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Did Blake Griffin Receive Improper Benefits?

blake griffinOn March 29, the New York Daily News ran a story that contained this blurb:

Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, projected to go No. 1 this June, has been headed to agent Jeff Schwartz ever since last summer when he attended a series of conditioning workouts in California. The camp is financed by Schwartz, who could have a big draft. UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet is ready to sign on and he also has first dibs on the Huskies’ A.J. Price. Of course it’s always easier to get the players when you already represent the coach, as Schwartz does with Jim Calhoun.

Surprisingly, I can no longer access the story, which sounds like it should be an interesting read.  Instead, when I click on the original link, I end up with a story about Andruw Bynum.  Interesting…

Already had a rough piece on Calhoun, UConn, and Josh Nochimson last week.  There was a recent piece about agents making it rain on AAU coaches.  We all know what happened with BDA and O.J. Mayo last year.  Why is the original story down?  It sure has me curious.

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.

10 replies on “Did Blake Griffin Receive Improper Benefits?”

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“CORRECTION: An item in Mitch Lawrence’s “Slam Dunks” on Sunday stated that agent Jeff Schwartz financed a conditioning camp in California attended last summer by Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin. The item should have stated that this was only an allegation and that there was no proof of the allegation. The Daily News regrets any misunderstanding this item may have caused.”

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Really? It’s the same URL that HoopsHype, RealGM and FanNation linked when they originally posted about it two days ago …

Either way, it doesn’t relate to the point of your post, so I’ll shut up now …

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It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out why it was taken down. The reporter heard the camp was financed by Schwartz, heard Griffin was going to be repped by Schwartz, then posted the article putting two and two together. I would imagine he was presented with evidence that Schwartz had nothing to do with the camp, and in an effort to avoid embarrasing himself and the paper, the article was removed.

If there was a nugget of truth to the story, it would still be up. Any paper or reporter would love to have a bit of scandal on the No. 1 pick and a kid who has been praised for his character to an almost Tebow-like level. The fact that the article is out and about on the blogs just makes the guy look like a hack now. They can say it should have read “allegedly,” but I would imagine he’s just trying to save a little face by not admitting he posted wrong information and didn’t take time to verify his sources.

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Darren, the article was always about the Lakers, the mention of Griffin and Flynn was always just a blurb (there was never a full article about Griffin). The original post was the same length as the new corrected statement. Thanks for always posting interesting stuff. Also, there is no way that Schwartz paid for Griffin’s training – he did pay for the likes of Armstrong, Afflalo and Slaughter to train there, but those guys were not still in college.

Darren, it definitely should generate some curiosity, so keep up the great work. There is no doubt that agents use their connections with top notch trainers to help secure clients (like Andy Miller and IMG, Levien and Thorpe back in the days). Schwartz is a classy guy and while he may pay his current clients for helping deliver future clients, he is not silly enough to pay for someone like Griffin’s traiing (but he is smart enough to hook the family up with a trainer and stay in touch with the kid and family during the season, nothing illegal about that, even if he doesn’t follow the school’s usual process). Is there any way you can tell us about Andre Buck – how do you think he convinced him to come out of school and then signed Dajaun Summers (was LeBron involved, is he a 1st round pick and future pro, why didn’t JT3 steer him to Falk, was there illegalities involved)?

[…] Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin makes decision on future, others also consider NBA early… Oklahoma’s star forward and this years AP player of the year decides to forgo his last two years of eligibility to enter the NBA draft. Many predict he will be the 1st overall pick in this years NBA Draft. Perhaps we will soon find out if he is going to be represented by agent Jeff Schwartz. […]

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