Sports Agents

We Are Supercilious Maggots

Dave D'AlessandroDave D’Alessandro has serious beef with sports agents.  He is a columnist with New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger, and recently penned a piece that looks at this week leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft.  Three of his seven points take big-time shots at the sports agent profession.  His statements are italicized below, with my personal reactions following each blurb.

1. How much impact do the agents have this time of year?

This is their Mardi Gras, and they’re drunk with hubris. And any GM will tell you that the typical agent, with few exceptions, is a sleazy, repulsive, deceitful, supercilious maggot. But, of course, that is his job. More on that later.

In my brief stint thus far as a sports agent, I can guarantee that none of the GMs that I have had conversations with would consider me any of the terms below.  I would even go far as saying that a majority of the agents that make up this profession are well-liked by a majority of team GMs.  To say that a typical agent is categorized immediately as being sleazy, repulsive, deceitful, and a maggot is attacking our profession for absolutely no reason.  But okay, Dave, let’s wait for you to give us more on that later.

5. So where do these agents get the nerve to run interference for some of these kids?

Let them have their fun, it’s one of the few times they get to flex their … uh, whatever it is that 5-foot lawyers flex. But it does get silly after a time.

For example, the Bucks are picking eighth in Thursday’s draft, and they couldn’t get anybody to work out for them — just three kids who could be considered viable candidates for that slot (namely, Joe Alexander, Anthony Randolph and Donte Greene) accepted their invitation. Charlotte (at No. 9) experienced the same problem.

It’s reached the point where the new GM in Milwaukee, John Hammond, is suggesting an NFL-type combine, because the Bucks were also snubbed too often last year, when two kids on their radar (Joakim Noah and Yi Jianlian, whom they picked anyway) refused to show.

Next you go after our height.  It takes a true journalist to stoop to that level.  And Buzz Bissinger goes after bloggers?  Maybe, instead of blaming agents for being the impetus behind players bailing out of workouts with teams like the Bucks and the Bobcats, you should look to more viable alternatives.  It could possibly be based on the fantastic records that both teams have posted in the past decade.  Maybe it has to do with management.  Perhaps the player does not want to be signed there and the agent is left with the dirty job of making sure that the workout never happens.  There are many other potential reasons.

6. How long [h]as that been going on?

Since time immemorial, or at least since agents grew egos that reflected their oversized four-percent cut. Larry Brown told this story last week: In 1997, when he was holding the No. 2 pick with Philly, he got a call from David Falk. The agent said Keith Van Horn wouldn’t work out for the Sixers for a very specific reason: “He had a deal with a shoe company if he played in New Jersey or Boston,” Brown recalled. “He was trying to control the draft.” The Sixers took Van Horn anyway, before shipping him to the Nets.

4% is oversized?  I would beg to differ.  For those of us that actually dedicate our lives to this job, we are greatly undervalued.  Check out what a lawyer would bill his clients per hour for services like “research”.  The Larry Brown story reflects our huge egos?  I am going to email Dave right after I make this post to see if we can get an interview with him on this site.  I doubt he complies after this write-up gets published.  I’ll keep my hopes up, though.  Maybe he will notice that this agent is not a supercilious maggot.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

2 replies on “We Are Supercilious Maggots”

Going after a sports agent’s height is pretty low. Can’t say some of D’Alessandro’s claims aren’t commonly held my the public. Keep up the great work dispelling these stereotypes!

Awesome post. Look forward to seeing if you can follow-up with an interview. I love how agents get blamed for carrying out the intentions and desires of the player they represent. Don’t kill the messenger.

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