On December 17, a press release titled, Agent JR Rickert Reflects on his Career, Lawsuits, and the Future, was published on The Official Site of Agent JR Rickert. Needless to say, the release posted by Melanie Madden, who is listed as JR Sports Enterprises’ Director of Marketing and Publicity, created quite a buzz in the football agent community. The following passages were highlighted by observers:
JR Rickert is not your average sports agent. After almost a decade of a successful career as an educator and high school coach, he entered the agent world under the tutelage of his long-time mentor, Peter Schaffer. In 2001, he signed his first NFL client, offensive lineman, Artis Hicks from the University of Memphis. Hicks went on to have an eleven-year career in the NFL with the Eagles, Vikings, Redskins, Browns, and Dolphins. “At first, I was just looking at it like a small-time operation with Artis and maybe a handful of other players,” recalled Rickert.
Rickert faced the most challenging year of his professional career in 2012 when broke ties with all of his former business partners with the exception of Peter Schaffer. The result was the filing of three separate lawsuits filed in California (Attar), Colorado (All Pro Sports), and New York (National Sports Management). This was covered in a Forbes Magazine on-line addition.
“The lawsuits were nothing more than an attempt by my former business associates to discredit me and hurt my future opportunities to sign players. In the end, all three suits were settled in a fashion where the plaintiffs received exactly what they were to have received had they never filed suit in the first place,” noted Rickert. “In some respects, they succeeded because I get asked about it all the time by prospective clients. But, the key here is that all of my clients stayed with me and none of them left me to go to my former business associates.”
Now with the controversy of the 3 lawsuits behind him, Rickert is poised to become of the most successful sports and entertainment agents in the country.
I wrote the Forbes article that Ms. Madden referenced in her release (see: Football Agent Named Defendant In Three Pending Lawsuits Calls Accusers Desperate and Vindictive).
The reference to Rickert’s legal issues rubbed at least one person the wrong way. “I see online that JR is still telling lies to save face while bringing my name into his mess,” said Audie Attar to Sports Agent Blog. “How this man believes his own lies, I don’t know, but the truth hurts sometimes. He has now bounced quite a few checks and always claims to be sending more, which never show up.”
Sports Agent Blog first covered the ongoing dispute between Rickert and Attar on October 23 in a post titled, Football Agents Settle Lawsuit, But New Dispute Arises Over Breach Of Agreement. That article focused on the lawsuit filed by Attar against Rickert in September 2011 for claimed breach of their Joint Partnership Agreement, Rickert’s grievance against Attar for his alleged failure to comply with the NFLPA’s Regulations Governing Contract Advisors and their subsequent settlement executed on August 1, 2012. The highlight of the article; however, was Attar’s belief that Rickert breached the settlement agreement by not making timely payments as required by the document. Months ago, Attar said, “Guys like this do not deserve to be in this business. If you cannot honor your agreements, you should be exposed.” His feelings have not changed.
“This man has NEVER honored his agreements, but yet still attempts to lie his way through all this,” explained Attar. “This isn’t about the money anymore, this man needs to be exposed so others in our business or any of these young and impressionable players don’t get hurt by his ways. The judge saw through his lies, the union now sees through his lies, and hopefully others wont be fooled by his deceiving ways.”
On December 3, Judge Andrew J. Guilford, presiding over the case of Attar v. Rickert, granted Attar’s motion to enforce the settlement, which Rickert failed to oppose (see: Order Granting Motion to Enforce Settlement). The court stated that “although it is possible Defendant might have arguments in opposition, the participation of an arbitrator in the settlement and the failure of Defendant to file any opposition convinces the Court that Plaintiff should prevail.”
So while Ms. Madden would like the world to think that “all three suits were settled in a fashion where the plaintiffs received exactly what they were to have received had they never filed suit in the first place,” there is at least one football agent (Audie Attar) who vehemently disagrees. However, Rickert still believes there is no pending matter with Attar. “I just mailed Attar a close out check on Saturday,” said Rickert. “He can certainly pursue whatever he wishes, but once he receives the check, I consider the matter closed.”