May
12

Running a Relationship

OJ

“The key to this business,” Dicky Fox told Jerry Maguire, “is personal relationships.”

But when do said relationships start? And what do they entail? For Louis Johnson and Rodney Guillory, “runners” for Bill Duffy Associates Sports Management (BDA), a “relationship” with then USC-freshman O.J. Mayo meant a regularly BDA-subsidized Citibank account and over $200,000 total to help them “maintain” good relations with the budding star. Johnson (then a sports reporter) said that he was covering the 2003 Adidas ABCD basketball camp when Mayo, then 15, and Guillory, then 38, met for the first time. Lo and behold, when Mayo announced his intention to turn professional, he signed with one Calvin Andrews, BDA senior VP. 5 years and nearly a quarter million later, BDA landed their man.

No one is really surprised by the revelations, especially as they involve USC. Or as Captain Renault said, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” In fact, Kelly Naqi’s “Outside The Lines” probe documents what people in the know already knew or long suspected about the club promoter-cum-runner Guillory a long, long time ago. This guy’s no good. As HoopsWise author Ray Mernagh notes, “please save the misdirected scorn at Mayo for the following parties: USC, the NCAA, Johnson/Guillory, and to a lesser extent BDA (they’re likely just playing the game everyone else in the business is). USC has a very recent history with Guillory—research a high-flying kid named [Jeff] Trepagnier—and the problems he brings.”

So is that what it’s come to for firms like BDA? They’re just playing the game? What does that say about the state of big time college athletics? What does that say about our level of cynicism as fans? Is it even possible to survive as an agent anymore without a team of “runners” who make contact with prospective “clients” when they’re still in junior high, and without hundreds of thousands of dollars to “invest,” so to speak?

BDA claims it did nothing wrong, and that in fact it stopped funneling money to Mayo around the time his senior year in high school ended (at which time Guillory arranged to get an American Express card registered to a sham California charity called “The National Organization of Sickle Cell Prevention and Awareness Foundation” so that he could continue to fund his “relationship” with Mayo).

The most troubling thing is, maybe BDA is right.

  • Austin

    My question is, what do you think the NBPA will do to BDA and Bill Duffy and Calvin Andrews? Will the NBDA decide to suspend BDA as a company, Bill Duffy and Calvin Andrews individually, or do nothing at all?

  • Vince

    I don’t think the nba will suspend the company just because of the stars that are clients to BDA ( steve nash, Carmelo, etc..) I think they should fine BDA around 600k (3 times the amount they spent on mayo). Its a tough situation because their relationship started in 5 years ago, so it is kind of sick to see what some agencies will do in order to lock up a client. I hope to see the rules tighten up in the future and really start to penalize these unethical and illegal actions that some agencies take part in.

  • Matthew Allinson

    Check out the latest entry on the Real Athlete Blog about O.J.’s situation.

    http://www.accessathletes.com/blog/blogdisplay.cfm?blogid=56

  • http://www.navtej-kohli-sportsblog.com/ Navtej Kohli

    I think that NBA should suspend BDA as it will be an example for all the others and will prevent them from conducting these illegal activities.

  • Matthew Allinson

    Personally, I don’t think anything will happen to Duffy and BDA. The only thing the NBAPA might do is give them a little slap on the wrists behind closed doors. Let’s be honest with ourselves, whether right or wrong, this is the business of agent representation, and the PA knows it. Whether they are going to do anything about it is a different question.

  • http://www.kenjisummers.com Kenji Summers

    What can the NBAPA do? The relationship was established a long time ago and as a point of clarity wasn’t Louis Johnson (the informant) convicted for selling narcotics? Do people really believe everything he is saying? Also excuse my ad hominem argumentation, but does everyone here really believe everything Mr. Johnson is saying?

    Terrible situation for OJ, I have seen too many from my own city put in his situation.

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  • J

    I can’t say that I know the entire extent of what went on in this situation but I can say that I’ve Know Calvin Andrews both personally and professionally for almost 20 years. Mr. Andrews is one of the most honest, ethical and moral individuals I’ve ever had met and is as well intentioned as they come in a business full of corruption, greed, and power. I knew it would be difficult for a trustworthy, honorable, kind person to move into a career filled with unscrupulous, corrupt, self serving characters, but hoped Mr. Andrews would be able to remain untouched and unaffected by those negative influences surrounding him. It’s almost an impossibility to completely avoid any dealings or encounters with these dishonest individuals at some point and not be judged by association. Please keep an open mind and withhold opinions until all the facts are in, and it is proven one way or another with verifiable and accurate information. And give Calvin Andrews the benefit of the doubt and judge him on his long history of professionalism, sincerity and honesty in all his dealings both personal and professional. JB

  • http://sportsagentblog.com Darren Heitner

    I actually had a long convo with somebody in the industry last night and he asked what my feelings were on this situation. I believe that JB is mostly right. We must ascribe to the theory that you are innocent until proven guilty. Calvin Andrews may have not known that money was being transferred to Mayo. However, we must also start demanding accountability. The ignorance excuse cannot last forever.