April 9 was a busy day for the NFL Players Association Committee on Agent Regulation and Discipline (“CARD”). As announced via two separate press releases on its official website on April 28, the NFLPA decided on April 9 to impose discipline on a variety of NFLPA Contract Advisors. Those receiving sanctions based on their conduct include John “J.R.” Rickert, Ethan Lock, Eric Metz and Vance Malinovic.
Lock, Metz and Malinovic are the principals at Scottsdale, Arizona-based LMM Sports Management LLC. Each of the principals was fined $5,000 by the NFLPA for failing to disclose that they owned 5% interests in a company that provided services to athlete clients. According to the NFLPA’s press release concerning the LMM Contract Advisors, they have all relinquished their ownership interest in the suspect company and it is assumed that they will retain that NFLPA Contract Advisor certification. The partners represent two players selected in the 2013 NFL Draft: Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn – No. 88 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers) and Sean Renfree (QB, Duke – No. 249 overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons).
However, JR Rickert is not as fortunate. The NFLPA press release concerning Rickert states that he not only was fined $5,000 for his actions, but also accepted a 3-month suspension of his certification to act as an NFLPA Contract Advisor. Rickert’s acceptance of the aforementioned penalties is a result of his purported failure to provide documentation to the NFLPA demonstrating that he was making prompt payments to another certified Contract Advisor pursuant to a signed settlement agreement.
The settlement agreement referenced by the NFLPA was supposed to resolve a lawsuit filed in September 2011 by NFLPA Contract Advisor Audie Attar against Rickert, which claimed that Rickert breached an agreement by failing to (1) pay Attar over $21,000 in compensation, (2) attend meetings with prospective clients, (3) reimburse Attar for expenses, and (4) add Attar’s name to Standard Representation Agreements (SRAs) with the NFLPA. On August 1, 2012, Attar and Rickert entered into the settlement agreement, which Attar claimed Rickert breached.
On October 23, Attar said to Sports Agent Blog,
“[Rickert's] first two payments bounced. Guys like this do not deserve to be in this business. If you cannot honor your agreements, you should be exposed. We never deposited a check before their due time; they were all postdated per the agreement. His first two payments bounced. Neither where deposited early. It looks like the rainmaker is going through a drought.”
The NFLPA apparently felt the need to step in and thus Rickert now has to pay a small fine and will serve his brief suspension. It is well known that Rickert partners with NFLPA Contract Advisor Peter Schaffer on many of the clients he represents. Thus, it is not as if his clientele will be forced to find new representation during Rickert’s current suspension. Schaffer confirmed to Sports Agent Blog that all such clients remain represented and he says that everything has been paid in full.
Meanwhile, Audie Attar is pleased with the NFLPA’s action against Rickert. ”Mr. Rickert and his team did everything in their power to discredit me publicly and with players telling lies, but that backfired in his face when he lied to the NFLPA,” said Attar to Sports Agent Blog. ”I’m thankful to the NFLPA for upholding all agents by the same rules and standards and for punishing someone who lied and breached a contract.”