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Giveth And Taketh Away

Baseball may be America’s pastime, but football is America’s sport. Every Sunday, millions gather around a television to see their favorite teams and players leave everything behind on the field of play. Football players put their lives on the line each and every week for different reasons. The money in professional football is a major reason that athletes decide to risk their bodies and lives in order to give fans an amazing spectacle each and every Sunday for 17 weeks of regular season play.

On Monday night, the NFL welcomed a new player to its club with the signing of rookie holdout and first overall pick, Jamarcus Russell [Sources: Raiders reach agreement in principle with top pick Russell]. Many people have ripped on players like Russell for penny pinching and trying to get as much money as possible from executives that often claim to be losing money on their investments. You should not expect for these trends to discontinue. However, maybe we should all stop complaining and appreciate that such talented athletic specimens decide to give up their bodies in order for our enjoyment and money.

The last unsigned first-round pick from the 2007 NFL Draft has now officially entered the league. But with the start of the season, the door remains open for current NFL members to exit. Sometimes, their exit is under less than fortunate circumstances.

This past weekend, Buffalo Bills defender Kevin Everett put on his uniform, jockstrap, and helmet just like any other Sunday. He entered the field of play and consented to the rules of the game, which involve a lot of physical contact. He knew that he was taking a risk by playing, but chose to be out there to help his team try to beat the Denver Broncos. He definitely was not aware of the consequences of such a decision.

Everett was trained to tackle other men. In his training, he was certainly told to never lead with your head when making a tackle. Sometimes, a player does not get to choose how the tackle is made, though. This past weekend, he made a head to shoulder tackle on special teams, and because of it, may be paralyzed without the ability to ever walk again (although his doctor thinks that he will walk again).

This post is not anti-football. I love the game and would hate to not have the ability to watch it every Sunday and Monday night. Instead, this post should make you see all the great things about the sport, and any other sport where athletes really give up their lives in order to please the public. All too often, we hear the media bash athletes and their agents because they apparently do not deserve the money that they are receiving. But these athletes do not only have special abilities that you and I do not have; they also assume a huge risk when they decide to partake in their sports. Unfortunately, we now must witness when the risk turns into actual damage.

I wish Kevin Everett and his family all the best.

-Darren Heitner

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

4 replies on “Giveth And Taketh Away”

Good for Russell with his new contract, I hope he does well although I’m not as high on him as all the “experts” are. Terrible situation for Everett but good news today about him being able to move his arms and legs voluntarily. Situations like his make me wish that the NFL expanded their rosters by a few players or even bring up a few guys from their practice squad to play only special teams. I mean I know he is in the NFL and should know how to tackle but the guy was a TE, he probably hasn’t practiced tackling since he was in high school. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Everett family, it’s a very sad situation.

Some questions I have re: Everett:

1) Assuming he never plays again, what is the status of his contract? How much does the team owe to him legally? Morally?

2) What kind of medical benefits would he/will he receive from a) Buffalo and b) the NFL?

3) What can/should his agent do in this situation?

Jason, I am sure there would be specific points in regards to retirement due to injury in his contract, this is assuming he will retire. If he doesnt retire and is merely on an ‘injury’ list then the club should be paying all medical expenses and any costs associated. Not to mention his base garaunteed salary. I think in other sports, such as AFL a retirement due to injury does not constitute a payout of thier contract. I will assume he had some form of perosnal insurance, such as income protection, so he should see compensation through that.

I don’t know if the NFL legally has any obligation to him.

All his agent can really do is be beside him. The should throughly go through the contract very finely. Speak to him regulary and keep his spirits up and listen to what he wants to do with his career.

Geat news that his health is on the up.

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