I am not a gambling man, but my favorite casino game is Texas Hold-Em Poker. It is the only betting game where I feel you have a chance at controlling the destiny of your wallet. Bluffing is a vital part of the action, and the best hand often does not win; it is all about playing your hand to the best of your ability. I have always felt that contract negotiations are handled in a very similar fashion. On the surface, your client may not seem to be worth a certain amount of money, but if you play your hand correctly and build up your client’s strengths, you can gain value and possibly win the negotiation. The reason I italicize win is because there really is no such thing as winning a negotiation. You win when both sides come out happy.
Anyway, Frank Derry of The Orange and Brown Report believes that poker players and sports agents are completely different types of people. To sum up his arguments, he says that a poker player gets a minute of pleasure (if even that) from winning a hand that he statistically should not won, but gets devastated when he loses a hand that statistically should have been a winner. In contrast, a sports agent is silent when his client is having a bad year but quickly demands more money for a client who suddenly has a good year in lieu of consistent past failure.
Basically, Derry is upset over a contract extension inquiry made by Romeo Crennel’s agent, Joe Linta of JL Sports. Crennel’s Cleveland Browns went a unexpected 10-6 this year, and I personally cannot blame Linta for trying to capitalize on his client’s success and obtain a long term contract. Just as a poker player would not bet into an opponent who flips over his cards to show 4-of-a-kind, an agent would not try to get his client a better deal after a 4-12 season. Why is this so shocking?
Having one winning season may not be enough to get Crennel a new agreement, but it would not surprise me if Linta is able to get his client a sweeter deal. If a West Virginia interim head coach only has to win one game to bump up to full head coach status, then I do not put it past any agent to get his client a better deal based on a full year of success.
And I still believe that there are many similarities between sports agents and poker players.