Title an article, African-American agents, and us, and you are bound to grab my attention. Last week, Scoop Jackson wrote that such article, which seemed to serve as his reaction to Luther Campbell’s recent column titled, Superagent Drew Rosenhaus should give back to Miami’s black communities, wherein Campbell said that Rosenhaus needs to give back to the African-American community because individuals from that community have allowed Rosenhaus to earn his riches. However, it was much more inflammatory than Campbell’s piece.
Here is a strong paragraph from Jackson’s article:
It no longer is about why some sports agents from outside of the ‘hood are continually allowed to “visit” and take talent without essentially giving anything back. It’s about how it’s been eight years since Eugene Parker negotiated a contract for Larry Fitzgerald to make Fitzgerald then the highest-paid rookie in NFL history; but, of the 96 players (76 of whom are African-American) chosen in the first rounds of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 NFL drafts, only 18 were represented by black agents. That’s 18.75 percent representation. Barely above the 15.62 percent representation of black head coaches in the League.
Visit and take? I am not sure that Jackson uses the most accurate language in his piece, but then again, the words he chooses are purposefully inserted to prove his subjective point. I do not believe that talent is “taken” from the hood. Instead, talent actively seeks to leave the hood and looks for good representation (or a short-sighted handout). No one put a gun to players’ heads and told them they have to sign with white/latin/Jewish agents. But central to Jackson’s piece is what he views as black athletes looking past, over and around black agents, which he considers to be an epidemic.
I find it rather interesting that to prove his point, he cites Greg Townsend as an example.
As the story was told by former NFL agent Josh Luchs in a piece for Sports Illustrated called “Confessions of an Agent,” Townsend, while playing for the Raiders, befriended a ball boy. The ball boy, Luchs, got in good with the player. Townsend even had the kid drop a urine sample for him to help him try to pass an NFL drug test. (Townsend eventually was suspended for testing positive and wasn’t able to use the ball boy’s sample.) In Townsend’s mind, the ball boy, all of 19 years old at the time, seemed to “care about the players” and because of that — and the fact that the kid was a “New York Jewish guy” just like Raiders owner Al Davis — Townsend suggested that the ball boy become his agent.
Accurate statement, except for the fact that Luchs co-represented Townsend with a black agent. Jackson went to great lengths to take away any ounce of credit from the “New York Jewish guy” without doing an ounce of research to realize that the Jewish guy worked with an established black agent.
I agree with Jackson when he states that white agents do not owe black folks or the black community anything. There is no obligation. However, I am blind to the epidemic Jackson speaks of. Perhaps it is because I am neither black nor from the hood, but I highly doubt that. Next time, Jackson should actually interview black players and ask them why they chose white agents over black agents. My guess is that it had little to nothing to do with race, and mostly was based on track record, expertise, and quite possibly some of the up-front “gifts” we read about so often.