Earlier today, my wife and I found out that our oldest son, Jake, was a late addition to the all-star swim meet for his region in his best stroke, breast stroke. My first instinct was to run to Facebook and post it (after all, isn’t that where it’s acceptable to brag these days?) but then thought better of it.
Many parents of NFL prospects aren’t so circumspect. It’s not just social media, of course. So many parents of NFL players — and, increasingly, parents of NFL hopefuls — see their kids as their ticket to status, and they don’t mind using their sons’ agents (and even prospective agents) as a vehicle for that status. Here are a few examples.
- Yesterday, I was on the phone with an agent who had his first draftee in 2015. Believe me, this young man was a surprise draftee by any measure. At any rate, by the by, the young man’s mother found out that his agent’s wife’s cousins are well-known actresses/singers. “Seems like an NFL player’s mom should be able to get a job with someone like that,” she chided the agent. When the agent politely explained that he couldn’t make that happen, he was the player’s ex-agent within a few months. “What am I supposed to do?” he asked me. “Tell my wife’s cousins that they should give my client’s mother a bunch of money?”
- A few years ago, an NFL cornerback’s mother kept bugging her son’s agent to fly her cross-country to one of her son’s games. He had trained this player in the expectation that he’d go Top-100, but alas, he’d been drafted much later than that. Still, eager to please the player’s mother, he bought her flight. She promptly called. When he answered, ready to accept her thanks, instead she complained because her seat wasn’t in first class.
- In 2006, an agent friend recruited an SEC player aggressively on the expectation that the young man would be a combine invitee who’d be drafted in the top three rounds. Though he got a Senior Bowl invitation, he was snubbed by the combine. This didn’t stop the player’s father from asking for a flight plus accommodations in Mobile. My friend swallowed hard and picked up the bill. However, when the player’s father asked for all his meals to be covered that week, my friend told him no. “I don’t think Reggie Bush’s agent tells him no,” the father replied.
These are just the stories I can think of off the top of my head. With recruiting starting to heat up, and players’ parents more entitled than ever, I’m sure I’ll be hearing plenty more similar stories in short order.