For 2 consecutive days in February, I decided to discuss if in fact sports agents are unnecessary for the modern athlete.
The first day, I used 2 athletes as examples to show the type of pain that an athlete can suffer when choosing the “cheap way out” by not signing an agent [Agents Are Overrated]. I also gave testimony from Doug Brown, a defensive lineman in the CFL, who gave 2 reasons for having an agent:
1) So that he and the general manager of his team does not enter a personal arena where playing on the team becomes uncomfortable.
2) Because he is “not trained in the language, rules or wording of legal documents.”
The next day, I clarified my previous post by saying that agents still have a duty to inform their players about the business of sports. Agents should still do everything in their power to have their clients understand what happens behind the scenes and why [So Agents Really Are NOT Overrated..].
I believe that an athlete should have an agent represent him/her in any contractual relationship with his/her team. I definitely have a biased stance as the owner of a blog titled, I Want to be a Sports Agent, and a managing partner at Dynasty Athlete Representation. That being said, there are too many examples of situations where it is clear that an athlete would be better off if he/she had a professional working on his/her issues with a team.
Latest case in point: Daunte Culpepper. Whether you think the situation is right or wrong, Daunte has been unable to practice with his current Miami Dolphins teammates (he is still under contract) so far in mini-camp. Culpepper says that he does not want to be traded and that he will not show up to play for any team that gains the rights to him through a trade (an agent may persuade him to not make such comments to the media). That’s right, Daunte Culpepper acts as his own agent.
This is a case where it would be wise to have a third-party come in to handle disputes between player and team. Just look back to Doug Brown’s statements laid out in the beginning of this post. The situation has now become uncomfortable and Daunte is does not have the best legal background to backup his threats.
As Sports Law Blog points out, an agent can work to diffuse the tension, acting as an intermediary or buffer between the player and team, and also develop a public relations strategy to deal with media [Daunte Culpepper: Walking Alone On and Off the Field]. This sounds like an awful lot to do for a player who is also trying to finally get over rehabbing his breaking body…not to mention that it is kind of hard to act as a buffer between yourself and another entity.
My two cents to athletes: Agents make a living off of you. There is no denying that point. But I am not sure that I see a problem in that type of relationship. The sports agent industry is a service industry. Agents make money by giving a service to players that they need. For many, this just means negotiating offers with professional teams. For others, this means a lot more. Even the most simple, basic player should not prevent himself/herself from getting to the next level because he/she does not want to give a small percentage of a paycheck away to an agent. Keep that in mind Daunte, and others.