In the past handful of months, the current social climate has focused mainly on players, but a recent interview shows how much this can affect the agents that represent those athletes. Chafie Fields sat down with Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports to discuss being one of the few black agents during this transformative era in sports.
Fields does not mince words in the interview, saying that there are many people in society that have long known these issues exist. He disclosed that his first interaction with police happened as a juvenile, but also detailed the tribulations he has witnessed in his life both before football, and within his career. As an agent with an entire roster of black players, there are still issues presented when trying to represent athletes of all races. “It’s not a matter of me not wanting to or attempting to represent my Caucasian counterparts and friends. But for whatever reason, that door hasn’t been opened to us the same that it has the other way around,” Fields says. “It’s not any fault of ours because I feel there are a lot of Black men who can do a great job outside of myself, but I don’t think we’re given the same type of opportunities that our counterparts are.”
Jones discusses that very issue with Fields stating “Sadly, I’ve heard a few times over the years about Black players who opt to sign with a white agent because he either believes the white agent will be able to negotiate better with white front-office personnel, or that the Black agent won’t be able to negotiate as well with that same white front-office personnel.” Fields then responds elaborating on those existing stigmas in the business of athlete representation, and the necessity of not being ambiguous. “The reality of it [is] in our climate that we’re in, even though your intent is in the right place, sometimes what you’re trying to accomplish can be taken the wrong way or misconstrued…So, you want to make sure that whatever message you’re trying to deliver is clear and concise and there’s no room for anyone to make it what it’s not.”
The discrepancies within the industry are apparent, whether it is race or gender. Interviews like this can only help to further awareness, and in turn, progress in all facets of sports.
“So, my sentiments are the same and they’ve always been, and I’ve always encouraged these young men to use their platform to speak on issues that we face in society. So, it’s not anything that’s new or ‘man let’s take advantage of this.’ This is something that [my clients and I] have been in deep conversations about what we can do to change it. And in my personal opinion again it’s engaging our white counterparts to understand the real issues that we face. I think the George Floyd incident has engaged them more to our plight, which is great for those of them who really, sincerely want to make change and want to help. But we need more of them to have those sentiments and want to take a vested interest in helping to balance out the institutional disadvantages that have been in place since the existence of this country.”
Fields was a Wide Receiver for Penn State. He went undrafted because of an ankle injury, but spent three seasons in the NFL playing for the 49ers, Broncos, and Jets. He is currently an Executive Vice President with Wasserman with almost 20 years as an agent.