Jan
10

Football Agent Defends His Recruitment Of Veteran NFL Players On Twitter; Then Deletes The Tweets

Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman was amongst many NFL veterans recruited yesterday via Twitter by ____. Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman was amongst many NFL veterans recruited yesterday via Twitter by football agency Sports Capital Group. Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Capital Group is a Weston, Florida-based football agency run by athlete agent Jonathan Kline.  Kline is a graduate of the University of Miami and its School of Law, and a member of a variety of sports and entertainment law associations.  On his football agency’s website, he states, “We do not employ runners, recruiters or middlemen. We simply offer you the best services, knowledge, and individual attention available.”  While runners, recruiters or middlemen may not be involved in Sports Capital Group’s operation, it appears that a heavy use of Twitter as a recruiting vehicle is a key component.  At least based on yesterday’s “Tweet-scapade”

I was tipped off about the Sports Capital Group’s Twitter account by football agent Jerry Marlatt of 1st Team Sports Group, who sent me the following Tweet:

@ , I don't think @ understands Twitter. Client tipped me to this account soliciting clients via social media.
@1stTeamSG
Jerry M

Soliciting clients via social media?  I had to check it out for myself.  Lo and behold, the Sports Capital Group Twitter account was sending out Tweet after Tweet asking NFL players to “please contact us regarding your future NFL representation,” included the agency’s phone number, and concluded with, “Look forward to hearing from you”.  At the time, the account had sent over 50 Tweets.  As of publishing this article, all of those “recruiting pitch Tweets” have been deleted.  But not before a screenshot of a sample of those Tweets was taken.

Those 4 Tweets were sent to Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman, defensive lineman Spencer Johnson, quarterback Tavaris Jackson and running back Tashard Choice.  Sports Capital Group calls itself, “the leader in athlete management and representation,” but resorting to sending public Tweets requesting NFL veterans to contact you makes that claim seem like a far cry from the truth.  However, the company was sure to inform me that it believed its actions were not a violation of NFL Players Association rules and regulations.

@The Rules Governing Contract Advisors allow us to solicit any player within 60 days of their NFL contract expiration.
@SportsCapitalGr
Sports Capital Group

Rules violation or not, the football agent community is up in arms.  One agent stated, “wow, not only is that desperate, that’s dumb” and informed me that he was taking screenshots of the Tweets to his company’s clients to pass along to their General Counsel “for laughs at least.”  Other agents reacted publicly on Twitter, including Ryan Earls of Cover 3 Representation who said the following:

@ Wow. And they think Twitter mentions will land them NFL veterans with contracts expiring?
@AskAnNFLAgent
AskAnNFLAgent

I spoke to Kline off Twitter, who was less than thrilled that I exposed his Tweets.  But the reality is that he delivered them publicly on a platform that is meant for sharing.  Recruit on Twitter and expect people to see it.

  • Collin

    Great article. It is also worth noting that the 60 day rule only applies if “he [player] has not yet signed a new Standard Representation Agreement with a Contract Advisor within the sixty (60) day period.”

  • Edward

    Kline’s Agent certification should be revoked immediately. This is a blatant violation not only of common sense but respect among fellow agents. I dont care if its a competitive occupation….its a bitch move and a coward move.

  • Nick O’connor

    Under certain circumstances, the rules regarding
    agents contacting Pro-athletes, whether it
    be, by letter, social media and the like are allowed. Social media is the new form of writing a letter. It’s environmentally friendly, cost effective and it’s the new
    way things get done in this day in age. It is unbelievable how someone can criticize another for reaching out to a professional athlete on social media. How can someone clam to run a blog, but yet which is also a form of internet communication, then criticizes another for using
    internet communication to a client. This just shows the immaturity of “SPORT
    AGENT BLOG”.

  • Guest

    Under certain circumstance regarding agents contacting Pro-athletes, whether it
    be, by letter, social media and the like, is permitted. Social media is the new form of writing a letter. It’s environmentally friendly, cost effective and it’s the new
    way thing get done in this day in age. It is unbelievable how someone can criticize
    another for reaching out to a professional athlete on social media. How can someone clam to run a blog, but yet
    which is also a form of internet communication, then criticizes another for using
    internet communication to a client. This just shows the immaturity of “SPORT
    AGENT BLOG”.

  • Nick O’connor

    The NCAA expresses how recruiters, runners and middlemen are
    banned in college athletics. There are no such restrictions on contacting
    student athletes through social media. Social media has become one of the
    leading contenders when dealing with reaching a target audience. The platform
    it provides has reached a variety of business and consumers. The question is
    “Why not contact athletes through social media”?

  • peter

    I recently viewed the Sports Capital Group website at http://www.SportsCapitalGroup.com. I also had an opportunity to do some research on Jonathan Kline. It appears that Jonathan Kline is an outstanding agent and does a great job representing his clientele. His recruiting methods seem to be very effective.

  • peter

    Social media is huge in today’s era and is a key factor in recruitment.