Curt Schilling And His Bully Pulpit
Curt Schilling has really picked up his posting lately. The man loves his blog, especially now that the 2007 MLB season is over. As I have said in the past, I am not a huge fan of Schilling, but it is my responsibility to keep track of his writings and see if he ever mentions anything that could be dissected for your reading pleasure. And a few days ago he did just that [Joe Nuxhall, Mike Lowell, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and our next President?]. Here is part of his column, and my responses:
Anytime a player takes matters into his own hands to insure he gets what he wants out of his contract I think it’s a great thing. Kudos to Kenny Rogers for doing what looks to be the same thing.
I cannot disagree. If a player has the time, will, and knowledge to negotiate his own contract with his team and negotiate marketing deals, appearance deals, autograph sessions, along with prepare for retirement, post playing opportunities, etc., then all the more power to him. But look at that past sentence. Sure is a huge obligation if you want to cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s. That’s part of the reason that agents will always continue to operate in spite of the recent move by Kenny Rogers.
I have always felt agents have a place, but I also think that at some point in your career an agent becomes baggage. That’s not all of them because some of them I know are very good, honest and trustworthy people. But I believe there comes a time in every players career where the numbers and the market are pretty self explanatory. Paying someone 5% or more for the task of negotiating a contract is wasted money in many cases. The main concern is that there are many, if not most, major league teams who would barter a player into an embarassing contract without an agent being present.
It seems like Schilling is treating the agent as being in a purely advisory role when it comes to negotiating a deal between player and team. Instead, look at the various other services that an agent may provide (listed in my response ^^^^^ up there). The last thing that we should become is baggage. If an agent is not doing his job, then ditch him. But beyond doing the other tasks that Schilling decided to leave out, agents also tend to end up doing a lot of other “chores” that players do not want to have to deal with, whether it be buying a plane ticket, booking a reservation at a top restaurant, or checking in on the wife and kids back home.
In addition, I think Schilling makes a great point with his “main concern”, which I bolded on purpose. Look way back to a post I made on February 21, 2007. Doug Brown, a defensive lineman in the CFL, gave two reasons why an agent will always be important. One of those reasons: So that he and the general manager of his team do not enter a personal arena where playing on the team becomes uncomfortable [Agents Are Overrated]. This is huge. You do not want to make playing on the team uncomfortable, and by going into a contract negotiation on your own, you will hear about all of your bad qualities that lower your value. You also will have a tough time being objective in representing yourself. Why do you think that lawyers never represent themselves in court?
Many players feel very uncomfortable negotiating their own salaries. Others, and in many cases, are from other countries and cultures and the language barrier presents a massive hurdle that adds immense barriers to negotiating your own deal.
Being from another country/culture definitely increases the importance of having an agent, but so does not being trained in the language, rules or wording of legal documents. How many professional athletes have law degrees? How many of them have even taken a basic Contracts course?
Bottom line is anytime a player takes his own future into his hands I think the end result is the player and the team and its fans win.
No. Bottom line is that most of the time that a player takes his own future into his hands, the end result is not favorable to the player or fans. The team usually wins. Kenny Rogers may negotiate himself a decent contract. But for every Kenny Rogers, there are 10 Daunte Culpeppers.