Mar
08

Men Lie. Women Lie. Numbers Don’t.

This is the first SportsAgentBlog.com post by Rand J. Getlin – President & Founder of Synrgy Sports Consulting.

What do Deion Sanders, Michael Crabtree and Dez Bryant all have in common? Aside from the fact that they’ve all eaten dinner at chateau de Primetime, they’re all clients of super agent Eugene Parker.

What do Mike Jenkins, Chris Houston, and Shawn Springs all have in common? They’ve all fired super agent Eugene Parker.

Actually, Maximum Sports Management, which is comprised of Parker and Roosevelt Barnes, has been fired more than 15 times since 2005.

You all set, fellas? How come these dudes keep leaving you?

By most accounts, Parker and Barnes work tirelessly for their players. Their client list coupled with their long and distinguished career is more than enough proof that they do a lot right (I mean, at the very least Parker knows how to dress for success). Still, when guys have been fired by that many clients in that short a timeframe, it’s obvious they’re doing a few things wrong as well.

Unless you interview all of those players, along with Parker and Barnes, you won’t get a clear picture of what led to those firings. Athletes get rid of their agents for all kinds of reasons. Some logical, some ridiculous (shouts to Andre Smith). In either case, the firing indicates that for some reason, the athlete and the agent weren’t a match.

Parker and Barnes aren’t the only hyper-successful agents bleeding clients though.

Creative Artists Agency is widely regarded as the most dominant force in the game. Their client list is bananas. They represent Peyton and Eli Manning, Adrian Peterson, Mario Williams, Patrick Willis, and Antonio Gates among many others. They’ve got a team of agents who are superstars in their own right and every year the draft classes they land are the envy of the industry. Needless to say, the bank accounts of the agents over there aren’t in danger of being overdrawn.

With everything they’ve got going for them, every NFL athlete should jump at the opportunity to have CAA represent them, right? Perhaps, but any athlete interested in being represented by Condon and Co. should probably ask this question:

CAA, with so much going for you, how in the world do you get kicked to the curb so often?

Since 2005, the agents that work at CAA have been fired more than any other group in the industry. They’ve been axed by at least 20 of their athletes in that time, including Thomas Jones, Michael Clayton, Will Allen, Roy Williams, Marc Colombo, Antrel Rolle, and Julius Jones.

For an early first round guy, even with those firings, you’d be out of your mind not to consider them. For guys falling out of the second round, you might want to give another agency some thought.

At CAA, you’d be buried on a depth chart stacked with 1st rounders. You have to realize that no matter how many times an agent tells you you’re his top priority and he’ll do everything in his power to keep you happy, he’s about his business. The guys over at CAA aren’t any different. If you sign with them and they have ten players who earn them more dough than you, you can’t really be salty when you end up on the b-list.

You know how it goes; it’s like the girl who’s only dated athletes but tells you she’s not with you because you’re on the squad. “I’d be with you if you worked at a gas station baby.” C’mon son! You have to know, as soon as that ACL pops she’ll be wearing your teammate’s jersey. Don’t fall for the okie-doke. Like any agent, she’s going to do what’s best for her. So to circle back to the original question – shouldn’t every NFL athlete jump at the opportunity to have CAA represent them – in the words of Borat, maybe “not so much for you.”

Let’s be clear. I’m not picking on these guys. Lots of agents have been fired by a higher percentage of their players than the folks at CAA and Maximum. The fact that these two firms had more clients fire them than most agents ever get hired by, is more a testament to their position atop the industry than an indictment on their ability to hold their clients down. Both agencies are strong options for elite NFL prospects.

Having said that, the ultimate goal is to get athletes to realize that even the sexiest agencies out there have issues that need to be analyzed carefully. Athletes would be wise to dig as deep as possible into the backgrounds of the agents pursuing them before signing an SRA.

And players, take my word for it, just asking the agent why they got fired doesn’t fly. Newsflash, these guys make a living being slick and a lot of them will sell you a dream if you let them. Just keep in mind, everyone’s going to spin the story to fit their own needs. At the very least, make sure you get both sides.

Call the NFLPA and ask questions about your prospective agents. How many times has agent X been fired? How many times has he been brought up on disciplinary charges and why?

Ask the agent every one of these questions, record the answers, then ask some more.

Knowledge is power and the devil is in the details. You can never have enough information on the people who will be handling the business side of your career.

Don’t listen to me though, take it from Hov, who’s earned a few bucks in his career:

Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t.