Last Friday, I participated on a Tele-press Conference featuring C. Lamont Smith of All Pro Sports & Entertainment. C. Lamont Smith represents guys like Derrick Mason and Rudi Johnson, and was recently mentioned in a SportsAgentBlog.com piece which discussed Lito Sheppard dropping All Pro Sports & Entertainment for Rosenhaus.
Anyway, the teleconference’s mission had absolutely nothing to do with All Pro Sports & Entertainment. In fact, any time Smith was asked a question about his role as an agent, he quickly brushed it aside, saying that it was not on topic. Instead, Smith had his publicist, LaTanya Marble, call the conference to discuss his new venture: Jocklife.com.
The call ran about forty-five minutes and I was one of four journalists asking C. Lamont Smith questions about his new multimedia platform. The pre-determined talking point was: Are athletes represented in a fair and balance way in the media?”
Here is the short Q&A that I had with C. Lamont Smith, along with some Q&A between other journalists and Smith.
Darren Heitner: What in particular led you to create a website like Jocklife.com?
C. Lamont Smith: My interest started to develop a couple of years ago. We went through a strain where you had unprecedented cases of athletes being covered in the media (Pacman, Vick, Carmelo, Marion Jones, Barry Bonds). We went through a period where we were bombarded with images of athletes being convicted/accused of crimes. It was very depressing to me. I understand a different side of athletics. I understand a side of guys who are very professional and do great things in the community. I started to think to myself, how can a broader, more balanced picture of athletes be painted.
Darren Heitner: As a sports agent, do you think there is any conflict of interest in creating a website that will cover the athletic landscape while concurrently representing players?
C. Lamont Smith: Jocklife is a completely separate entity from All Pro Sports & Entertainment. My background is journalism, though. I worked in TV and Radio for 4 years before I went to law school to become a lawyer. I feel that I am qualified to be in this movement. I will not be very involved in the development of the website, though. We will hire qualified individuals to run the day-to-day operations of Jocklife.
Other Journalist: You mention your journalism background. How did you become a sports agent?
C. Lamont Smith: I first stumbled into representing athletes. I was working in Atlanta after I graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism. I knew a guy named John Drew, who played for the Atlanta Hawks. He asked me to assist him in procuring endorsements in the area. Through seeing what was not happening with John, I got introduced to the whole sports agent industry. Seeing how dreadful his career ended up, I decided to go the sports agent route.
Other Journalist: What will Jocklife bring to the table in terms of unique content offered?
C. Lamont Smith: Jocklife.com is for athletes of all levels: high school, college, and professional. The whole jist of the Jocklife platform is to bring some balance and fairness to the coverage of athletes…give athletes the opportunity to define themselves. Today, athletes are really defined by the coverage they get and the stories written about them. Very few times do they have the opportunity to define themselves in an extended fashion.
Other Journalist: When will we know the athletes that will be involved in Jocklife?
C. Lamont Smith: The site is live, but we have not hard-launched it yet. We have had preliminary discussions with prominent athletes who have received the concept very well. Right now, clients of ours are up on the site. When we have a hard-launch, early September before the 1st regular season game, we anticipate a very good response. We are not asking athletes to give anything or spend money. We will allow them to present a different side of themselves.
Darren Heitner: How will you differentiate Jocklife from a site like Yardbarker.com, which already has a platform for athletes to blog about their lives?
C. Lamont Smith: I believe that Yardbarker is more oriented towards giving young athletes insight into what it takes to perform at a high level. Jocklife is more of a news/lifestyle site than it is a performance site. Its mission is really to spread and enhance the image of athletes, where I think that the mission of Yardbarker is to give young athletes an insight into how to increase and give good performance.
C. Lamont Smith said this in ending the discussion, “We are in a society where the media builds athletes up only to tear them down. It is a sensationalized media environment, which is why I believe there is a great opportunity for Jocklife.” Does Jocklife sound like a site you would be interested in visiting? What about a site that you frequent regularly? Does it separate itself enough from Yardbarker?