Monday evening, I tweeted something from a conversation I had with a new agent that afternoon. It dealt with two obvious (and easily controvertible) lies a player told to make himself look like a far greater prospect than he is. I debated over whether I should even waste a tweet on it, especially late at night. Finally, I pulled the trigger.
In the space of about 45 minutes, that tweet had generated 14 likes and 2 retweets. This told me two things: my followers are entirely too busy on Twitter late at night, and people in the business are disgusted with the false info, entitlement, smug attitudes and misplaced confidence displayed by too many draft hopefuls.
In the course of reviewing some of the responses, I tripped over a recent tweet by a person who’s pretty revered in the sports and entertainment law industry. Basically, the substance of his tweet was how draft prospects should have a layered, segmented structure of financial, tax and accounting advisors to handle their NFL careers. There was no ‘unless you’re just hoping to one day make the 90’ qualification. Just a summary statement about sports ethics and how things ought to be.
If you ask me, this is one of the reasons these young men have such a disastrously outsized view of their NFL prospects and the life they’ll lead.
There’s a cottage industry out there of people who love to pontificate about the business, but have no real-world experience with it. Most of the time, these are the people sitting in ivory towers and dismissing agents as fire-breathing dragons while touting players as snow-white angels. As with most things in life, these one-dimensional characterizations are useless, but because there is such a dearth of legitimate insight into the football business, they fill a void. It’s sad, really. Few can challenge them, so they go about saying whatever until people start buying it.
If you’re a young man who’ll (a) be drafted in the top 100 next April, you’re (b) going to be described often as a first-rounder throughout the spring. And if you’re not so mentioned, you can forget the idea that you need to build a team of professionals to handle your every business move going forward. Keep in mind that for every 100 players that are wanted by all 32 teams, there are 900 more who need to forget about money and focus on one thing only: making a damn 53.
To make that 53, find an agent who believes in you, will work hard for you, and will get you into an all-star game attended by scouts. Also, you don’t have to train at a gym with all the bells and whistles and jerseys on the wall, but you better go somewhere and bust your hump for 60 days. I mean, last-half-hour-of-Rocky style work, with someone who knows what they’re doing. And if that’s your school, who cares? Work.
I’ve had it up to here with people who say they know, but don’t know. They make the jobs a lot harder for people in the business — my friends, my clients, and the people I have real respect for. But more importantly, they encourage many young men to create an alternate universe on a foundation of impossible expectations. And that’s not a bit fair to anyone in the game.