Sports Agents

Peter Schaffer Lends His Two Cents

Not every player is interested in going with a mega-agency like CAA or IMG (depending on the sport).  Some are just fine with going for a smaller firm that has a proven track record.  That’s what Joe Thomas was looking for going into the 2007 NFL Draft.

“One of the big things I really liked,” Thomas said, “he [Peter Schaffer] respected everyone, no matter how important or unimportant they were in the process. He never wanted anyone to feel like they were being taken advantage of. I think a lot of big-time agents go on power trips after they have big-time clients, but he has never done that. My goal was to find a firm that had top prospects, but yet hasn’t turned into a super megafirm where you don’t get the personalized service that you’re looking for.” – Joe Thomas

Thomas, along with other NFL players like Jamar Adams and Mike Hart chose Schaffer and All Pro Sports & Entertainment over rival agents.  Their list of clients is nothing to scoff at, but in comparison to Rosenhaus and Condon, it does not compare.  In fact, Lito Sheppard recently dropped All Pro for Rosenhaus.  Think Schaffer is holding a grudge?  From Saturday’s Denver Post,

“I don’t think Scott Boras is bad for business; he takes a very intellectual approach and he drives a hard bargain, but he represents his client.

“But Drew Rosenhaus and people like him stretch the level of credibility. That’s bad, because you’re in a business where you want to portray a sense of ethics, morality and honesty and he’s admitting that he’s lying and cheating and stealing to get contracts and players. That’s not good for any business.

“The morals and ethics of our society have to be driven by the professionals of our society. It’s always easy to lie and cheat to get to where you want to go, but it should be about doing it the right way. I don’t think the way he does things can be defined as successful — in any business. He makes it harder for us, but people like that will never affect how we do business.”

Zing!  I felt the crack of that whip all the way in Florida…many miles away from Colorado, which is where Schaffer calls home.  Here are some snippets that are actually informative,

“We tell [players] what an agent legitimately can and can’t do and what they should expect. The biggest misconceptions about the business are created by other agents telling clients what can happen. Like in marketing, you can take an offensive lineman and tell him he’s going to get TV commercials and roles in Hollywood movies, but the reality is that’s probably not gonna happen. Yet someone will tell them that with a straight face and it gets hard to convince them otherwise.”

“Every contract has its own unique issues and challenges, whether it’s a seventh-round pick or a top-10 player. You have to treat everyone like it’s Barry Sanders because it’s their career, and you have to put their own individual stamp on their deal to put them in the best situation.

“It’s interesting on an intellectual level because there are so many moving parts: Is it a three-, four- or five-year deal? . . . What about incentives? . . . Can a player reach them? Do you want the player to stay with a team? If he’s a nickel back on a team, do you do a shorter deal so he can go to another team and be a starter? You want to look at a contract, not only as it being good today, but also it being good tomorrow or the next year, too.”

But I really like Schaffer’s parting words…

My dad always told me, “Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut.”

Yeah, I bet Rosenhaus is thinking that Schaffer should have heeded his dad’s advice right about now.

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.

4 replies on “Peter Schaffer Lends His Two Cents”

Wait a minute? Are you saying Schaffer shouldn’t articulate that certain agent behavior reflects poorly on the industry? We all know Rosenhaus is a snake and has rewritten the ethics book to suit himself. To see you take a shot at Schaffer at the end, akin to defending deplorable behavior, is pretty low. You could only hope to have the sterling reputation and success that Peter Schaffer has had over the past two decades.

Ah, so you start your comment with a question and then answer it for me so that you can take a shot at my post. Interesting tactic. In fact, I never stated that Schaffer shouldn’t articulate agent behavior that reflects poorly on the industry. Actually, I suggest he does so. But in his quote, does he actually call out Rosenhaus for things that he has done unethically, or is it a cheap general shot? I would suggest the latter. With the additional information that Schaffer lost a client to Rosenhaus recently, it provides a backdrop that should make any reader skeptical.

Additionally, I did not take a shot at Schaffer at the end. All I commented on is what I think Rosenhaus is thinking after reading Schaffer’s words. Is there a need to drop to that level?

Come on, Darren. You ask the question yourself if Schaffer is holding a grudge. Then you offer “some snippets that are actually informative” which seems a curious way to segue into the meat of Schaffer’s message. The editorializing about what Rosenhaus thinks is unnecessary. Leave it to the reader to decide.
Schaffer’s message about dealing with players in honest and real terms, and not setting up false expectations, as well as his contract analysis, is dead on. If every agent subscribed to this philosophy, the entire industry would benefit. That should have been the point of your post, not an attempt to stir controversy between two of your peers.

For some reason, I highly doubt that I am stirring any controversy that has not already risen to the surface between the two. The meat of Schaffer’s message is very informative. The rest can and should be withheld from the media.

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