Manziel’s father has gotten a lot of press for claiming Johnny wouldn’t see 24 if he didn’t get the right help. Well, Mr. Manziel, Johnny’s social media shows that you were out there with him, getting tattoos and partying it up when he was on top. Where were you then?
There are other panels that are online from the full-day event, but I think the panel I participated on is probably the one with the most appeal to folks considering making football their profession. Don’t forget to check it out.