We need to be educators, not facilitators. If your client gets busted for substance abuse one time, that is more than enough. At that point, it’s time to put your foot down and let the client know that such behavior will not fly. We are agents, not friends, and often times, the lines are blurred tremendously. Take steps back and make sure to internally reaffirm that above all, you have the best interests of your clients in mind. That means letting them know that they have a lot to lose if they violate the law/professional associations’ rules regarding substance abuse for a second time.
Sports agents exist because they truly help athletes in a variety of ways. They also exist because they also have the possibility to earn a very strong salary off of commissions charged. But no one is making money when players are suspended. Jeremy Jeffress is one of the top pitching prospects in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Some penned 2009 as the year that the young pitcher would get his chance in the MLB. Not so fast. He recently was busted for the second time (the kid is only 21-years-old) for using marijuana.
Jeffress will now serve a 100 game suspension. Teams don’t like it when a player has to miss a week because of a death in the family. What do you think that an organization thinks about missing 100 days because a player can’t get off the weed during the season? Next violation, if it happens, and Jeffress gets a lifetime ban from Minor League Baseball.
As an agent, if you decide to take on a client like Jeffress, it is your responsibility to do whatever you can to prevent this from happening. Be an educator, not a facilitator. It is a shame to see a former first-round pick with so much talent suspended for the rest of the year and well into 2010 because he could not stay away from drugs…drugs that don’t even help his performance on the field. His performance, and actually playing games, is all he should be thinking about. There are hungry guys drafted later than him, or not drafted at all, who will do whatever it takes to make it to the big stage.